With the recent tragic killing of two women police officers in Manchester, the call to bring back capital punishment is again on many people’s lips.
I don’t believe the ultimate punishment was ever a deterrent though. People fall off horses but they keep riding, people get ill from alcohol but still drink to excess.
The executioner Albert Pierrepoint, who is said to have hanged 435 people, said in his memoirs that hanging was never a deterrent.
Then again, surely it is not meant to be. Losing a life was the ultimate punishment for taking another’s.
At one time, the murder of a police officer meant execution, period. But that was done away with in 1969 when the abolition of the death penalty became law.
Believe it or not the Beatles were top of the hit parade with A Hard Day’s Night and Freddie Trueman took his 500th Test wicket in the year the last two men were executed in England – 1964.
They had tied up and murdered a laundryman by knifing him, but they both hanged at 8am at different prisons, Strangeways and Winson Green.
The last man to be sentenced to death was a David Chapman, who was supposed to hang in November 1965. He was reprieved and died in a car crash in 1979.
One of the last murderers sentenced to hang died in Kingston Prison, Portsmouth in 1981 aged 71.
Christopher Simcox shot his second wife with an airgun in 1964 and she ran away and lived with relatives. Simcox found out where she lived and went to the house where he shot his wife’s sister dead.
He then chased his wife to her brother’s house where he shot them both, but they survived. He shot himself twice and also survived.
Sentenced to hang, he escaped the rope as he was deemed to be too unwell.
Sentenced to life imprisonment, he died in Portsmouth 17 years later.
The death penalty cannot be brought back anyway because we are now part of the European Union. The European Convention of Human Rights is binding in the UK and restoration of the death penalty cannot happen unless we leave the Convention.