The Public Executioner

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The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:50 am

From the old ATU site:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:HIuWMJbrAb8J:acrosstheuniverse.forumotion.com/t4716-the-public-executioner+acrosstheuniverse+%2B+the+public+executioner&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:02 am

Link to a related thread from the old ATU site: "I had that Albert Pierrepoint in the back of my cab":

LINK EXPIRED


Last edited by eddie on Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:53 pm

^
Material replicated below in the event of link expiry, with some new material added where old internal links have also expired:

****************************************************************

John Ellis



John Ellis lived for 58 years in Rochdale. For much of that time he operated his own hairdressing business, but it was his other, you might say, part-time job that made him a national figure. John Ellis served for 23 years as a public executioner attending a total of 203 hangings before his retirement in 1924.

Ellis was born on the 4th of October at 18 Broad Lane in the Balderstone district of Rochdale. His father Joseph ran a barber shop on Oldham Road close to the "Swan With Two Necks" pub.

John started his working career as a stripper and grinder at the Eagle Mill in Balderstone, but he injured his back at work giving himself a disabling injury which bothered him throughout his life. Looking for less physically demanding work, her moved to Tweedale and Smalley's in Castleton, a manufacturing company making textile machinery. It was at this point when the notion of becoming a public executioner first entered his head.

The work at Tweedale and Smalley proved to be equally difficult on John's back, so he left and set up his own hairdressing business at 451 Oldham Road.

John was married by this time and his wife was less than enthusiastic about his ambition to become an executioner. Despite this, he wrote to R. D. Cruikshank, the Governor of Strangeways Prison in Manchester, applying for a position as an executioner. This led to an interview and subsequently to an invitation to attend one week of training at Newgate Prison. The training obviously went well because on May 8, 1901 his name was added to the list of executioners and assistants, at a rate of £10 plus expenses for the executioner and £2.10.00 for the assistant.

During his career as public executioner, Ellis was involved in a number of high profile cases. He executed the infamous Dr. Crippen, who went down in history as the first murderer to be captured by means of radio telegraphy. After murdering his wife in England, Hawley Harvey Crippen, an American by birth, fled the country and under the name of John P. Robinson booked passage on the cargo ship Montrose sailing from Antwerp for Quebec. Crippen was accompanied by his mistress Ethel le Neve, dressed as a man and purporting to be Mr. Robinson's son. A suspicious captain, connecting the strange couple with the hue and cry for Crippen, telegraphed England. Detectives from Scotland Yard boarded the liner Laurentic out of Liverpool bound for Canada. The much faster Laurentic arrived in Quebec before the Montrose and the detectives arrested Crippen and his companion when the Montrose docked.

Ellis also found himself in the public gaze when in 1916 he executed Roger Casement, the rather charismatic Irishman, who was found guilty of treason.

John Ellis performed his last execution in 1923. John Eastwood was hanged at Armly Goal in Leeds and that was the 14th execution that Ellis attended that year. In March of 1924 he tended his resignation ending a career he had followed since 1901.

Looking back over the 23 years of his work, Ellis found it hard to believe that he had survived it. He was not about to miss the long train journey to and from early morning hangings, whilst trying to run his hairdressing business. He was also glad to get away from the continual stress he suffered throughout his career. To those who saw him in action, he was regarded as having nerves of steel, but in fact he was constantly afraid of making errors. In retirement his health deteriorated and heavy drinking became a serious problem.

After one drinking bout in 1924 he attempted to shoot himself, ending up in Rochdale Magistrates Court charged with attempted suicide. During his trial Ellis made commitments to curb his drinking and assured the magistrate he would not try to kill himself again. In return he was bound over for 12 months and discharged.

In 1927 Ellis was talked into taking part in a dramatic production of "The Life and Adventures of Charles Peace". Peace was executed in 1879 for the murder of a Manchester policeman during the commission of a burglary. Ellis, of course, played the executioner, adding to the appeal of the play, but attracting some controversy since there were some who considered his involvement inappropriate. The play opened in December at Gravesend, but audiences quickly dwindled as the novelty wore off and it closed soon after.

Ellis must have had some financial involvement in the staging of the play because, when it closed, he kept the scaffold and took it home to Rochdale. He used the scaffold as part of a presentation of the execution craft, taking it on tour to fairgrounds and seaside resorts.

The 1930s were as hard in Rochdale as elsewhere and there was little money for food, let alone hair cuts, so Ellis found himself attempting to supplement his income by selling towels in local pubs.

In failing health and once more drinking heavily, the end came for Ellis in 1932. A drinking bout ended with him threatening both his wife and daughter with a razor, but eventually turning it on himself. In a rage he slit his own throat and was pronounced dead on September 20th.


Last edited by eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:03 pm


The hanging of four of the conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:09 pm


Hanging of German war criminal Franz Strasser in Landsberg prison, 2 January 1946.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:30 pm


A busy day at the office for Mr Ellis (left).

