Archive for September, 2008

30 September 1952 – Dennis Muldowney 

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on September 30 by Old Sparky

James Bond creator, Ian Fleming was inspired by the exotic Polish victim slain by today’s deadly desperado’s date with death.

Dennis Muldowney was executed on this day in 1952 for the murder of a Cold-War countess.

Marine steward, Muldowney was jailed and sentenced to death for killing Polish Countess Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, who was known for her forays into espionage.

The infamous World War II spy was a key player, passing secrets to the Brits while serving in Germany, Hungary and France. After the war, she came across Ian Fleming and they embarked on a year-long affair.

That’s why she is said to have been the basis for Fleming’s character Vesper Lynd in his first James Bond novel, ‘Casino Royale’, written in 1953 and played by Eva Green in the consequent Bond movie of the same name, as well as Ursula Andress in the spoof version of 1967.

Muldowney was similarly drawn to her and eventually became obsessed, which drove him to stab the 44-year-old to death on 15 June 1952.

He was hanged for his crime at Pentonville prison, aged 41.

Also on this day

30 September 1902 – John McDonald

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30 September 1902 – John McDonald

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on September 30 by Old Sparky

John McDonald was one of 120 men in total to be executed at Pentonville.

He was imprisoned for murder and was hanged for his crime in 1902.

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29 September 1637 – Lorenzo Ruiz

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty, Martyred with tags , , , , , on September 29 by Old Sparky

Lorenzo Ruiz

Lorenzo Ruiz

Eat yer heart out David Blaine with your pseudo-hangin’ upside down, for we’ve found a story to top your stunt.

So let’s head to the Philippines via Japan for the latest instalment of notable dates with death.

Today marks a historic event in the Far Eastern Catholic calendar for it heralds the death of the first Filipino saint. His name was Lorenzo Ruiz and he lost his life in Nagasaki under particularly torturous conditions. But more of that later…

Ruiz grew up around Catholics and is said to have spent his childhood in a Dominican monastery in Binondo, in the Philippines, before putting his education to good use by becoming a calligrapher in later life.

Of course with this Godly start in life, things should have gone swimmingly, but he became embroiled in some dodgy court case. Virtually all sources are a little hazy on the old detail around the legal proceedings, but they all agreed that if found guilty, Ruiz would’ve got the death penalty.

Missionaries position

It was this threat that prompted him to flee the Philippines, and where did the chump and his ecclesiastical mates head for? Only Japan, which not 20 years beforehand had passed an act banning Catholicism. So, it was not the safest of havens for a devout Christian to be absconding to.

Indeed the Japanese Shogun of the day, Tokogawa Yeyasu ruled that there would be zero tolerance of other religions and any examples would be treated with stark animosity.

So when a bunch of missionaries turned up on their hostile shores, there was hardly going to be a welcoming committee. Soon after they were banged up between 1636 and 1637 before being shipped off to Nagasaki for the trial of their lives.

’Orific injuries

But this was like no other trial we understand, in that the suspects were tortured. The infamous water torture comprised getting the missionaries to force-guzzle copious amounts of water, laying them flat, then placing a plank over their stomachs and standing people on either end. This then displaced the water so it spurted out of every available orifice.

If this didn’t break them, then needles were stuck underneath their nails and strummed like a guitar. Only one of the individuals being made to convert buckled, but he had a rethink after the torture and went on to face the ultimate penalty for failing to renounce God; death.

Feet first

Let’s face it, given the torture methods, the execution was hardly going to be a walk in the park so brace yourself. The missionaries and priests were carted off to what’s known now as the Mountain of Martyrs.

Here they were hanged by their feet from a gallows and suspended half in half out of a pit according to ‘’. The pit was then closed off and heaped high with stones. The men were then left to be slowly crushed and macerated in their own blood, or suffocate, or die, or all of the above. Alternatively they could’ve renounced God.

None of them did.

This torture could last days, but the authorities got bored of waiting because it was interrupting their social lives, so they ‘commuted’ the sentences to beheadings two days later.

Problem was that 37ish-year-old Ruiz was already dead, along with one other. But three had managed to hang on and they were promptly put out of their miseries. However, it didn’t end there – in a final act of evil, the bodies were then cremated and the ashes cast out to sea, so the dead men could kiss goodbye to Judgement Day.

Not to be outdone, the Catholics went one better. Ruiz was sainted in 1987 and his feast day now falls on 28 September.

As for the Japanese, this was just a small fraction of the deaths that took place during this period. In fact, they were so sick of the religious intervention, they closed their doors to Johnny Foreigners that very same year, with the exception of a few Dutch men, according to a report by the ‘New York Times’. They were to cut themselves off from the rest of the world for a full 200 years.

Also on this day

29 September 1827 – George Heyworth

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29 September 1827 – George Heyworth

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on September 29 by Old Sparky

George Heyworth and his two sons were sent to the gallows for robbery.

The Heyworth clan was hanged at Lancaster Castle in 1827 for highway hold-ups.

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28 September 1666 – Robert Hubert

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , , on September 28 by Old Sparky

London's burning...but anyone caught singing in a round will be hanged!

London's burning...but anyone caught singing in a round will be hanged!

An angry mob of Londoners tore French watchmaker Robert Hubert’s corpse limb from limb on this day in 1666, after Hubert blagged that he started the Great Fire of London.

Forget an errant bale of straw at a bakery in Pudding Lane, our French friend thought it would be a great idea to claim he’d sparked the conflagration.

Death wish

Of course we’re not sure why Hubert would want to admit it. Some say he was simple and thought it’d be a good idea at the time. Others reckoned on a more sinister reason – that he was coerced into a confession by the government to appease the baying bank of livid Londoners. After all, people had lost their loved ones, their houses and their livelihoods and they needed someone to blame.

Cue Frenchman Hubert who set about further unleashing the angry mob’s ire. But his story was ridiculously flaky and more importantly irrelevant. The source of the fire had already been identified and he hadn’t even been in the country at the time.

Nevertheless, he was strung up by gaolers at Tyburn. When his body was cut down, it had been destined for medical research. But, immersed in hatred, the lynch mob launched in on the lifeless corpse and pulled it to little pieces.

Also on this day

28 September 2005 – Alan Matheney
28 September 1949 – William Jones

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28 September 2005 – Alan Matheney

Posted in Death penalty, Lethal injection with tags , , , on September 28 by Old Sparky

When did you last see Hulk Hogan?

When did you last see Hulk Hogan?

With eight hours to kill, that’s exactly how Alan Matheney spent his time in 1989.

He’d been banged up for GBH and obviously had vengeance on his mind. The wife beater came up for parole and had been on an eight-hour short release from Pendleton Correctional Facility, where he had been incarcerated for beating up Lisa Bianco.

In that time, he sought his ex-wife out again and beat Bianco to death with a shotgun in front of his daughters and other witnesses.

The 55-year-old was given the lethal injection for the cold-blooded murder in 2005.

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28 September 1949 – William Jones

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on September 28 by Old Sparky

Pentonville was the place of execution for William Jones today in 1949.

The 31-year-old had been found guilty of murder. He was hanged for killing Waltraut Lehman.

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