11 September 1599 – Beatrice Cenci
Just a child, Cenci was the middle child of three who lived in Rome. Her older brother Giacomo and her younger brother Bernardo, plus her step-mother Lucrezia were already being abused when her father Francesco turned on his daughter and started committing incest.
He was slung in jail for other crimes, but as a noble he got off lightly. Desperate, Cenci tried to report his sexual abuse to the authorities but failed to convince anyone. Instead word got back to her father and he angrily dispatched them to their castle in the country.
It was there that the banished family plotted to kill their tyrannical father. In 1598, on one of his visits to the country estate, two helpers (one of whom was Cenci’s lover) drugged Francesco in the vain hope that that would kill him.
When this didn’t work, the family set upon him battering him with a hammer, and then slung him over the balcony edge in a bid to fake an accident. No-one even remotely believed it was an accident and the lawmen hauled the family in. Her lover was tortured to death, but he took their secret to his grave.
Nevertheless the family was found guilty. Giacomo was apparently battered into quarters using a mallet.
Stepmother Lucrezia was then the first to be beheaded, followed by the 16-year-old. As Cenci’s head came away from her body, it rolled one way and the lifeless body was lifted up into the air, such was the force of her decapitation.
Her lifeless body was then handed over to the brotherhood of St John the Beheaded. But the final indignity occurred when they were putting her body into the coffin, it slipped and her clothes fell away, her blood streaming onto the ground.
Only younger bruv, Bernardo survived, although he had to witness the slaughter of his entire family.