Escapes from the Noose

Overview

Over the centuries of British history, from the Anglo-Saxons to the 1960s, our society imposed the death penalty for serious crime. In the Regency years, the number of capital offences increased to over 200. But by the side of retribution there was always clemency. What could save a felon from the noose?

From earliest times, the condemned could look to the sovereign for a royal pardon. Then, in 1782, came the establishment of the Home Office and the Home Secretary could play a ...

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Overview

Over the centuries of British history, from the Anglo-Saxons to the 1960s, our society imposed the death penalty for serious crime. In the Regency years, the number of capital offences increased to over 200. But by the side of retribution there was always clemency. What could save a felon from the noose?

From earliest times, the condemned could look to the sovereign for a royal pardon. Then, in 1782, came the establishment of the Home Office and the Home Secretary could play a part in reprieving those awaiting death in the condemned cell. At meetings in London, lists of the condemned were discussed and verdicts condoned or quashed. Life hung in the balance.

In Escapes from the Noose, Stephen Wade tells the story of the pardons, the reprieves, the performances of some brilliant barristers to save clients, and the thorny problem of insanity and diminished responsibility. The book gives an account of these legal subjects, and explains the drama and sensation of the court of criminal appeal, which, from 1907, gave a last chance for the condemned in a hearing before the top judges of the land.

Here you will find the stories of attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria, Dr Whitmarsh the abortionist, early forensics dramas, the murderous widow of Windy Nook, the story of Mrs Maybrick who may have been married to Jack the Ripper and many more.

The stories cover the bizarre and the tragic, from the reprieve of the legless man to the murder of Jeannie Donald, for which the trial ended in the Scottish verdict of 'not proven.'

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848682320
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/19/2010
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Acknowledgements 11

1 Pardons from Medieval to Tudor 13

2 The Beginnings of the Home Office 18

3 Lord Santry 1739 23

4 Three Tales of 'Legal' Escapes 26

5 The Long Riston Mystery 1799 30

6 James Hadfield 1800 35

7 Hall and Morrison 1817 38

8 Not Proven: Madeleine Smith 1857 42

9 Victoria Under Attack 46

10 Under Seal of the Queen: Dr Smethurst 1859 50

11 The Wyberton Murder 1860 54

12 Epilepsy Saved his Neck 1876 57

13 Mrs Maybrick 1889 63

14 Dr Whitmarsh 1898 66

15 The Horace Rayner Story 1907 71

16 Appeals Allowed 1907 74

17 Edward Lawrence 1909 78

18 The Tragedy of Mrs Castle: Driffield 1923 82

19 The Wallace Enigma 1931 85

20 Jeannie Donald 1934 90

21 The Mills Case and the Eliza Ray Murder 1934-5 93

22 William Edwards 1936 97

23 Rowland and Simcox: Three Reprieves and a Hanging 100

24 A Murderous Attack in Church 1948 103

25 Legless Man Reprieved 1954 106

26 The Widow of Windy Nook 1957 109

27 Two Stories from the Suburbs 112

Epilogue: Paranormal? 123

Conclusions 124

Sources and Bibliography 125

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