Madmen seemed to proliferate at the beginning of the 20th century. Take George Williamson, 27, an ex-Boer War soldier and stableman. He used occasionally to sleep on the sofa at the home of his girlfriend Blanche Buddle, 16.

Blanche lived with her father and two sisters, May and Evelyn, in Mainwater Lane, Bury St. Edmunds. Having spent the night of OCTOBER 16th, 1908, on the sofa, Williamson woke up, picked up a poker, and began hitting Evelyn over the head with it for no apparent reason. Poor Evelyn, who was only eight, died under the rain of blows.

The commotion brought Blanche running down the stairs, where she was met by Williamson, his poker raised threateningly. “I’ve killed Evelyn,” he announced. “Now it’s your turn to die.”

Blanche, however, fought back, and Williamson fled to the nearest police station, where he confessed. At Ipswich Assizes on January 28th, 1908, he was found guilty but insane and sent to Broadmoor.