On leaving the army, 54-year-old Frederick Alexander Keeling resumed his former trade of plastering and invested his savings in a boarding-house in St. George’s Road, Tottenham, north London. Emily Dewberry, 46, was a sitting tenant, and it wasn’t long before Keeling was sharing her room, while in the neighbourhood she became known as Mrs. Keeling.

In 1921 Keeling made a fraudulent pension claim and began collecting payments
of £4. After having a row with him, Emily informed the authorities of the fraud and a warrant was issued against him.

As a result, on NOVEMBER 24th, 1921, Keeling and Emily were due to appear in court, Emily as a prosecution witness. Neither turned up, and warrants were issued for their arrest.

When police went to the boarding-house, Keeling had vanished. The door of Emily’s room was found to be locked, and when it was broken
down the officers found she had been beaten to death. A hammer bearing the initials F.K. lay beside her.

Keeling was arrested 10 days later and charged with murder. He knew nothing of the crime, he said at his trial. It must have been committed by a stranger, he told the court.

But blood found on his
clothes and the discovery
of his bloodstained hammer at the scene convinced the jury of his guilt. Mr. Justice Darling sentenced him to death, and on April 11th, 1922, he was hanged by John Ellis and Seth Mills.