‘To Commute, Or Not Commute..?’


That is the question for any State Governor with the power to do so. Some agonise over the decision, some don't and a great many will base their decision more on their approval rating than on justice and the law. What, as far as I'm aware, no other Governor has ever done was stand peering …

Mathieu Orfila – ‘Father Of Toxicology.’


 Meet Professor Mathieu Orfila, the 'Father of Toxicology.' He was born on April 24, 1787 on the island of Minorca and died on March 12, 1853 in Paris. He was a graduate of both Barcelona and Valencia in toxicology and chemistry and is one of the most influential, respected and overlooked figures in criminal history. …

Trial Watchers – A Strange Breed.


"Prisoner at the Bar, the sentence of this court is that you be taken from this place to a lawful prison and thence to a place of execution where you shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead. And that afterwards your body shall be cut down and buried within the precincts of …

Killing Them Nicely? The Myth Of ‘Humane Execution.’


Arizona's botched execution of Joseph Wood, during which he received a lethal injection that took almost two hours to actually kill him, was the latest in a long, long line of botched executions in the US. The method used is immaterial. All execution methods are evolved with human experimentation, by executioners testing new methods or …

Bill Richmond – Boxer, Trainer, Socialite (and Hangman?).


A few days ago we looked at the tragic tale of Henry Flakes, the boxer who might have been something special had circumstance and crime not derailed his plans. Today, we're going to look at Bill Richmond AKA 'The Black Terror.' This is another tale where crime and sport (apparently) mix but go (fortunately for …

The Baker Street Bank Robbery of 1971.


Morning All. I'm about to blow my own trumpet (mercifully briefly, I promise) by plugging the latest episode of BBC Radio 4's 'Punt P.I' series, in which I was an expert contributor. Most people who've seen the film 'The Bank Job' will have got the Hollywood version of 1971's Baker Street bank robbery and I …

On This Day in 1960 – Henry ‘Snow’ Flakes. Out For The Count.


Meet Henry Flakes. Chances are that even if you're a boxing fan you've probably never heard of him, but you might have done if things had gone differently. Henry was a young up-and-coming heavyweight during the late 1940's, tipped by many in boxing and the press as a future champion and the best young heavyweight …

The Etymology Of Execution.


Tyburn, near to today's Marble Arch and site of many executions. Today we'll be looking at a tangent of the dark business of execution. Not at the technicalities or at any particular case, but at the etymology of execution. Like it or not (personally, I don't) the death penalty is still a part of human existence …

Plymouth’s Own Duncan Scott-Ford – The ‘£18 Traitor.’


  Duncan Scott-Ford’s mugshot taken after his arrest on a charge of treason.   Plymouth, being a harbour and garrison town, has had its fair share of maritime heroes. Discuss the history of the place and you’ll certainly be told endless tales about Sir Francis Drake’s defeat of th Spanish Armada in 1588, the fact …

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