In the late evening of April 30th, 1942, police attention was drawn to a light showing at a pawnbroker’s shop in Hackney Road, Shoreditch. This was a violation of the wartime blackout, and on entering the premises officers found the shop in disarray, its 71-year-old owner Leonard Moules lying on the floor with severe head injuries. He died nine days later without regaining consciousness, and two suspects, George William Silverosa, 23, and Samuel Sydney Dashwood, 22, were traced to Pitsea and arrested. In a statement, Silverosa said that on April 30th he had lunch with Dashwood at a café. “He told me he had a gun and showed me a revolver. He told me he was going to do a job. I asked him where, and he said, ‘Anywhere, I don’t care as long as it’s something.’ We went along the Hackney Road and he said the gun was only for putting the frightening power in.

“We were going past a pawnbroker’s and Sam said, ‘We might as well go and do this, if you’re coming.’ I said, ‘All right, only no violence.’ Sam said, ‘All right.’

“He went in first and I closed the door, and when I turned round I saw the old man falling down. I didn’t see Sam strike him, but I surmised what he had done. I said, ‘You silly sod, what did you do that for?’ He said, ‘I had to. He was going to blow a whistle.’

“I wiped some blood off the old man’s head with my overcoat, and said to Sam, ‘Well, we’ve done the damage, we had better do what we came here to do.’ We took some rings from the safe and off the table.”

Dashwood told the police that Silverosa had fought and injured the pawnbroker. Then when he himself went over to take away the whistle, Mr. Moules grabbed him and to free himself he struck him on the head.

At the pair’s trial for murder, Silverosa admitted a common design to rob, but denied any intention of using violence. Dashwood refused to be represented by counsel and neither gave nor called any evidence. Both were found guilty, and their appeals were dismissed. Dashwood and Silverosa were hanged at Pentonville Prison on SEPTEMBER 10th, 1942.