28 November 1950 – James Corbitt
James Corbitt was one of Chief Executioner Albert Pierrepoint’s hangings at Strangeways in 1950.
Corbitt had killed his girlfriend, Eliza Wood, in a hotel room in Ashton-under-Lyne. But he was also one of Pierrepoint’s punters at the hangman’s own pub in Oldham. Corbitt was Tish to Pierrepoint’s Tosh and they were known for having sing-alongs to the pub piano. Some reckon that Corbitt’s hanging actually put him off the profession, because just six years later, Pierrepoint resigned as Chief Executioner.
Some even say that’s why Pierrepoint turned anti-capital punishment – after Corbitt’s demise, he returned to his pub, ‘Help the Poor Struggler’ and said ‘I thought if any man had a deterrent to murder poised before him, it was this troubadour whom I called Tish. He was not only aware of the rope, he had the man who handled it beside him singing a duet. The deterrent did not work.’
In the film Pierrepoint Corbitt was played by Eddie Marsan.