Drink was the curse of the Victorian poor, resulting in many of the approximate 1,100 murders in the old Queen’s reign. Thomas Davis, 39, a carpenter, and his wife Martha, 35, were drinking with friends from midday until nearly midnight on October 6th, 1857, and when they got home to their rooms in Islington they were legless.

In the night Martha woke up screaming and ran out into the street drenched in blood. Her throat had been cut and she died shortly afterwards.

Davis, described as “a short, miserable-looking man,” was an alcoholic who regularly abused his wife, calling her “a soldiers’ whore” because he imagined that she consorted with young soldiers.

At the police station he seemed unaware that he had killed Martha, and began sobbing when he was told she was dead. His defence of provocation failed at the Old Bailey and he was hanged on Monday, November 16th, 1857, outside Newgate Prison.