“I swear my dad had nothing to do with this murder,” David Roberts shouted from the dock across the courtroom. The prosecution were impressed with his outburst, and they decided to offer no evidence against his father. As for Roberts himself, he was plainly guilty of murder, and he would hang on Tuesday, MARCH 2nd, 1886.

Roberts, 28, his father, and a travelling salesman named David Thomas, 40, had all been drinking together at a pub in Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan. At turnout time they staggered off into the night. Out there in the darkness opposite Stallcourt Farm at Llanblethan, Roberts the younger picked up a hedge stick and beat David Thomas to death. The motive was robbery.

David Thomas’s body was found before dawn and when police went to arrest the father and son they found papers belonging to the victim hidden in the Robertses’ fireplace. Almost certainly David Roberts’ gallant outburst saved his father Edward from sharing his fate on the gallows at Cardiff Prison.