In June 1903 a Dollar man was indicted at the Central Criminal Court in London, also known as the Old Bailey, on charges of shooting at Edward Griffiths, a commercial traveller, with intent to murder him.

Frederick McNair was an engineer to trade. In 1889 he went to South America, became a cable operator then married his wife Mabel in Lima in Peru. He subsequently went to Chile, and it was at this time she left, and he had no idea where she went. The 59-year-old returned to England in 1903 but his wife, believing him to be dead, had remarried and was now Mrs Griffiths.

According to Griffiths’ testimony, his wife had told him McNair had left her in Peru some 13 years beforehand. When he showed up at the house, a heated discussion ensued on that point and McNair lost his temper.

He told the pair he would not be returning to South America but intended to stay in England and prosecute her for bigamy.

When he left the house to go to the police station, Griffiths went with him and tried to persuade him to not press charges to avoid scandal.

Two days later, having mulled the situation over, McNair returned to the house and a proposal was made. Griffiths was prepared to make a settlement of £100 per annum, but he was unable to give any proof of being able to afford it. While the negotiations were ongoing, McNair told his wife: "I will have you dead or alive. If you don’t agree to what I wish, I will shoot both of you."

Griffiths retorted: "If you attempt violence to either Mabel or myself, I will shoot you like a dog."

After the encounter, McNair wrote to Griffiths saying he loved Mabel too much to bring scandal to her door and suggested another meeting the following Sunday, June 13. McNair turned up to the house, soaked, so Griffiths offered him a whisky.

According to Griffiths, McNair tried to blackmail him, but he was having none of it, and told him to leave. It was at this point McNair pulled out a gun and fired twice, neither time hitting Griffiths.

In his defence McNair believed the whisky had been drugged as he had no recollection of the incident.

The jury returned the verdict of shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm and the judge Charles Darling, 1st Baron Darling, sentenced McNair to three years in prison.