Bigamy hardly exists today, but before the permissive society it was widespread, and punishable by a long term of imprisonment. So Ann Barnham was understandably indignant when she discovered that her “husband” of four years, Robert Cooper, 32, was already married, and had been married for 13 years.

“Don’t ever come back here again!” Ann’s family told Cooper, who besides being a bigamist had several other young girl friends in the Brentford area where he lived, and was also an army deserter. “If we see you around, we’ll turn you in to the police.”

Ann, it seems, was in two minds. In her state of indecision she followed her lover down a country lane. When she finally told him she wouldn’t see him any more, he shot her in the head and fled.

He was arrested two weeks later, tried at the Old Bailey, and hanged the following month, on Monday, November 17th, 1862, outside Newgate Prison.