It was in August 1937 that taxi-driver Ernie Moss, 28, hired a holiday bungalow on Woolacombe Sands and told a teenage laundry girl that if she moved in he would marry her. But he was already married and had two children.

The girl, Constance Bennett, known as Kitty, happily agreed and Moss, presumably having made some excuse to his family for his protracted absence, played the swain.

Neither Moss’s wife, nor Kitty’s parents, nor anyone else in Woolacombe had any idea what was going on. Kitty had told her mother she was going off to get married, but the Bennetts were too poor even to afford the fares to the wedding.

On Saturday, August 7th, 1937, a week after hiring the bungalow, Ernie Moss went up to a policeman he recognised in Ilfracombe High Street, gave him the address of the bungalow, and told him there had been “a terrible tragedy” there.

Two officers went to investigate. They found Kitty on the bed, lying with her head into the pillow. Her face was so horrifically injured that she was unrecognisable. In the sitting-room was a double-barrelled shotgun, which had been fired from behind her. Such was the force of the gun blast that it fractured her skull and her spine to a distance of six inches down her back.

“I’m glad it’s all over,” Moss said. And he wouldn’t say anything more. All through his trial at Devon Assizes in November that year he stayed silent, simply pleading “Guilty,” which meant, effectively, that no evidence would be heard.

The silent taxi-driver was hanged on DECEMBER 7th, still refusing to utter a word. He took all his secrets with him to the grave.