Archive for July, 2009

Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 31)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on July 30 by Old Sparky

We’re always on the look-out for weird and not-so wonderful execution methods and bingo, this week we have a new one.

Being boiled alive.

Let us take you back to 230AD. The poor unfortunate was Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. She was said to be a noblewoman who met her untimely demise aptly down in Sicily.

We’re not wholly sure what she did, but one site dedicated to catholic saints reckons she admitted to her husband ‘there is an angel who watches me, and wards off from me any who would touch me’.

Of course, most would have dumped her or had her committed, but her husband was intrigued and wanted to catch a glimpse of the other person in her life. So he got baptised instead, naturally…

But apparently it worked and he immediately became privvy to visions of her protector. The couple then shared the secret with his brother, who was keen to get a piece of the ethereal action too.

All we do know is this embracing of God was not the done thing in 230AD, so the siblings and Cecilia earned themselves a death penalty each. The brothers were dispatched, but Cecilia’s sheer staying power earned her a saintdom.

Steamy session

Details of her penalty range from being ‘boiled alive’ to more accurately, being cooped up in the Romans baths, the furnaces raging for a day and night until she slow-steamed (or suffocated) to death.

When that didn’t work, they tried to decapitate her. Three times. Remarkably, each failed and the numb-nutter who carried out the sentence rightly fled, unable to face up to his ineptitude and really rubbish axecution attempts (sorry).

Loads of people came to see the partially severed Cecilia and collected her blood as she prayed to them. A doctor would have been handier, surely? She eventually died of her ridiculous injuries three days later.

Of course, the fact that the executions didn’t actually work on any occasion mean we’re unable to turn this story into an actual post thanks largely to conjecture together with the lack of confirmed dates and details. But if you’re interested, her feast day is 22 November.

30 July 1540 – Blessed Thomas Abel
The adage ‘publish and be damned’ was sorely tested in the case of Blessed Thomas Abel. As Catherine of Aragon’s chaplain and a Catholic, he was naturally anti the 16th-century moves to ditch the Catholic church, in favour of establishing the Protestant Church of England. But, by all accounts, he felt particularly vehement because this step change was aimed primarily at ousting his beloved queen.

31 July 1919 – Thomas Foster
Thomas Foster got it in the neck after he was done for murder. Sadly his victim may have lived had she not caved in. His wife Minnie had applied for a court order to separate on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour for Foster was forever getting drunk and abusive. Unfortunately for her, Minnie fatefully retracted it after he grovelled his way back into her life with promises of better behaviour.

1 August 1887 – Alfred Sowery
Petrified, that’s how Alfred Sowery apparently felt today in 1887. And wouldn’t you be if the noose was about to be set loose, bound for your neck? So we head to Lancashire for today’s execution, after the local lad was strung up for having shot his girlfriend.

2 August 1946 – Andrey Vlasov
Nazi-sympathiser Andrey Vlasov was executed by Russian decree following World War II. He was executed for being on the side of the Germans during a war that was to have a lasting effect on the world. A general who fought for the Red Army and a member of the Communist party in Russia, Vlasov (or Wlassow) was tasked with freeing Leningrad in 1942.

3 August 1795 – Lewis Jeremiah Avershaw
Just three minutes. That’s how long it took a jury to sentence today’s callous crim. Constable-killer Lewis Jeremiah Avershaw was strung up for murder and attempted murder today in 1795. Aggrieved that he’d been found guilty, the fiend is said to have called for justice after sentence was passed in a Croydon court of law. Well, he got it alright – the sentence for murder in the 18th century was certain death.

4 August 1908 – Thomas Siddle
Wife-killer Thomas Siddle was sent to the gallows today in 1908. He stood accused for murdering his other half, Gertrude Siddle and was hanged in Hull Prison, aged 29.

5 August 2008 – José Ernesto Medellín
Texas ensured justice caught up with a gang member found guilty of rape and murder. Convicted alongside a number of accomplices including Sean Derrick O’Brien and Peter Cantu for the attacks on two young friends, José Ernesto Medellín was finally made to pay for his crimes after a lengthy stay on death row…a stay which led to an international courtroom battle between USA and his homeland of Mexico.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 30)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , on July 23 by Old Sparky

23 July 1912 – Arthur Birkett
Driven mad by his inability to secure the girl of his dreams, Arthur Birkett decided on desperate measures and paid the ultimate price. Just four days short of his 23rd birthday, the lovelorn lothario was hanged for his actions, following the tragic murder of a young girl.

