Raymond Hamilton, Depression Desperado and ‘Gentleman Bandit.’


On this Day in 1935; Raymond Hamilton, Depression Desperado and ‘gentleman bandit.’

Crime Scribe

Raymond Elzie Hamilton, self-styled 'Gentleman Bandit.' Raymond Elzie Hamilton, self-styled ‘Gentleman Bandit.’

Ray Hamilton, thief, armed robber, kidnapper, escape artist, murderer. He worked with Clyde Barrow as part of the infamous ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Gang before his out-sized ego caused him to strike out on his own. By his execution in May, 1935 (at the tender age of 22) he’d racked up no less than 362 years of unserved jail time and committed armed robbery, kidnapping, car theft, burglary, prison escape, petty theft, murder and general mayhem across Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas. And those are the States that we know he was active in. He wasn’t even executed for any of his several known murders. Texas being Texas, in 1935 you could be executed for being an habitual criminal which, with Ray’s rather compendious criminal history in mind, probably wasn’t the Walker County District Attorney’s biggest challenge of his career. But while Bonnie and…

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Leroy Henry, Shepton Mallet and the curious case of George Edward Smith.


A few days ago Channel 5 screened another episode of Hidden History of Britain. Presented by former politician Michael Portillo, the episode covered Shepton Mallet Prison and the case of Leroy Henry. Shepton Mallet should be familiar to readers of Crimescribe, as should Leroy Henry who I've previously covered. You can watch it here. I … Continue reading Leroy Henry, Shepton Mallet and the curious case of George Edward Smith.

On This Day in 1934; The last British hanging witnessed by a journalist.


When Frederick Parker and Albert Probert mounted the gallows at Wandsworth Prison, they died never knowing they'd taken a singular place in Britain's chronicles of crime. Theirs would be last execution in British prison to be witnessed by a gentleman (or lady) of the press. Until the Capital Punishment (Amendment) Act of 1868 executions were … Continue reading On This Day in 1934; The last British hanging witnessed by a journalist.

On this Day in 1925; The Biter (nearly) Bitten at Sing Sing.


When heroin-loving gangsters Morris 'Whitey' Diamond and his brother Joey teamed up with John Farina for an armed robbery and murder, they surely knew they had a fair chance of joining him in Sing Sing's Death House and Old Sparky as well. The 1920's and 30's were halcyon days for New York's 'State Electrician' and … Continue reading On this Day in 1925; The Biter (nearly) Bitten at Sing Sing.

Doctor George Henry Lamson, the ‘Sleight of Hand Poisoner’; Not as clever as he thought.


All in all, a sorry fate for a man who'[d once shown such promise.

Watching the detectives: The arrest of the inappropriately named Daniel Good.


With Good safely in his grave, the Metropolitan Police had to reconsider having only uniformed officers in their ranks. Had some officers been working out of uniform, they reasoned, they might have caught him far sooner. With that in mind a permanent cadre of non-uniformed officers. the Detective Department, was set up in August, 1842. It later became the Criminal Investigation Department.

On This Day in 1949; Germaine Leloy-Godefroy, last French woman to face the guillotine.


She was the last woman in France to face the dreaded 'Timbers of Justice.'

On This Day in 1689; Judge Jeffreys, who gave them enough rope.


The original 'Hanging Judge' his name became a byword for bias, ruthlessness, callousness and cruelty, Jeffreys would die as a prisoner himself.

IDENTIFIED: ‘An unidentified man is strapped into Sing Sing’s electric chair.’


For my 100th post, I'm going to offer you something special, something a little different from the usual fare. The story of this 'unidentified man' at the moment of his death. True crime buffs and historians will have seen this particular image many, many times. Taken by photographer William van der Weyde, it's invariably captioned … Continue reading IDENTIFIED: ‘An unidentified man is strapped into Sing Sing’s electric chair.’

I wrote a book.


Crime Scribe

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It’s been quite some time since I last posted ere, but I have been extremely busy with paid work and earning a living. Part of that has been writing my first book.

Criminal Curiosities is a collection of crooks, all with something about their crime, trial or punishment that is singular to them. The first prisoner to face the guillotine, the first to commit a robbery using a landmine, the first case in which the murder victim’s actual body had a starring role in reconstructing the crime for the jury trying his killer and so on.

So, if you’re curious as to who was really America’s first Public Enemy Number One, ever wondered who was first to take a seat in the electric chair or perhaps you’ve never heard of the art forger brave enough to bilk Hermann Goering out of sixty million dollars (at today’s prices) feel free to…

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