HE ignored the barking of his dog, attributing the sound of three sharp blows as the winter wind rustling his hedge and a neighbour chopping wood late at night.

Henry Tatford could not have been more wrong.

Had he ventured outside his garden, he would have confronted a bricklayer who had grotesquely murdered a workmate.

Ironically it was his son, John, who discovered the heavily mutilated body of William Harmsworth lying in a blood-soaked ditch by the turnpike road near the Travellers Head at Titchfield.

In a frenzied attack, he had suffered multiple stab wounds, an ear sliced off and his throat so slit he had almost been decapitated.

Tatford rushed to his father's house who together with a neighbour alerted Fareham police.

Two constables called Harris and Ford went to the scene and retrieved a bloodstained knife as Harmsworth's body was removed to an adjacent barn.

Detectives were to learn uncontrollable jealousy had been the motive. One had a job, the other didn't.

Ironically, it was a police officer who had been one of the last people to see Harmsworth alive.

That very evening, December 22, 1827, PC Amor had seen him looking through a butcher's shop window at Fareham. Nearby, dressed in a heavy grey coat, was Moses Shepherd. As the pair headed away, he wished them 'Good night.'

The two men were almost neighbours at Brockhurst on the outskirts of Portsmouth, Harmsworth having lodged at the home of Joseph Dawkins for some five months.

That fateful evening, Fareham millwright John Thompson was returning from Portsmouth and dropped in for a drink at The Sun public house at Brockhurst where he saw Harmsworth in company with a stranger he later knew as Shepherd.

"I asked him if he [Shepherd] was going to Fareham and he replied in the affirmative. I heard Harsmworth say he would get his things and go. Shepherd said he could not wait and I went out with him.

"Some 150 yards distant, Shepherd turned off to my right hand and rapped on a door. Shortly afterwards, Harmsworth and Shepherd joined me. We proceeded together to Fareham, after that I saw no more of them."

Nothing in either's manner suggested other than they were friends - but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Like others, Shepherd was furious he had been laid off during winter as there was little for most of the workforce to do but Harmsworth, by all accounts a diligent bricklayer, had been retained.

Within minutes of Thompson leaving them, he removed a knife, which he had borrowed from another publican on the pretext he needed one to cut up his food, from his pocket and launched his murderous attack.

The killer then went to the Three Tuns Inn at Elson, his mood so abject and appearance so filthy that landlord Francis Sparsholt asked: "Hulloa, Moses, where have you been in the wet and dirt? He muttered an incomprehensible reply. He sat near the fire and dried his coat, he appeared dejected and hung his head."

Another customer James Churcher noted his lower sleeves were wet and appeared to have been washed.

"He appeared dejected and seemed as if he had been running."

Shepherd was arrested within hours and charged with murder, appeared before Mr Justice Gaselee at Hampshire Assizes on March 8, his trial opening at 8am when his clothing provided ample proof for the prosecution, led by the Hon. T Erskine.

His shirt minutely examined by jurors revealed blood spots by the collar and neckcloth, and though the sleeves had been washed up to the elbows, they still contained what appeared to be blood, the back of them looking as though they had been wiped.

The items had been retained since the inquest by PC Ford at whose home Shepherd had astonishingly been detained with two guards. One night the suspect had summoned him to his room and sitting on the edge of his bed before resting his head on a pillow as though he was about to faint, exclaimed: "Lord, have mercy on me."

Ford asked if there was anything he could do but he shook his head. "He was trembling very much and said he had nothing to communicate."

With his life at stake, Shepherd called four witnesses, including his father, but they counted for little and after 20 minutes deliberation following a trial that lasted ten hours, jurors principally relying on circumstantial evidence convicted him.

Though the whole of the public gallery was moved, Shepherd showed no emotion as the judge passed the sentence of death.

"It is melancholy to reflect that any motive could induce you to commit an offence of this horrible character on the person of one with whom you had so long lived in the habits of friendship as you appear to have done with the deceased who harboured no suspicious of malicious intention on your part.

"On the contrary he manifested the utmost confidence in you by accompanying you in the dark to a lonely spot where your wicked intentions were carried out. There does not appear to have been any other motive of you going to Fareham than a wicked and deliberate design of getting your victim within your power."

But once escorted from the dock, Shepherd broke down and shortly afterwards acknowledged his guilt to a chaplain, admitting he had been jealous and sought revenge.

Alone, he had knocked Harmsworth to the ground with a large stick and stabbed him. He then returned to his father's house where he washed and wrung out the sleeves of his shirt and coat before going to the pub.

He was said to have shown true remorse for his actions, at times overcome with great agony.

After his hanging on March 17, his body was delivered to the surgeon at Winchester jail for dissection.