Archive for Hanged

28 January 1829 – William Burke

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , on January 28 by Old Sparky

William Burke

Forget body snatching when you can bump people off and get rich by it thought the infamous Williams Burke and Hare.

Using Burke’s lodging house, the deadly Edinburgh duo along with Burke’s girlfriend Helen McDougal, would target unsuspecting guests, plying them whisky until they literally lost consciousness, before suffocating them.

They then offloaded the pristine corpses on to grateful GPs all in the name of medical research.

But the success of their cunning plan went to their heads and they got sloppy. Instead of siphoning off strangers or faceless vagrants in West Port, they targeted two prostitutes who were well known to the area, along with a street performer who had a distinctive deformed foot. They were eventually shopped by their own tenants, who’d started to get suspicious of the scheming trio.

Scot free…

Of course their true feelings for each other emerged as they began turning on each other. Burke blamed Hare, and Hare blamed Burke and McDougal.

Hare won! He got pardoned for his part in the spree, in return for fitting the other two up with the crime. While McDougal was freed due to insufficient evidence, Burke was not so lucky. He got saddled with the guilt and was hanged.

In a sharp twist of fate, some allege Burke was skinned and his bits were used to bind a small book, which is on show at Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons, while others say he was posthumously dissected…for medical research.

But, in case you were wondering, Hare and McDougal didn’t get off lightly either. McDougal is said to have emigrated to Australia to flee her infamy. But it followed her to the Antipodeas too, where she was hounded until she died in 1868.

Some say Hare was apparently flung into a lime pit and died a blind beggar on the harsh streets of London. Others say he wound up in Carlisle.

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27 January 1928 – Edward Rowlands and Daniel Driscoll

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , on January 27 by Old Sparky

Edward Rowlands and Danny Driscoll where hanged for abetting a murder, after two sets of bookies went head to head in Cardiff.

Turf war

Rowlands and Driscoll carried the can for the murder of a rival Welsh bookmaker Dai Lewis. They were found guilty of aiding Rowland’s brother John to kill. John, in turn, was banged up in Broadmoor, deemed unable to take reponsibility for his actions.


But it transpired recently that Driscoll may yet get a posthumous pardon. Apparently, new evidence has emerged, which suggests that both men didn’t realise John Rowlands was out to kill. So they were incapable of aiding or abetting a crime for which they had no prior knowledge. However, the transcripts of the original trial have gone AWOL, so the sentence still stands to this day.

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25 January 1996 – Billy Bailey

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , on January 25 by Old Sparky

Billy Bailey

‘It’s not as if you can look in the yellow pages under ‘h’ for hangman.’ So said Billy Bailey’s lawyer after his client chose to exit via the noose.

Bailey’s was the first hanging in Delaware, America since 1946, so that method of execution was not common.

Cold blood

Nevertheless, he’d been found guilty of murdering two elderly pensioners – husband Gilbert Lambertson, 80, and his wife 73-year-old wife Clara.

The killings were particularly cold blooded, because he’d used both a pistol as well as the couple’s own shotgun to finish the job. And before he’d left, he’d even placed the bodies on chairs.

The penalty was unequivocally death – the only question that remained was the method. And that was a toss up between the injection and the gallows. Of course, Bailey chose the latter for his exit in 1996 and, so far, remains the last man to be hanged in the United States to date.

Also on this day

25 January 2006 – Marion Dudley

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24 January 1846 – Elizabeth van Valkenburgh

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , , on January 24 by Old Sparky

Driven mad by her drunk and disorderly husband, Elizabeth van Valkenburgh was done for poisoning her spouse in New York.

Van Valkenburgh was so sick of her husband getting bladdered and ‘misusing the children’ that she decided to let alcohol be the death of him, by doctoring his rum and brandy with arsenic. She may even have killed her previous husband the same way.

After the deadly deed, she hid in a barn and broke her leg in a fall. And it was this break plus her obesity that ensured that she was hanged while sat in her rocking chair, aged 47.

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23 January 1822 – Henry Thompson and Richard Jago

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , on January 23 by Old Sparky

Forger Henry Thompson was sent to the gallows on the same day as the light-fingered Richard Jago.

Richard Jago was hanged at Newgate Prison in London, after he was convicted for burglary.

He was strung up alongside Henry Thompson who was done for forgery. This crime was seen as a form of treason in those days, because it was tantamount to robbing the Crown.

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21 January 1801 – John Fisher

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , on January 21 by Old Sparky

Sweet-toothed felon John Fisher paid the highest price possible for the sake of stealing some sugar.

Fisher, 23, was hanged at Newgate for stealing 800lbs of sugar from London’s Dundee Wharf in 1801.

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20 January 1773 – William Griffiths

Posted in Hanged with tags , , , on January 20 by Old Sparky

Highwayman William Griffiths was hanged for targeting a man who was to turn criminal himself.

Petty theft

Griffiths was hanged at Tyburn for stealing two guineas and some pieces of silver. The crime took place on Tottenham Court Road, in London, and Griffiths’s victim was Reverend Dr Dodd.

Little did he know that Dodd was to be hanged at Tyburn as well, just four years later for forgery.

Also on this day

20 January 1823 – Giles East

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