Ronald Marwood had something to celebrate. DECEMBER 14th, 1958, was the 25-year-old London scaffolder’s first wedding anniversary, but his wife didn’t feel well enough to go out that night. “So go and have a drink with the boys,” she told him.

Ten pints of brown ale later he became involved in a fight between two gangs outside a dance-hall in Holloway’s Seven Sisters Road.

PC Raymond Summers, 23, patrolling the street alone, strode into the midst of the affray to separate the brawlers. Moments later a knife flashed behind him, and the six-foot-four constable fell to the pavement mortally wounded.

Eleven youths were charged with causing the affray, but Marwood was released after questioning. He said he’d been involved in a fight in Finsbury Park that night, but knew nothing of the brawl in which PC Summers was killed.

Subsequent inquiries revealed that he was lying, but he had disappeared when the police went to his home to question him further. A hunt was launched, newspapers published his photograph, and on January 27th, 1959, Marwood walked into the Caledonian Road police station.

“I did stab the copper that night,” he admitted. Then he went on to claim that when he saw a friend “being pushed along by a copper, I walked up to the policeman. As I got up to him, he half turned round and said words to the effect of ‘Go away’ or ‘Clear off.’

“He struck me with his fist in the region of the shoulder. I remember I had my hands in my overcoat pockets. I pulled out my hand, intending to push him away. I must have had my hand on the knife in my right-hand pocket. I struck out, with the intention of pushing him away from me. I remember striking him with the knife, and the policeman fell. I ran away and kept on running.”

PC Summers had been stabbed in the back with a 10-inch stiletto, and Marwood was charged with capital murder.

At his trial he claimed the police “put down things” he did not say in his statement, but the jury didn’t believe him. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and went to the gallows at Pentonville Prison on May 8th, 1959.