Archive for Pierrepoint

28 January 1953 – Derek Bentley

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

Derek Bentley

Scapegoat Derek Bentley infamously took the flack for a minor’s actions on this day in 1953.

Derek William Bentley was hanged at the age of 19 for a murder committed by a mate. He was in the midst of breaking into a warehouse in Croydon with ringleader 16-year-old Christopher Craig, when the police were called to the scene.

Bentley had already been apprehended when Craig fired the lethal shot that killed PC Sidney Miles. But Craig was just 16, so he couldn’t take the rap for the crime. So the prosecution turned to the only other suspect available.

Let him have it

Despite only having a mental age of 11, Bentley was 19 and legally old enough to be fitted up with the crime. Fellow police officers asserted that he goaded Craig by saying ‘Let him have it’, upon which the prosecution hanged their entire accusation.

However, Bentley’s defence asserted that he was appealing to Craig to let the policeman have his gun and Derek’s sister Iris always maintained he didn’t even say the fateful sentence. But his defence failed to sway the jurors and Bentley was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to be hanged at Wandsworth Prison.

Not guilty

Bentley was granted a posthumous pardon following a 45-year campaign by his parents – which Iris took on after their deaths – to prove his innocence, in which scientific evidence emerged suggesting that the police had lied under oath. But, of course, that didn’t change the fact that it was too late – Bentley had already paid the ultimate price.

Christopher Eccleston puts in a stellar performance as Bentley in the 1991 film Let Him Have It and this is well worth checking out but you will need to be careful. I bought it in Woolworths for £2.99 and it came as a twin pack with Al’s Lads which, despite having Marc Warren in, is crap.

Also on this day

28 January 1829 – William Burke

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13 December 1945 – Josef Kramer

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , , , on December 13 by Old Sparky

Josef Kramer

Josef Kramer

Josef Kramer was one of 45 concentration staff to be tried for genocide at Bergen-Belsen camp, after World War II.

Having been in charge of the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau, he transferred to Belsen as Commandant where he soon became known as the ‘Beast of Belsen’ fuelled by stories of his unashamed brutality.


As the war drew to a close, the Allies were let in to the camp early as a result of an outbreak of typhus. But nothing could have prepared the British soldiers for the sight of rotting corpses strewn around the camp.

Of course, the Beast’s pivotal role in the mass genocide of prisoners was to catch up with him. Kramer was hanged for his war crimes, aged 39, by Albert Pierrepoint in a series of hangings following the Nuremberg Trials.

In the film Pierrepoint Kramer was played by Michael Norton.

Also on this day

13 December 2005 – Stanley Tookie Williams III
13 December 1945 – Irma Grese
13 December 2006 – Ángel Nieves Díaz
13 December 2005 – John B. Nixon

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