100 Facts About British Executions

BOOK: 100 Facts About British Executions
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100 Facts
about
British
Executions

 

 

By

 

John J Eddleston

 

 

Copyright John J Eddleston 2012

 

John Eddleston has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

 

First published in Great Britain by

 

Bibliofile Publishers

Sussex

 

 

*****

 

 

1 -
There were four offences which ended in an execution in the twentieth century.  The vast majority were for murder but there were also executions for spying, treason and rape.

 

2 – A total of 865 people were executed from 1900 to 1964.  Only 16 of that number were women.

 

3 – The first two executions in the century were both women.

 

4 – The last execution in London was that of Hendryk Niemasz, at Wandsworth, on Friday, 8
th
September, 1961.

 

 

Hendryk Niemasz , the last man hanged in London

 

 

5 – The last double execution w
h
ere both prisoners were hanged at the same prison at the same time was that of Kenneth Gilbert and Ian Arthur Grant, at Pentonville, on Thursday, June 17
th
, 1954.

 

6 – The only occasion where a man and a woman were hanged at the same time, at the same prison, was that of Emily Swann and John Gallagher, at Leeds, on Tuesday, December 29
th
, 1903.

 

7 – The last person hanged for the murder of a policeman was Guenther Fritz Erwin Podola, hanged at Wandsworth on Thursday, November 5
th
, 1959.

 

 

Podola (centre) the last man hanged for the

murder of a policeman

 

 

 

8 – The
last child killer executed in England was Ernest Charles Harding, hanged at Birmingham on Tuesday, August 9
th
, 1955

 

9 – The year 1956 was the only one from 1900 to the last hangings in 1964, without a single execution.

 

10 – The year with the most executions in the twentieth century was 1903, with 27.  The second placed year was 1945, with 26.

 

11 – Rhoda Willis was hanged on her birthday in 1907.  She was forty four.

 

12 – The last death sentence ever handed out in the UK was that given to Anthony Teare on the Isle of Man on July 10
th
, 1992.
  The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

 

13

The prison where most executions were carried out was Pentonville, with 120

 

14 –
Eight
prisons saw just one execution.  They were Aberdeen, Armagh, Caernarfon, Devizes, Hereford, Inverness, Lancaster
, and Ruthin

 

15 – The last person ever executed at the infamous Newgate prison was George Woolfe, hanged there on Tuesday, May 6
th
, 1902

 

16 – The oldest person hanged was Charles Frembd (sic) hanged at Chelmsford on Wednesday, November 4
th
, 1914.  He was 71

 

17 – The average number of executions each year from 1900 to 1964 was 13.31

 

18 – Only two methods of execution were used from 1900 – hanging and shooting.

 

19 – In the First World War, all the spies executed were shot, except one who was hanged.  In the Second World War, all the spies executed were hanged, except one who was shot.

 

20

The last man executed for rape was an American soldier, Aniceto Martinez, who was hanged at Shepton Mallet on Friday, June 15
th
, 1945.
  He had raped a 75 year old woman in Staffordshire.

 

21 – The last poisoner executed was Louisa May Merrifield, hanged at Manchester on Friday, September 18
th
, 1953.

 

 

Louisa Merrifield, the last poisoner to be executed

 

 

22

Four people hanged during the twentieth century have since received pardons.  They are Timothy John Evans, George Kelly, Mahmood Hussein Mattan and Derek William Bentley

 

24 – The last execution in Wales was that of Vivian Frederick Teed on Tuesday, May 6
th
, 1958

 

25 – Though there were no executions on Christmas Day, three men have been hanged on Christmas Eve.  They are John Harrison in 1901, Edward Scoller in 1940 and Herbert Appleby in 1952.

 

26 – Four men have been hanged on New Year’s Day.  They were John Davis in 1907, Lee Kun in 1916, Frederick Rushworth in 1935 and Horace Carter in 1952.

 

27 The first double execution of the twentieth century was that of Charles Benjamin Backhouse and Thomas Mellor, at Leeds on Thursday, August 16
th
, 1900.  They were hanged for different crimes.

 

28 –
The most number executed for the same crime was the five German prisoners of war who were all hanged at Pentonville on Saturday, October 6
th
, 1945 for the murder of another prisoner at a camp in Perthshire.  They believed he had been giving information to the British.

 

29 – The last execution for any crime other than murder was that of Theodore William John Schurch, hanged for treason at Pentonville on Friday, January 4
th
, 1946.  The day before, January 3
rd
, William Joyce, the infamous Lord Haw-Haw, had been hanged at Wandsworth.

 

30 – The last person executed by any method other than hanging was Benjamin Pyegate, an American soldier, who was shot at Shepton Mallet prison on Tuesday, November 28
th
, 1944.  He had stabbed to death a fellow soldier, James Alexander, at a camp in Westbury.

 

31 – The youngest men executed were all aged eighteen
.  The first such man was Henry Julius Jacoby, at Pentonville on Wednesday, June 7
th
, 1922.  The last was Francis Forsyth, hanged at Wandsworth on Thursday, November 10
th
, 1960.

 

 

Jacoby, who was only 18 when he was hanged

 

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