Sir Richard Sharples, Governor of Bermuda, was taking his great dane Horsa for a walk outside Bermudas government house after a dinner party on March 10th, 1973, when he was ambushed and gunned down by a member of a Black Power group. His aide-de-camp, Hugh Sayers, who was with him, was also shot dead.
The double-murder shocked Bermudans. Sharples, 56, a former Conservative government minister, was a kindly man who had held the governorship for less than a year.
Erskine Burrows, 33, and Larry Tacklyn, 26, were charged with the double-murder. Both had been involved in another double-murder at a supermarket, and Burrows was additionally charged with murdering the Bermudan police commissioner six months earlier. All these charges were added to the indictment.
Tacklyn was acquitted of assassinating Sharples and Sayers, but was convicted of the supermarket murder. Burrows was found guilty of all five murders. Both men were hanged on Sunday, December 2nd, 1977, after a year in condemned cells. The executions were followed by three days of rioting, which was only quelled when troops were called in.
Tacklyn said he didnt want to die, and passed the time playing table tennis while hoping for a last minute reprieve.
Burrows took a vow of virtual silence and wrote down his thoughts on paper, such as: The motive for killing the Governor was to seek to make the people, black people in particular, become aware of the evilness and wickedness of the colonial system in this island. It was also to show that these colonialists were just ordinary people like ourselves, who eat, sleep and die just like anybody else and that we need not stand in fear and awe of them.
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