Like his two companions on the scaffold (see above) William Seaman, 46, was a burglar when he wasn’t away at sea, and in April 1896 he set his sights on No. 31 Turner Street, Commercial Road – the Whitechapel home of retired umbrella manufacturer Jonathan Levy. Thinking the house was empty, he nevertheless took the precaution of ringing the doorbell first, and it was promptly opened by Mrs. Annie Gale, the housekeeper.

Seaman chased her into the house, beat her about the head with a poker from the fire grate and almost cut off her head with a knife. As he began to ransack the house, stuffing his pockets with loot, Mr. Levy returned. Seaman beat him with the poker, then cut his throat.

A neighbour who heard the commotion called the police. Seaman tried to leave by the front door but it was locked. He ran back upstairs and, using a hammer, broke a hole through a bedroom ceiling, climbed through it and arrived on the roof. Undaunted, two policemen went through the hole he had made and closed in on him. At this point the killer leapt off the roof and flew 40 ft through the air to the pavement below.

He was severely injured in the fall, and unable to move. While an ambulance was taking him to hospital police discovered the bodies of Annie Gale and Jonathan Levy.

Seaman offered no defence at his Old Bailey trial and was hanged on Tuesday, June 9th, 1896, with Milsom and Fowler. The court was told that he was a convict out on licence at the time of the double-murder, and that he had served 28 years’ penal servitude, which began when he was 18.

A detective in court described him as a particularly vicious man. His landlady, however, claimed he was gentle beyond belief. “If a mouse was caught in a trap he would plead for me to let it go,” she said.