Prison officer George Hodson stood between a convict break-out and the gates of Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, and for that he was gunned down by prisoner Ronald Ryan, 41. Ryan, armed with another officers rifle, and his accomplice Peter Walker got away briefly. When they were recaptured in New South Wales Ryan was charged and, in March, 1966, convicted of the officers murder.
Few believed he would hang. But an appeal to the state supreme court failed and the Victorian Government confirmed the sentence. An appeal to the Privy Council in London was also rejected. The only man who could then save Ryan was Prime Minister Henry Bolte, who happened to be a firm believer in capital punishment. Amid a near-riot at Pentridge Prison, Ryan was finally hanged on Friday, February 3rd, 1967.