Interesting article from the BBC about the German spies executed at the Tower of London during World War One.
Check out the audio link too for a step by step account of the dreadful deed
Happy Birthday to us…Execution of the day is 2!!
While we sort out the format for the next 12 months* here’s a link to the latest addition to our grisly roster, the story of our fellow countryman Akmal Shaikh.
There’s been lot’s written about the case, but not by us, so what do you think?
Dodgy decision or justice?
* yes, we should have done this some time ago
24 December 1867 – Frederick Baker
You can be forgiven for thinking Sweet Fanny Adams was merely a euphemism for ‘f**k all’ (or a Brazilian rock band). But she was a real person who really did exist, albeit not for very long, as her story now unfolds.
25 December 1989 – Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu
Who needs a televised ‘Queen’s Speech’, when you can watch the demise of a dodgy dictator on the box instead. So the bullet-riddled bodies of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu graced Romanian TVs on this day in 1989. They were executed by firing squad for crimes against the state.
26 December c34-35 – Saint Stephen
Saint Stephen was canonised after he was stoned to death for allegedly blaspheming against Moses and God circa 34 to 35AD.
27 December 1905 – Frederick Edge
Frederick Edge was sentenced to be hanged for infanticide in 1905.
28 December 1903 – Emily Swann
Emily Swann was hanged at 8am together with her lover for the murder of her husband William. Her husband was a violent man given to beating Swann. At the end of her tether, Swann showed his latest handiwork to her toy-boy lover John Gallagher (30), who was overheard vowing to get even with him.
29 December 2006 – Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein, the infamous former President of Iraq, was hanged in 2006 for crimes against humanity, aged 69.
30 December 1842 – Noah Beauchamp
Noah Beauchamp was the first person to be legally hanged in Parke County, Indiana, after he murdered one of his neighbours.
31 December 1898 – Joseph Vacher
A French version of Jack the Ripper was beheaded after he confessed to murdering a feast of victims, among them shepherds and shepherdesses.
17 December 1914 – Arthur Hodges
Arthur Hodges killed a policeman while resisting arrest. For that the African-American was put on the electric chair and became the first person to be executed by the chair in Arkansas.
18 December 1945 – John Amery
John Amery, a staunch fascist, was hanged at Wandsworth, for treason. He helped both Hitler and Mussolini spread their propaganda during the Second World War.
19 December 1932 – Yoon Bong-Gil
Yoon Bong-Gil, a 24-year-old Korean, was sentenced to death for attempting to kill the Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
20 December 1876 – John Green
Nine children were left orphaned after their father John Green was executed for shooting their mother.
21 December 1929 – Peter Kudzinowski
The children of New Jersey were particularly vulnerable in the late 1920s. Not only was the slimy Albert Fish trawling the area, but also Peter Kudzinowski, a railroad worker-cum-serial killer, was at large.
22 December 1915 – Harry Thompson
Lovelorn Harry Thompson lost his life for letting all-consuming passions get the better of him. He managed to get embroiled with one Alice Kaye and the relationship was to be the death of him.
23 December 1890 – Mary Eleanor Wheeler Pearcey
Mary Eleanor Wheeler Pearcey hanged for the murder of her lover’s wife and baby.
10 December 1900 – John Filip Nordlund
John Filip Nordlund was the penultimate person to be executed in Sweden. He was sentenced to death for mass murder after boarding a ferry bound for Stockholm with the sole intention of stealing money from the passengers, killing them and stealing the ships register.
11 December 2002 – Jay Wesley Neill
Jay Wesley Neill was executed by lethal injection for a cold blooded killing spree during a bank robbery.
12 December 1911 – Walter Martyn & John Tarkenter
Two men, two murders, two hangings. Walter Martyn was hanged in Heywood for strangling his girlfriend. John Tarkenter slit his wife’s throat as she lay in bed after a row.
14 December 1982 – John Eldon Smith
John Eldon Smith died by the electric chair in Georgia for the murder of Ronald and Juanita Akins.
