On the morning of 15th November 1884, 68 year-old Emma Ann Whitehead Keyse was found dead at her home, “The Glen,” at Babbacombe Bay near Torquay by her servants who had been roused by the smell of smoke in the property.
According to the post mortem her skull was fractured in two places and her throat had been cut so severely that all the main arteries were severed and even the parietal bone was notched.
An attempt had also been made to burn the body and several rooms of the house. A strong odour of paraffin oil still evident on her clothes several hours later.
With no sign of forced entry into the house, John Lee, half-brother to the cook, Elizabeth Harris, and the only man known to be in the house at the time of the murder was soon arrested.
At his trial, the jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict.