13 August 1964 – Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans
The last two executions ever carried out in England occurred in two different places at precisely the same time today in 1964.
The simultaneous hangings took place at Liverpool’s Walton prison and Strangeways in Manchester. Gwynne Owen Evans and Peter Allen had bludgeoned to death 53-year-old Jack West, while burgling his house.
The pair concealed their crime badly: the victim’s watch was found in Evans’s pocket and, during questioning, he revealed knowledge of the murder weapon. The detective in the case said: “They were men talking their lives away.”
One more death penalty was passed – and commuted – before capital punishment in general was abolished on 8 November 1965 save for four remaining crimes. These were sparking off arson or incendiary devices on naval property, plus espionage, ‘violent’ piracy, and treason. But the first three were commuted in 1971 and 1981 while treason went as recently as 1998, along with the last remaining crimes reserved for the armed forces.