24 July 1588 – Blessed Nicholas Garlick
‘Seducing’ the Queen’s subjects, that’s what Nicholas Garlick was found guilty of in 1588. Sadly his crimes were not racy as they sound. A priest by trade, he was a Catholic through and through, and despite harsh laws against anyone found spreading his religion, Garlick contrived to commit the cardinal sin.

25 July 1826 – Kondraty Fyodorovich Ryleyev
Russian Kondraty Fyodorovich Ryleyev’s words were to be the death of him quite literally. Having cheated death the first time round on 24 July 1826, Ryleyev dissed the Russians’ ineptitude so disparagingly that he squandered his ‘get out of jail free card’ by securing a second chance to swing.

26 July 1815 – Eliza Fenning
A tantalising little package marked ‘arsenic, deadly poison’; alluring if you’re attempting a murder, but a little obvious don’t you think? Similarly, when it comes to poisoned food, it’s just too convenient to blame the cook, but that may have been what happen.

27 July 1935 – Eva Coo
The remorseless and ruthless drive of Eva Coo was truly stunning. The American earned an electrifying ending after she stopped at nothing in her acquisition of other people’s wealth. Some sources said she owned a brothel, while others said she’d been paid to look after her victim – a handyman.

28 July – 1976, Christian Ranucci and 1540, Thomas Cromwell
One of the last executions in France was reserved for Christian Ranucci. Many have said the convicted killer may not have been guilty, but there was no denying Ranucci’s last words: ‘rehabilitate me’. And on a bumper day…like anyone in Henry VIII’s inner circle, your future could never be guaranteed or considered secure. So Thomas Cromwell found out today in 1540.

29 July 1879 – Kate Webster
Today’s mercenary minx was as murderous as she looked. Catherine Lawler aka Webster was found guilty of wilfully killing, then hacking her former boss to bits in a bid to do away with the incriminating evidence.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 29)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on July 16 by Old Sparky

16 July 1546 – Anne Askew
Old habits die hard. OK, so Henry VIII may have turned his back on the Pope in the 16th century, in order to divorce his first wife, but, intrinsically, he was still a Catholic at heart.

17 July 1918 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
Can a bloke be more unpopular, let alone a king? Such was the hatred for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia that his actions single-handedly brought about the demise of the royal Romanov dynasty, after he proved supremely ill-equipped to run his own country.

18 July 1711 – Peter Cartwright
A right raucous robber did the Tyburn jig today in 1711, after he was had up for highway holdups. The scourge of the roads around London, Peter Cartwright hooked up with a couple of other light-fingered felons to hold up travellers and relieve them of their valuables.

19 July 2005 – Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni
Disturbingly, an Iranian child aged 16 was strung up today in 2005 next to his 18-year-old mate. Their ages as with their crimes however remain controversial even to this day. The official stance is that Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were found guilty of raping a minor – an even younger child of just 13.

20 July 2004 – Scott Andrew Mink
Unable to get his coke fix, Scott Andrew Mink really cracked up. The Ohio son from hell murdered his mum and dad in a shockingly frenzied attack and promptly wound up on death row.

21 July 1903 – Thomas Porter & Thomas Preston
The sleepy village of Sileby in Leicestershire is the focus for today’s murderous event. The villagers’ lives were thrown into turmoil when two likely lads targeted a policeman and it all ended in tragedy. Thomases Porter and Preston claimed they were being victimised by a pair of coppers – PCs Wilkinson and Hall.

22 July 1991 – Andrew Lee Jones
A jealous lover got back at the woman who dumped him in a depraved and callous crime. Andrew Lee Jones took his wrath out on his ex-partner’s child after he abducted the little girl as she slept.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 28)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on July 9 by Old Sparky

Ok, so a recent episode of the infernal ‘Big Brother’ claimed that Henry VIII did away with 72,000 poor blighters during his 38-year reign.

Kerching. That’s a lot of EOTD fodder, we thought.

Of course, the two wives* he executed (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) are already on here, along with Tommy Cromwell whose post enjoyed a serious spate of fame while the latest series of ‘The Tudors’ was being aired.

So, alongside this week’s collection of undesireables, we’ve added a new one for your delectation, who shares a death anniversary with Robert Dale Conklin. Check out Robert Aske who took a punt on one of the worst ways to die.

9 July 1850 – the Báb
Siyyid Ali Muhammad was a merchant and founder of the Persian religious movement, Bábism – which emerged from ‘the doctrines of a Muslim messianic Shi’ite sect’. He went by the name of the Báb meaning ‘Gate’ implying he was an avenue for divine revelation and set about establishing a new religious law.

