On 15 November 1884, in the tiny village of Babbacombe in Devon, an elderly lady, Emma Keyse, was found brutally murdered, with her throat slit and her body battered. The murderer had also tried to burn the body. Miss Keyse lived alone in her home, called ‘The Glen’. She employed local people to come and help her with cleaning, cooking and other jobs around the house. One of these people was a young man called John Lee, who had left the navy in 1879 due to injury, and had spent several years in prison for theft. On his release, he went to work for Miss Keyse as a footman.
On 16 November 1884, Lee was arrested and charged with the murder of Miss Keyse, although the evidence against him was limited and based largely on the fact that he was the only man in the house.
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