John Lee is the most infamous Victorian criminal after Jack the Ripper. He achieved notoriety on three counts: he was found guilty of the murder of his elderly employer in Babbacombe in 1884; he was sent for execution but three times the trap failed to operate; released from gaol after 23 years in custody, John Lee married, then abandoned his family and disappeared. Mike Holgate and Ian Waugh piece together this extraordinary story, reviewing the Babbacombe murder, presenting new evidence on the identity of the murderer, proposing a new explanation for the failure of the trap at Lee's execution and investigating Lee's new life after his release. The Babbacombe murder grabbed every available headline in 1884, and Lee's narrow escape on the scaffold and his colourful life as a reformed man were the stuff of popular legend. The truth behind the legend is every bit as compelling, as this engrossing new book reveals.