Jealousy, according to Milton in Paradise Lost, is “the injur’d lover’s hell.” And that’s how it was for sure for Thomas Smithers, 31, a cook, who stabbed to death his common law wife Amy Judge, 28, because she showed too much attention to one particular man.

His jealousy was the more remarkable because Amy had, as the newspapers put it, led a “disreputable life” – in other words, she was a prostitute – before the couple settled down in Cross Street, Battersea. She’d had a husband too, and he had served two prison terms, for selling “indecent photographs” and for the attempted murder of a five-year-old girl when he was 17.

Smithers fainted in the dock at the Old Bailey as sentence of death was passed and had to be carried from the court in an “insensible” state. In the death cell he was very contrite. He was hanged on Tuesday, October 8th, 1878, at Wandsworth Prison – the first of the 135 executions to be held at that prison.