When James de la Rue, 27, seduced a girl known only as Caroline and made her pregnant, he reckoned without her lover, Thomas Hocker, 21. Vowing vengeance, Hocker sent him a letter, purporting to come from Caroline, suggesting a midnight assignation in Belsize Park, Hampstead. When de la Rue arrived Hocker was waiting for him.

Dressed in a dark cloak the furious lover emerged from the darkness brandishing a stick with which he viciously beat his rival to death before vanishing into the night.

Police discovered references to Hocker in the victim’s rooms, and the killer was still covered in blood and mud when they went to arrest him at his home in St. John’s Wood. He was tried at the Old Bailey and hanged on Monday, April 28th, 1845, outside Newgate Prison before a crowd of 10,000.