Hearing two loud bangs at 12.30 p.m. on APRIL 7th, 1914, Mrs. Mary Upton thought a tyre had burst outside her home in North Road, Brighton. By 3 p.m., however, it occurred to her that the married couple who had become her lodgers three days earlier, occupying her front upstairs bedroom, seemed strangely quiet. She had taken them a cup of tea that morning, but had since seen nothing of them, so she went to their room and knocked on the door. There was no reply.

Opening the door, she was horrified to see them lying on the bed, covered in blood. Maud Clifford, 24, was dead, shot through the head. Her husband Percy Evelyn Clifford, 32, was unconscious. There was a bullet-hole in his head, and his right hand dangled from the bedside. Beneath it a Colt revolver lay on the floor.

At the inquest on Mrs. Clifford the coroner read out several letters written by Percy Clifford and found in the couple’s room. One, addressed to Clifford’s mother, said: “I am on the verge of distraction. I have found out that Maud is playing with three men, besides myself. That must not happen. She has told the most awful lies about everything…Bury us together. I have no regrets because I have lived my life. You must show this to the coroner.”

After Clifford recovered in hospital, a different story emerged when he appeared at Sussex Assizes charged with his wife’s murder and with attempted suicide. It transpired that Maud Clifford had been a prostitute, her husband living on her immoral earnings.

The defence tried but failed to prove insanity, and Clifford was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed at Lewes Prison on August 12th, 1914.