For 18 years Frederick Reynolds, a 39-year-old bookmaker, and Beatrice Greenberg, 40, had been having an affair which they kept secret because both were married.
Reynolds would approach Beatrice’s home in Highbury, north London, whistling a Bing Crosby song. Recognising the tune, Beatrice would go to the window if her husband were out, and Reynolds would go up to her flat.
He repeated the ritual after the pubs closed on the night of DECEMBER 17th, 1946. He approached the Avenell Road house whistling his signature tune, but there was no sign of Beatrice. He thought she might have gone out briefly, so he walked around the block and then returned, again whistling his tune.
He was later to tell the police that Beatrice appeared at her window, but when he went upstairs to her door she told him to leave, saying her husband would be home at any minute.
He said he had a confused recollection of what happened next. According to his account, Beatrice screamed and pushed him aside, and he saw a flash. He claimed that was all he could remember.
He had shot Beatrice to death, and he told detectives he had no recollection of putting the gun in his pocket. “Now I know it was my hand that took her life,” he said, “I am ready to die to be with her.”
Reynolds was tried at the Old Bailey in February 1947, charged with Beatrice Greenberg’s murder. His claim that he was drunk at the time of the shooting was no excuse, the jury were told by the judge. They found Reynolds guilty, and on March 26th, 1947, he was hanged at Pentonville Prison.