AT ABOUT nine o'clock on the night of Tuesday, September 30, 1958, Richard Turner, the manager of the Co-operative store at Lepton, went to lock up the safe.
The day's work was over and it was time for him to go home to his family.
By ten minutes past eleven Richard had still not returned home and his wife, becoming rather concerned, asked Mr Howe, a neighbour, to go to the shop with her, to see if anything was amiss.
When they arrived at the store, they found the doors locked, but all the lights still on.
They then contacted the assistant manager who brought his keys, opened the doors and found that there had been an intruder.
A carton was filled with cigarettes and children's clothing - and nearby they found the body of Richard Turner.
Earlier that same day, Ernest Raymond Jones, aged 39, had been in Huddersfield and told a dealer there that he had 30,000 cigarettes to dispose of.
Jones had also told a friend that he was going to do a job and these cigarettes would be the proceeds.
Later, though, after the incident at Lepton had become public knowledge, Jones made the mistake of telling another friend that he had been forced to hit someone, but only once, in order to escape.
In due course, this information came to the notice of the police and Jones was duly arrested for attempted robbery and murder.
Jones admitted to the police that he had first broken into the store in 1957, and thought it was about time he went back.
He got inside and made up the carton of clothing and cigarettes and then, on going into the offices, was surprised to find the safe open.
At first, Jones thought that another burglar had beaten him to the main prize, but then he heard noises and saw the lights click on downstairs.
Jones hid, hoping that whoever was in the shop would walk past him, but when Richard Turner stopped at the top of the stairs, presumably having seen the carton of stolen goods, Jones hit him, once, on the head and then escaped, without taking his booty.
He maintained that he had carried no weapon and that he had only intended to render Turner unconscious.
But the blow had fractured his skull and he had died.
It should be remembered that by 1958 the law on murder had been changed.
Now the death penalty was invoked only in certain cases, one of which was murder committed in the furtherance of theft.
Since, by his own admission, Jones had been robbing the store, this was a case of capital murder.
Ernest Jones faced his trial at Leeds on December 10, before Mr Justice Hinchcliffe. The prosecution case was led by Mr Geoffrey Veale. Jones was defended by Mr Bernard Gillis and Mr A M Hurwitz.
Found guilty and sentenced to death, Jones's appeal, heard on January 26, 1959, raised an interesting point as to whether the crime was indeed one committed in the furtherance of theft.
Jones maintained that at the time of the attack on Turner, he had already stolen money and prepared his carton of clothes and cigarettes.
The theft was therefore complete and as the blow killing Turner was inflicted afterwards, it was not committed to further the theft and was therefore not a capital offence.
The appeal court judges quoted an earlier case in which it was held: "If a burglar is interrupted and if he murders in order to get away, it is still murder done in the course of theft."
This was a capital case and the appeal was dismissed. On Tuesday, February 10, 1959, Ernest Raymond Jones was hanged at Leeds.
It was the first execution of a year that would see a total of seven men die on the gallows.