For two years Samuel Johnson had been courting 23-year-old Beatrice Martin, making no secret of the fact that he had a wife and three children. He was separated and seeking a divorce, he emphasised, but Beatrice told him she wasn’t interested in marriage.
Then he discovered that he had a rival, a sailor named John Hunter. Nevertheless, Johnson persisted in trying to persuade Beatrice to marry him, only to be repeatedly rebuffed and given an increasingly cold shoulder.
At one o’clock on the morning of JULY 27th, 1925, Beatrice’s mother saw him outside her house in Stretford, Manchester. He said he was waiting for Beatrice to come home, and her mother told him he was wasting his time.
An hour later Beatrice appeared at the end of the street, where she said goodnight to John Hunter and then walked to her gate. Seeing Johnson, she told him to go away.
Moments later her mother was wakened by knocks at her front door, which she opened to find Beatrice and Johnson jostling to enter.
“You are not coming in here,” Beatrice told him. But she wasn’t going anywhere either. The next moment Johnson plunged a knife in her back.
Within ten minutes he was in custody, having given himself up to a constable patrolling Chester Road. His trial lasted just four minutes when he pleaded guilty to Beatrice’s murder, and he was executed on December 15th, 1925.