“Under the British laws at the time she was found guilty and sentenced to die. Today it would probably have been different.”

So said George Price, the first black prime minister of Belize, recalling the case of Nora Parham who, after a long period of physical and sexual abuse by her partner, Letchel Trapp, finally killed her tormentor by pouring petrol over him and setting him on fire. The court in Belize was told that Trapp died in agony.

Nora, an Asian, was the 36-year-old mother of eight sons and Trapp was the father of four of them. She was said to have complained several times to the police about Trapp’s violent behaviour. Although the jury at her trial recommended mercy, the British governor of the colony, then called British Honduras, declined to interfere with the verdict.

On Wednesday, June 5th, 1963, Nora’s sons kept vigil outside the prison where their mother became the first woman to be hanged in British Honduras.