He didn’t look like a killer. Killers seldom do. But at Manchester Assizes on December 6th, 1954, smartly dressed, bespectacled William Cornish Beard admitted the murder of his three-year-old son Paul.

Living in Haliburton Street, Liverpool, the 31-year-old fitter had poisoned the child with phenobarbitone on OCTOBER 22nd, 1954, and he had earlier also been charged with the murder of his wife Gabriella, 25, who had been found strangled. The second charge remained on file, and Beard’s two-minute trial ended with the death sentence.

His execution was scheduled for December 29th, but on December 21st the Home Office announced that he had been found insane and sent to Broadmoor.