1 August 1887 – Alfred Sowery

Petrified, that’s how Alfred Sowery apparently felt today in 1887. And wouldn’t you be if the noose was about to be set loose, bound for your neck?

So we head to Lancashire for today’s execution, after the local lad was strung up for having shot his girlfriend.

Having been found guilty of murdering Annie Kelly, Sowery was banged up, and it was the waiting for certain death that was to take its toll on the young condemned man.

Not-so quick exit

Ironically he’d already tried to top himself – after he had dumped a bullet in his other half, he turned the gun on himself but the attempt failed; obviously. However the bullet was embedded in his head until it was eventually removed after his death.
With a failed attempt behind him, Sowery had only certain death to look forward to, which is a daunting thought.

According to crime specialist Gregg Manning, ‘Sowery had made himself seriously ill through terror. He had to be half pushed and carried down the corridor to the scaffold, and his groans and cries could be heard all over the gaol. His teeth chattered and his face kept turning from deathly white to a livid red.’

Sowery was finally hanged in Lancaster, when he was just 24 years old.

If you’re wondering what happened to the bullet, well the executioner, James Berry kept it as a sinister souvenir.

Also on this day

1 August 1905 – Ferat Ben Ali

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