“Folks, forgive me!” the condemned man cried out from the foot of the gallows. A voice from the spectators answered: “May God forgive you!”

This was the last scene in the life of Ivan Chortink, who was hanged at Cernovcy Prison in the Ukraine at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 29th, 1902. After years of quarrelling with his father, he waylaid the old man in the darkness on his way to a neighbouring village and shot him dead. After that, he went back home and beat his stepmother to death with the butt of the gun, breaking the weapon into pieces with the force of the blows until the woman was unrecognisable.

Chortink then finally turned on his sister, who made good her escape in the nick of time.