Edith Longshaw, a 38-year-old waitress, lodged at a house in Star Street, Paddington, and early in 1934 she introduced her landlady to a man wanting to rent a room in that area. He was Harry Tuffney, 36, the landlady had a room vacant, and he moved in.

It wasn’t long before he and Edith began courting, and all seemed well between them until Tuffney began to become moody in June. On the 29th he bought an axe, and after spending the evening with Edith in her room he killed her with a single blow, embedding the hatchet in her head.

The next morning he went to a police station, confessed to the desk sergeant, and was arrested. He had also tried to gas himself, he said, and the sergeant could smell the fumes on his clothing.

Edith’s body was found on her bed, where she was believed to have been dozing when she was axed, and letters found in Tuffney’s pockets showed he had killed her out of jealousy. In her handbag he had found a letter indicating she had another man, and was possibly about to go off with him.

At Tuffney’s trial at the Old Bailey there was no suggestion of provocation leading to sudden violence. The crime was evidently premeditated, and the only question to be settled was whether there were grounds for a verdict of guilty but insane.

Tuffney’s defence was insanity, but Brixton Prison’s medical officer said he had found him to be sane. So the jury convicted Tuffney of wilful murder, and Mr. Justice Atkinson sentenced him to death.

As there was a history of insanity in Tuffney’s family and the circumstances of the crime suggested a neuropathic or psychopathic condition, a medical examination was ordered. The doctors found nothing wrong with him, and he was hanged at Pentonville Prison on OCTOBER 9th, 1934.