No one was unduly surprised when Elizabeth Adams decided to leave her husband. Described as “a deformed shoemaker, dirty, dissipated and ferocious,” he had a terrible temper. But Samuel Adams, who lived in Hornsey, north London, was determined that his wife should come back to him.

He guessed that she must have gone to stay with her sister-in-law, Mrs. Martha Page, in Howard Road, Hornsey. In May 1859, he went to the house, harangued Mrs. Page on her doorstep for several minutes, and then disappeared. Thinking the coast was clear, Mrs. Page went out to do some shopping, but Adams, who had been hiding, caught up with her.

“Where’s my wife?” he shouted. “I want her back! You are not to keep her!” When Mrs. Page protested, Adams produced his shoemaker’s knife and stabbed her three times. She died a few days later.

He was convicted at the Old Bailey and hanged on Monday, July 4th, 1859, outside Newgate Prison.