10 September 1977 – Hamida Djandoubi
Hamida Djandoubi has the dubious honour of being the last person to be officially sent to the guillotine in France.
The Tunisian immigrant was beheaded in Marseilles for killing his girlfriend after she shopped him to the police for forcing her into prostitution.
He had been found guilty of raping and torturing her and then strangling her, some of the deeds of which took place in front of witnesses.
Indeed, he damningly provided a confession, which told how he strangled the victim and then made sure she was dead, records Jeremy Mercer in his book ‘When the Guillotine Fell’.
‘I asked for the flashlight so I could make sure she was really dead. At one point, for reasons I can’t really explain, I kicked the girl’s nose but she didn’t move’, said Djandoubi.
Heads, you lose
According to Wikipedia the murderer claimed that an accident which had left him disabled had triggered the psychotic tendencies and his predilection to alcohol. Naturally, he launched an appeal and Djandoubi was to have it declined just a mere day before he was scheduled to die.
Early the following morning in 1977, the one-legged murderer had his head cut off. Mercer goes into graphic detail when he describes the actual moment, which is not for the faint-hearted: ‘The gush of blood. It was as if somebody had thrown a bucket of water against the wall…The head that fell and bounced in the basket. The crimson fountain that spurted from the arteries.’