“Help! Help! My wife’s killed herself!” John Thomas Dunn shouted, running from his home in Sacriston, near Durham, at 12.30 a.m. on SEPTEMBER 25th, 1927.

The 52-year-old ex-miner’s next-door neighbour stepped into Dunn’s home to find Mrs. Ada Dunn, 48, lying dead at the foot of the stairs. Asked if his wife had fallen down them, Dunn sobbed, “No, she’s killed herself.”

When police arrived he told them that as his wife had refused to sleep with him that night because of a quarrel, he had slept in the adjoining bedroom. Woken by a noise, he had gone downstairs and found his wife had hanged herself from a peg on the back door. She had one foot partly on a stool, her other foot just touching the floor. He had taken her down, carried her into the hall and had then run outside shouting for help.

But the piece of rope he said his wife had used was found to be too short for her to have hanged herself. Marks on her neck indicated that she had been strangled, and the bed Dunn said he had left to go downstairs had not been used. The police also found that Mrs. Dunn was too tall to have hanged herself from the peg on the door.

Charged with her murder, Dunn was found guilty at his trial at Durham Assizes and went to the scaffold on January 6th, 1928.