By dawn on Wednesday, August 13th, 1997, a crowd of 20,000 people had arrived to watch the execution of the man they called the Teheran Vampire – 28-year-old Gholamreza Khoshrou. who, during a four-month reign of terror in the Iran capital, raped and murdered nine women and young girls. His modus operandi was to pose as a taxi-driver, luring his victims into his cab.

His execution was particularly barbaric. Khoshrou was first taken on to the roof of a building, pinned down over a concrete bench, and given 214 strokes of a whip by the relatives of his victims. Still managing to stand after this flogging, he was led to a yellow crane and a noose put round his neck. The crane was winched upwards to 100 feet above ground level while he was slowly strangled.

As his body writhed in the hot morning sun the crowd applauded. Many said they felt he had been let off too lightly.