Zheng-Xiaoyu 10 July 2007 – Zheng Xiaoyu
A tale of bribery, intrigue and corruption surrounds our next condemned man today, this time in the depths of China. Zheng Xiaoyu should have been a respected man – he headed up the State Food and Drug Administration for the People’s Republic of China and was therefore in a position of power and trust.

Peter-Manuel11 July 1958 – Peter Manuel

Glasgow got a hefty dose of serial killing when a US-born Scot singled out the city to carry out his gruesome crimes. Peter Thomas Anthony Manuel is thought to have killed 15 women by various methods from shooting to strangling to battering.

Robert-Dale-Conklin12 July 2005 – Robert Dale Conklin
Things escalated after ex-con Robert Dale Conklin’s lover couldn’t take no for an answer. Conklin was executed on this day in 2005 after he killed the man in his life, George Crooks.

Ruth-Ellis13 July 1955 – Ruth Ellis
It seems apt that the last woman to be hanged in Britain was guilty of a crime of pure, Pernod-fuelled passion. After all, it happened at a time when impassioned people were speaking out against the death penalty. Ruth Ellis was done for shooting David Blakely outside a Hampstead pub, after he’s spent that Easter weekend avoiding her like the plague.

14 July 1903 – Samuel Dougal

Essex boy Samuel Herbert Dougal came a cropper after the ladies’ man did away with one of his rich women. Twice widowed Dougal was an ex army man, who, through his life, had a string of women in tow, as well as jobs. Such an unsettling period took its toll while he was posted in Dublin and he was done for forgery. Most of his year’s sentence was spent in an asylum after he tried to top himself.

John-Christie15 July 1953 – John Christie
Holing dead bodies up behind walls gives great acoustics apparently. However, we’re pretty certain sound quality was the last thing on John Reginald Halliday Christie’s mind when the killer stashed his victims in hidden cubby holes around his house. It was a case of needs must – well he had to hide them somewhere.

 * In case you were wondering what happened to all of Henry’s VIII’s six wives, he divorced first wife Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn, who was promptly beheaded after just four years of marriage. He then sadly lost his third wife Jane Seymour following the birth of his much coveted son and heir, Edward.

Thomas Cromwell then took it upon himself to do some matchmaking and boy was that a big mistake – for Henry took one look at Anne of Cleves and promptly divorced her for being way too plain. (Cromwell never recovered from this faux pas and had his head chopped too.)

Not one to be alone too long, Henry’s head was turned by Catherine Howard (Boleyn’s cousin). But she was steeped in scurrilous rumours of playing away, so Henry dutifully lopped off her pretty little head.

By now Henry was getting on a bit and he married his sixth and final wife Catherine Parr, who managed to outlive him.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 27)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on July 1 by Old Sparky

Peter-Kürten2 July 1931 – Peter Kürten
The Vampire of Düsseldorf got it in the neck on 2 July 1931.

Although he first killed in 1913, it was sexual sadist Peter Kürten’s murderous spree at the end of the 1920s that sent shockwaves around Germany.

3 July 1936 – Saburo Aizawa

From ‘you’re fired’ to the firing squad in less than a year. When General Tetsuzan Nagata dismissed Japanese soldier Saburo Aizawa from active duty in August 1935 the disgruntled Lieutenant Colonel took the ultimate revenge on the boss who’d sacked him.

4 July 1597 – Henry Abbot
Bait was used to lure Henry Abbott to his death in the 16th century. And with a name like Abbott, it seems fitting that his crime was religion-based.

A Yorkshire man by birth, Abbott was a Catholic convert at a time when England was in the grip of the Reformation – a break away from Roman Catholicism towards the establishment of the Church of England and Protestantism.

Harold-Joseph-Pringle5 July 1945 – Harold Joseph Pringle
The only Canadian to be executed for military crimes during WW2 died on this day 1945. Private Harold Pringle was a good soldier who served in the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of the Canadian Army.

Sir-Thomas-More6 July 1535 – Sir Thomas More
Saint (or Sir, depending on who you ask) Thomas More was a writer, lawyer and politician who became a close personal advisor to Henry VIII. He had several high-profile jobs during his varied career including Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Chancellor.

Lincoln-Conspirators7 July 1865 – the Lincoln Conspirators
lthough the man who actually shot Abraham Lincoln was killed while on the run, the rest of his gang met their demise side-by-side in Washington DC. Triggerman John Wilkes-Booth had originally only intended to kidnap Lincoln and to use his hostage to bargain for the release of prisoners of the American Civil War.

Allen-Lee-Davis8 July 1999 – Allen Lee Davis
Allen Lee ‘Tiny’ Davis was on parole for armed-robbery when he turned up at the Jacksonville home of the Weiler family and attacked pregnant mother of two Nancy.

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