Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 7)
With an average of one a day, you could be forgiven for thinking this week’s fairly quiet on the old death diary front…that is, until you find out there are two hard-hitters of English history for your delectation.
Yep, this week two right royal damsels in distress were dispatched after they became detached at the necks in the 16th century. One was a wily ex-wife of old ‘Enry, while the second unfortunate got caught up in the jostling for the English throne, after Henry’s son Eddie popped his clogs prematurely.
Oh, and don’t forget Russia also rid itself of a rampant serial sadist, plus there’s a Christmas Day killer thrown in for good measure.
12 February 1554 – Lady Jane Grey
Queen for just nine days (or maybe 13), Jane Dudley eventually lost her head on this day in 1554. Dudley was her married name, but she was better known as Lady Jane Grey. And on this day, she and her husband, the Earl of Guildford, faced their headless futures together, after they’d both been found guilty of treason.
13 February 1542 – Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard was a bit of a goer by all accounts. But did that really mean she should lose her head on this day in 1542? Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife, and it was his consort’s alleged extra-curricular love life that earned her a beheading for treason.
14 February 1994 – Andrei Chikatilo
Killing spree doesn’t come close to describing the butcher of Rostov’s rampage through Russia. Andrei Chikatilo devoted 12 years of his life to murdering a whopping 53 women and children, but there unconfirmed reports that it could be as many as 56.
15 February 1910 – William Murphy
On a lean day in the land of the executioner, William Murphy became the last man to be executed at Caernarfon Gaol. The 49-year-old was hanged for the brutal murder of Gwen Ellen Jones at Holyhead on Christmas Day 1909.
16 February 1819 – John Fellows & John Corderoy
Two Johns were hanged side by side on this day in 1819. John Fellows was sent to the gallows at Newgate Prison. He’d been found guilty of stealing from a lodging house. He was executed alongside a burglar by the name of John Corderoy. Corderoy, a petty burglar, was strung up at Newgate Prison after he was found guilty of breaking and entering.
17 February 1872 – Jose Burgos
The most vocal of the trio of Gomburza martyrs, Jose Burgos was sentenced to be garrotted for treason in the Philippines. José Apolonio Burgos teamed up with a host of followers in Cavite and fellow Spanish-Filipino priests from the surrounding area to promote liberal ideas.
18 February 1916 – Oscar Comery
Oscar Comery pleaded guilty to killing his wife in the hope they’d be lenient on him. He’d been hoping for life imprisonment. Instead his ploy backfired and the sentence was death. As a result, he was sent to the gallows, aged 34, for poisoning his wife with strychnine.