15 December 1902 – Samuel Walton
Samuel Walton was hanged in Durham for murdering the women in his life.
16 December 1902 – Thomas Nicholson
Thomas Nicholson hanged for the murder of seven-year-old Mary Ina Stewart.
3 December 2001 – Lois Nadean Smith
Lois Nadean Smith was put to death by lethal injection, aged 61 for the murder of her son’s ex-girlfriend Cindy Baillee. Smith was incensed that Baillee had tried to get her son Greg Smith killed and so confronted her in the car on the way to her ex-husband’s house.
4 December 2005 – Wesley Eugene Baker
Wesley Eugene Baker died by lethal injection, following a callous murder of Jane Tyson in a car park in Catonsville. He was sentenced to death in Maryland in 1992, after it emerged that Tyson was killed in cold blood.
5 December 2002 – Ernest West Basden
Contract killer Ernest West Basden was sentenced to death after he was hired to bump off someone’s husband.
6 December 1905 – Henry Perkins
Henry Perkins swung for his crime in Newcastle, aged 40, after he murdered Patrick Durkin.
7 December 1938 – Anne Marie Hahn
Anne Marie Hahn AKA Arsenic Anna was fried on this day in 1938. She was done for poisoning George Obendorfer in Cincinnati as part of an avaricious killing spree in her merciless pursuit of money.
8 December 1909 – Abel Atherton
‘Yer hanging an innocent man,’ an anguished Abel Atherton claimed just as he was about to be hanged today in 1909.
9 December 2002 – Desmond Keith Carter
Desmond Keith Carter was sentenced to death by lethal injection in North Carolina for the 1992 stabbing a 71-year-old neighbour after she refused to lend him money.
Dodgy eye-witness reports can really do you in. Not least in the case of Gary Graham, who’s incarceration and subsequent execution were to launch a whole campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in America.
Graham (or Shaka Sankofa as he renamed himself while on death row) may well have been innocent. Instead it appears that he was a victim of society.
Graham was flung in jail for the murder of one Bobby Lambert, which took place in a Texan supermarket car park. But apparently he was convicted on the strength of a single testimony.
There was no evidence, no other people were questioned and like his Florida counterpart, Larry Griffin, whose execution took place five years beforehand, nearly to the day, Graham had poor representation.
After all, what hope did he have? Graham was 21, had a mother who was mentally ill and was born into startlingly poor circumstances. Despite the undoubted love of a beleaguered family, his was a hard upbringing and he was to turn to petty crime. Sadly, that did indeed progress to armed robbery at the age of 20, but just a year later he found himself up for murder.
In the absence of a balanced trial, he was plonked on death row where he was to turn his misfortunes around. Far from wallowing in his sure fate, he set about reinventing himself – learning to read and write, even getting himself a law qualification. It was around this time that he changed his name to Shaka Sankofa.
Sankofa apologised to the victims of his petty crimes and robberies – all the crimes he’d readily admitted he committed. That just left the murder, for which he maintained his innocence to the end.
He even turned his attentions to spreading an anti-crime message, advising youngsters not to err from the path of law-abiding citizens. Indeed his plight gained the attentions of a veritable celeb-fest.
Reverend Jesse Jackson and Bianca Jagger were notables, but the most eloquent had to be Fidel Castro, who according to Wikipedia, said: ‘Shaka Sankofa has shown the world the bitter fruit of a social system where differences between the richest and the poorest are infinite and where individualism, egotism, consumerism, a generalized use of firearms and violence reign as a philosophical foundation.’
Ultimately his fate lay in the hands of the then Texan Governor – George ‘Dubya’ Bush. Let’s face it, Sankofa was stuffed – he didn’t have a hope. Bush unsurprisingly and ruthlessly stuck to his fatal guns all the way down the track. Nevertheless, the President-to-be felt the urge to justify his decision in the face of such compelling and overwhelming opposition.
But platitudes were useless when a man was about to lose his life, and with the words ‘they’re murdering me tonight’ playing on his lips, Sankofa took his last dying gulps of air before he succumbed to the lethal drugs.