Worldwide Hangings

Colin Ross

The naked body of 12-year-old Alma Tirtschke was found lying on a drain grating in Gun Alley, Melbourne, on New Year’s Eve, 1921, just 100 yards from a wine bar owned by Colin Campbell Ross. A local woman, Ivy Matthews, who had just been sacked as a barmaid by Ross, pointed a finger at him

Vernon Booher

After shooting dead his mother and brother and two farm labourers on their farm in Mannville, Alberta, in July 1928, Vernon Booher, 22, reported the killings to the police. They called in an Austrian psychiatrist, Dr. Adolph Langsner, who claimed to be able to read people’s brainwaves. Reading Booher’s, he deduced that Booher was the

Gustave Marx, Harvey van Dine and Peter Neidermeier

The year was 1903 and, calling themselves the Automatic Trio, Gustave Marx, Harvey van Dine and Peter Neidermeier could justifiably claim to be America’s first shoot-to-kill gangster team. During five months in 1903 they killed eight men, including two detectives. They went for the “big one” in August 1903, at a city centre railway station

John Harris

Apartheid was a repugnant political philosophy to thinking people and some were prepared to carry their antagonism to extremes. One such was John Harris, who put a bomb in a suitcase on July 24th, 1964, and left it on a train seat in Johannesburg central station before casually walking off. The bomb went off at

John Martin Scripps

British traveller Simon Davis told the receptionist at the Singapore hotel where he was staying: “I’ve kicked out my roommate. He made a homosexual advance towards me. I’ll be paying the bill.” The receptionist was hardly to know that Mr. Davis’s companion was still in room 1511, murdered, cut into 10 pieces and stuffed into

Colonel Miasoyedoff

When the Russian Army lost a staggering 125,000 men at the two battles of the Masurian Lakes during the First World War, the Ohkrana (secret police) were convinced there was a traitor in their midst. They identified him as Colonel Miasoyedoff, an interpreter who spoke German and had a criminal record for theft. In 1912

Joseph Gordon

The radio in patrol car 12 on the south-west side of Vancouver rapped out: “Investigate two suspect males prowling 1500 West Third Avenue.” Patrolman Gordon Sinclair, alone in car 12, was closest to the incident only two blocks away, and was first on the scene. When the cover unit arrived only a few minutes later


That was his name: just John. No one seemed to know if he had a surname, so they hanged him as John at Salisbury (now Harare) Prison on Thursday, April 2nd, 1959. John was the servant of Mrs. Lettie Digby-Ovens, 29, who was a celebrated fashion model. He stabbed her to death when she was

Edward Williams

Desperately poor and desperately worried about the future of his three young daughters, who were all under five, music teacher Edward Williams, 52, cut the children’s throats in their bedroom at his lodgings in Sydney and then went on the run. Several days later, on February 10th, 1924, he gave himself up. “I did it

Leo Mantha

The lower deck situation on the Canadian Navy ship Naden at Victoria naval base in British Columbia wasn’t exactly shipshape. Two sailors were sleeping together, and this at a time, in the summer of 1958, when gay sex was illegal in Canada and severely punishable under military law. Aaron Jenkins, 23, wanted to become a