The McDonalds were a miserable couple. They were often drunk and raged at each other over the poverty of their existence, the constant living from hand to mouth. In June 1878, they decided to end it all in a suicide pact.

William McDonald, 44, a fisherman, who was subject to fits and was thought by his neighbours to be a bit odd, took a rifle and shot himself and his wife Helen at their home in St. Andrews, Fife. He was found dying from his wounds and bought back to life.

Despite a strong recommendation for mercy by the jury at his trial, and a long petition by the people of St. Andrews, he was hanged on Thursday, October 3rd, 1878, by William Marwood at Cupar Prison, on a scaffold erected in the prison garden above the ventilator shaft. It proved to be the last execution at Cupar.