Criminal law worked at breakneck speed in the Victorian century. Take Patrick Kilkenny. He killed his girl friend Margaret Farquhar, on a roadside at Robertstown, County Dublin, on June 9th, was convicted of her murder three weeks later, on June 30th, and hanged three weeks after that, on Thursday, July 20th, 1865.

Margaret had told Kilkenny that she was breaking off their relationship because she planned to marry a man in America. When she produced a photograph of her future bridegroom Kilkenny strangled her.