The residents of Stainsbury Street, Bethnal Green, in Londons East End, were used to the racket coming from the home of Thomas Foster, his wife Minnie and their six children. Foster, 46, was known to be a heavy drinker and wife-beater, so his neighbours were surprised to see him sober and taking a stroll with Minnie on the evening of June 10th, 1919.
The next morning, however, a fierce row was heard raging in the Fosters house. It ended with a loud scream, and when Tom Foster rushed out into the street moments later, he was grabbed and held by neighbours until the police arrived.
Inside the house Minnie Foster lay dead on her bed, still clutching her youngest child, who was unharmed. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear, and a bloodstained razor lay nearby on a ledge.
At his trial for his wifes murder, Foster claimed shed led an immoral life as a prostitute, but this was refuted by her friends and neighbours. She was honest, hard-working, and faithful to her husband, they testified.
Foster did not deny the killing, his counsel told the court, but he was insane at the time. Three of his relatives had committed suicide, and there was a history of inherited mental instability in the family.
The jury were unimpressed. They found Foster guilty, he was sentenced to death, and on JULY 31st, 1919, he was hanged by John Ellis and Edward Taylor.