True Detective September 2006


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SKU: 200-True Detective September 2006 Categories: ,


"When I leave school I should like to be chief executioner," Albert Pierrepoint wrote in an essay when he was 11. He was both son and nephew of chief executions and he achieved his ambition in 1946, 14 years into his career as a hangman. In his 24 years in the job he despatched many of Britain’s most notorious criminals, 16 of them women. But to him, it was a vocation which he was a perfectionist, and he went about it with priestly dedication. His professional attiude enabled him to remain detached from the rightness or wrongness of the prisoners’ convictions. However, he was also particularly scathing about capital punishment. "If death was a deterrent," he wrote in his autobiography 10 years after Britain’s last execution, "I might be expected to know. It is I who have faced them last, young men and girls, working men, grandmothers..All the men and women who I have faced at that final moment convince me that in what I have done I have not prevented a single murder. I do not believe that any one of the hundreds of exections I have carried out ahs in any way acted as a deterrent agaiinst future murder. Capital punishment, in my view, achieved nothing except revenge."

What do you do when a very rich man suddenly goes missing and none of his family wants to call the police? That was the dilemma racing the rich man’s lawyer when an important client suddenly vanished from sight. And that was why on a warm day in September 1920 that worried lawyer knocked on the door of a private detective agency and thereby took to the first forward setep to unravelling one of the most extraordinary crimes in California history.

The two robbers thought the reclusive Cornish farmer had a fortune hidden away. If they had understood the strange writing they would have made a financial killing – instead they were hanged for murder.

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