17 October 1941 – Antonio Mancini

‘Cheerio’ said British gangster Antonio Mancini as he launched Albert Pierrepoint’s prolific career as Chief Executioner.

Nicknamed ‘Babe’, the 39-year-old mafia-esque Mancini was Albert’s first hanging as the head executioner after he’d been found guilty of killing Harry Distleman.

Turf wars

The victim was a rival gang member at a time when, not only was London being hammered by World War II bombs, but also the East End was being torn apart by turf wars between the Jewish and the Italian gangs (among others).

The murdered man was a doorman at the West End Bridge and Billiards club when a fracas escalated and he wound up with a blade in him – he’d been stabbed to death by Mancini.

Inevitably, Mancini was sent down for the crime and eventually swung for it – the hanging took place at Pentonville Prison on this day in 1941.

Also on this day

17 October 1911 – Edward Hill
17 October 1911 – Francisco Godhino

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