Mary Ann Cogans husband William used often to drag her out of the pub by her hair, a sight that always excited the locals, who would gather to watch. Wait till I get her upstairs! Cogan would tell them, causing a ripple of mirth.
This familiar routine was repeated on August 2nd, 1861, but this time the drunken husband, a 30-year-old who earned his living selling chickens around Holborn, in London, dragged the drunken wife up to their bedroom and cut her throat. Leaving her bleeding to death on a pile of baskets, he tried unsuccessfully to cut his own throat, then went back down to the street to surrender to a patrolling policeman.
A month later a jury at the Old Bailey learned that the Cogans were a loving couple when sober but violent towards each other when in drink. They lived next door to the Bell pub in Newton Street and spent all their spare time there.
Cogan was hanged on Monday, October 14th, 1861, before a crowd of around 12,000 outside Newgate Prison. To the last he protested his innocence, claiming that Mary Ann killed herself, and that the medical gentlemen had lied in court about her injuries.