An African headman, Pheelo Smith, desperately needed a human sacrifice to save his villagers crops. He chose his father-in-law as the victim, and the whole of the village of Maseru in Basutoland (now Lesotho) turned out to watch the ritual murder.
Forty-two people were charged with being implicated in the crime, although 11 were finally charged with murder. Eight of them made a break-out from custody and fought a pitched battle with the police before they were recaptured.
All 11 nine men, who included headman Pheelo Smith, and two women were hanged on Thursday, August 20th, 1953, at Maseru Prison.