“Help! My mother has been burnt in the kitchen fire!” The cry of distress echoed down the street where Petrus Hauptfleisch lived with his 67-year-old mother in Richmond, Cape Province, and brought neighbours running from their houses.

A visibly distressed Hauptfleisch blurted out that his mother had been cleaning the chimney by burning it out with petrol and had set herself alight. But police and medics soon discovered that her death was no accident. It was known that she was terrified of her son’s drunken rages, and a post-mortem revealed that she had been strangled. Hauptfleisch had then placed her body on the kitchen stove, doused it with petrol and set light to it.

He was hanged on Wednesday, December 23rd, 1925, still protesting his innocence. Worldwide Hangings from True Crime Library.

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