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:32 pm


One type of scaffold design.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:33 pm


Albert Pierrepoint from Clayton Nr. Bradford Yorkshire (1905-1992).
Period on Home Office List 1932-1956.

Albert Pierrepoint was by far the most prolific hangman of the 20th century having been assistant or principal at the hangings of an estimated 434 people including 16 women in his 24 years of service in this country and abroad. His tally of executions was greatly increased as a result of World War II, working in Germany (200 executions) and other countries, including Egypt (4 hangings), Gibraltar (2 hangings) and Karlou Graz in Austria (8 hangings). In England and Wales Albert assisted at 29 hangings and carried out 138 civilian executions for murder as principal, including those of the last four women to hang. He carried out nine hangings in Scotland between 1948 and 1954. Albert was to execute 14 men convicted of espionage and Treason during and immediately after World War II. These included John Amery, who told Albert that he had always wanted to meet him, as he was about to be led to the gallows at Wandsworth on the 19th December 1945 and Nazi propagandist "Lord Haw-Haw," real name William Joyce, at Wandsworth for treason on the 3rd of January 1946. Theodore Schurch was the last person to be executed for treason in Britain when Albert hanged him at Pentonville on the 4th of January, 1946. Albert hanged 190 male and 10 female war criminals in batches at Hameln prison in the British controlled sector of Germany after World War II.

His first experience of the family “trade” was assisting his uncle Tom in the hanging of Patrick McDermott at Mountjoy Prison in Dublin on the 29th of December 1932. His first job as an assistant in England was again with his uncle, at the execution of Richard Hetherington at Liverpool’s Walton prison on the 20th of June 1933.

Albert is credited with the quickest hanging on record when he, assisted by Sid Dernley, executed James Inglis in only 7 seconds on the 8th of May 1951 at Strangeways in Manchester. His first execution as "Number 1" was that of gangster, Antonio "Babe" Mancini, at Pentonville Prison on the 17th of October 1941. Albert took over from his uncle as the hangman for the Irish Republic and carried out the last four executions there, up to 1954, when Michael Manning became the last person to be executed in Eire.

Some of his notable executions were :

Neville George Clevelly Heath who was hanged on the 16th of October 1946 at Pentonville Prison for the sexual/sadistic murder of Margery Gardner who was found dead in a hotel bedroom. When discovered, she was lying on her back in one of the single beds nearest to the door. She was naked and had her ankles bound with a handkerchief. She had a lot of bruising to her face and her nipples had been almost bitten off. Something had been inserted into her vagina and sharply rotated. On her back were 17 criss-cross lash marks. The cause of death had been suffocation, but only after the horrific injuries had been inflicted.
During World War II, Albert assisted his uncle Tom in the hanging of the 16 American soldiers at Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset. They had been condemned by Courts Martial for murder and/or rape.

After the war, Albert made a number of visits to West Germany where he was to hang 190 male and 10 female Nazi war criminals. The most notable of this series of executions was the first batch which took place on the 13th of December 1945, when he hanged 13 prisoners at Hameln jail including Irma Greese, Elizabeth Volkenrath and Juana Bormann and 10 men including the "Beast of Belsen", Josef Kramer.

He hanged eight men in at Karlou Graz in Austria after the war and trained Austrian hangmen in the modern method of hanging.

John George Haigh, the famous "Acid bath murderer," came his way on the 10th of August 1949 at Wandsworth prison for the murder of Mrs. Olive Durand-Deacon. Her gallstone and dentures were not dissolved by the acid in which he had dissolved the rest of her body and remained to convict Haigh. She was one of Haigh’s six victims.

Albert gave evidence to the 1949 Royal Commission on Capital Punishment, chaired by Sir Ernest Gowers and also a demonstration of the technique of hanging.



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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:36 pm


John Ellis's autobiography.


Albert Pierrepoint's autobiography.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:37 pm


Trick of the trade.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:38 pm

The audience:


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  sil on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:39 pm



Has anybody seen Berlanga's movie El Verdugo (English: The Executioner, English title: Not on your Life)?

It takes place in Spain in the 60's. It's about an old executioner who will retire soon, her daughter and an undertaker (the executioner replacement).
But it is a comedy (black humor).
Very good movie.


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:40 pm

Eventually performances became so exclusive that all most members of the public could do was read the reviews:


Notice of execution posted on prison gates.


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:42 pm


Public execution in Valence, South-Eastern France in September, 1909.


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  sil on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:43 pm

...


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:44 pm

Not sure about this one. It's the Philippine Islands, and appears to depict a rather cheerful garrotting:


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:46 pm

Firing squad:


Third of May- Goya.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:47 pm

The headsman:


Medieval.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:49 pm

Jacobean:


Execution of Charles I outside the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall, London.

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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:51 pm


Old London Bridge, Southwark gateway, with heads of executed criminals and traitors displayed on pikes.


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  pinhedz on Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:41 am

Imagine the hijinks.


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Re: The Public Executioner

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:10 pm

pinhedz wrote:Imagine the hijinks.  




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Re: The Public Executioner

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