Youd imagine that even a hardened criminal might want to settle down after coming back home from a transportation sentence for theft. But William Peppermint Brown returned to England after serving 13 years down under, and the very next month committed two murders.
He went to the tollgate in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, shot and stabbed Edward Woodcock, 70, the gatekeeper, and cut the throat of the old mans 10-year-old grandson James. Brown left his Australian pistol, of the type used by bush-rangers, in the tollhouse, a clue that led straight to him. Locals also remembered Blinking Billy, as he was known because of his constant blinking, hanging around the murder scene.
Robbery might have been the motive, although some said that he was attempting to get his revenge on society for sending him to Australia.
On Friday, July 25th, 1856, a crowd of 25,000 went to watch Blinking Billy hanged outside Leicester Prison, the last public execution to be held there.