If you wish to add a comment to any of my articles please do so as I am always pleased to have a contribution from any reader as this increases the interest for other visitors.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Judicial Hanging!

Fifty years ago, on the 15th August 1963, Henry John Burnett was the last man to be hanged in Scotland.

At the end of his three day trial, for the murder of Thomas Guyan, he was found guilty on the 25th July 1963. The jury took only twenty-five minutes to complete it's deliberation and reach it's verdict of guilty on a 13 to 2 majority vote.

It was at 08:00 hours, in Craiginches Prison, Aberdeen, that Harry Allen, Chief Executioner in the United Kingdom, carried out the sentence of the court. The entry for cause of death on the Death Certificate of Henry John Burnett was 'Judicial Hanging'. It's a curious fact that the gallows used were the newest in the UK having been built in 1962. Not only was this the last hanging in Scotland but also the only hanging in Aberdeen for one hundred and fifty years.

Harry Allen was appointed Chief Executioner in October 1955 following the retirement of Albert Pierrepont, the long-serving hangman in England who executed at least 400 people. For fourteen years prior to his appointment as Chief Executioner Mr. Allen had acted as assistant to Mr Pierrepont.

On the 20th December 1961 Mr. Allen carried out the last execution in Northern Ireland. This was of Robert McGaddery, in the Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast. On the 13th August 1964; just two days short of a year after that of Henry John Burnett; he officiated at one of the last two executions in the United Kingdom. He undertook the execution of Gwynne Owen Evans in Strangeways Prison, Manchester. At the same time, close-by in Walton Gaol, Liverpool, his colleague Robert Leslie Stewart (Joint Chief Executioner) terminated the life of Peter Anthony Allen. The two deceased had been found jointly guilty of the murder of John Alen West.

A further execution of note on the 15th August was that of Josef Jakobs in 1941. Found guilty of being a German spy, he was executed by firing squad in the Tower of London. His was the last execution in the Tower of London.
A year after the executions of Evans and Allen, capital punishment was suspended as a result of 'The Murder(Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965'. Capital punishment for murder was abolished in 1969 in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland in 1973.

The inclusion of capital punishment, Judicial Murder, within the constitution and legal system of any country is abhorrent. No civilised, humane country should have the death penalty as a form of punishment within its legal system. Only barbarous states and countries, execute, murder, convicted criminals. Any religion that sanctions the use of the death penalty is a barbaric faith.

 © Elliot Sampford 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be courteous and add your name rather than 'Anonymous' to your comment, as it may not be published. In the 'Comment as' box above use the drop-down menu and select 'Name/URL'. In the 'Edit profile' pop-up enter your name and press continue. There will be a period of delay before your comment appears on the article until I receive the automatic notification that you have made one and can authorised its publication.

Any comment that includes vulgar language, racist remarks or anything of that nature will either be edited or not published at my discretion.