True Detective August 2012


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In the eyes of officialdom, public executions were a deterrent, a solemn warning of the penalty awaiting those who committed murder

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In the eyes of officialdom, public executions were a deterrent, a solemn warning of the penalty awaiting those who committed murder. But the gallows-hungry crowd at Leeds that Saturday in September didn’t see it that way. For them a hanging was entertainment – and it was free. Further, for some days the good folk of Leeds and its environs had talked of little else, for it was to be a public hanging, the first in Leeds within living memory. And not just one execution. Two killers were due to be despatched, watched by all who cared to attend and who could find the standing-room. And that, as it turned out, meant a crowd estimated at nearing 100,000!

Switch the clock back to the 1920s and 30s and the mountainous island of Corsica is unrecognisable from the holiday island it is today. Nearly a century ago it was plagued with bandit gangs who held the peasants in thrall. Guns were fired at the slightest provocation. It was a wild, lawless place, a place where André Spada was the undisputed King Bandit. Part 11 of Grisly Tales Of The Guillotine.

What must surely rank as one of the strangest murders in County Cavan, Ireland, took place in the Ballyjamesduff area 140 years ago, resulting in an execution, after two trials, at Cavan Gaol. The murder caused a sensation at the time as the dispute that led to it was over a miserable piece of bogland. The Hanging Of A Blind Man, part 8 of our series Last Executions In Ireland.

Politics and religion excepted, few things have inflamed Irish passions more violently than disputes about land, and in 1882 such a quarrel led to the last public execution at Limerick Prison. A Dying Declaration And A Drunken Jury form part 5 of our series Last Executions In Ireland.

* TD’s Crime Photos/Prize Competition
* Monster Tortured Granny For Her PIN Number
* Your Letters More of your views
* Scot Gets 35 Years For Australian Massacre
* Last Executions In Ireland Part 8: The Hanging Of A Blind Man
* The World’s Worst Killers
* Under The Spotlight: “Lipstick Killer” Dead After 66 Years In Prison
* How Lie-Detector Test Led To Body In The Woods
* Thousands Watch A Double Hanging In Leeds
* How Murder Made The Headlines In 1864
* Execution USA
* Crime Observer
* Questions & Answers: Hanged By A Reel Of Cotton
* Readers’ Jury
* Grisly Tales Of The Guillotine Part 11: The Bandit King Of Corsica
* Should They Have Hanged Jean’s Husband?
* Make A Break: Crossword
* “My Son Just Killed A Girl”
* The Drowning Of A Nightwatchman

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