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Episode 7

Barristers Jeremy Dein and Sasha Wass re-examine a case involving domestic violence, adultery, revenge and murder in an impoverished working-class Yorkshire town in 1903.

Leading barristers Jeremy Dein and Sasha Wass explore a case involving domestic violence, adultery, revenge and murder in an impoverished working-class town.

Yorkshire, 1903. Mother of five Emily Swann ran to a neighbour’s house having just been assaulted by her husband William. A heavy drinker prone to violent outbursts, he’d recently learnt his wife and their former lodger John Gallagher had been having an affair. Gallagher, now lodging with the neighbour, flew into a rage, stormed into the Swann’s house, and over the course of two visits beat William Swann to death.

Emily Swann had followed John Gallagher into the house both times and was present when her husband was murdered, but did she join in the beating? The whole altercation was heard by the neighbours, some of whom claimed Emily had encouraged Gallagher. Despite protesting her innocence Emily was tried alongside Gallagher. Both were found guilty and hanged side by side at Leeds Armley prison.

125 years on, Emily Swann’s great-granddaughter, Felicity Davis, has developed a profound relationship with the case having herself been the victim of abuse growing up at the hands of her grandmother, Emily’s daughter Elsie. To make sense of her own experience, Felicity is determined to prove that Emily was a victim, not only of physical abuse but also of prejudice from the authorities and of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Jeremy and Sasha help Felicity get to the truth as they scrutinize the historic files, searching for information that could shed new light on a highly concerning case. They explore issues including ‘battered wife syndrome’, witness reliability and prejudice from the system of the day, but can they convince a judge that Emily’s conviction was unsafe?

44 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Jeremy Dein
Presenter Sasha Wass
Executive Producer Mike Benson
Production Department Michael Klokkos
Production Manager Zlatina Rankova
Producer Lorna Hartnett
Series Producer Simon Cooper
Production Company Chalkboard TV