Timothy Spall as Albert Pierrepoint preparing the noose for Ruth Ellis, played by Mary Stockley "I do not now believe that any one of the hundreds of executions I carried out has in any way acted as a deterrent against future murder. Capital punishment, in my view, achieved nothing except revenge. Between and , he executed more than men and women, among them Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, Derek Bentley, Lord Haw-Haw the wartime traitor William Joyce and John George Haigh, the acid bath murderer. He put to death Timothy Evans, wrongly convicted of murdering his daughter, and subsequently John Christie, the real killer.
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Jan 06, Kayla Painter rated it liked it This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was a little disappointed by the writing , and otherwise I think it is probably a very good account of his life.
The book is more about his life generally, then his execution work. He writes about one incident that took place before a hanging in the entire book. The book ends with him saying he resigned but not why, which is fair enough - but frustrating to read. From reading this book I do still feel he was an extraordinary man and one society was incredibly lucky to have, and in that sense it is worth reading.
Absolutely enthralling and fascinating as well. Nov 05, Kas rated it it was amazing Insightful book by a man who seemed to quiet Jan 20, Catherine Draper rated it it was amazing A very insightful and interesting read but not for those who are squeamish! Feb 20, Derek Collett rated it liked it This is a curious but by no means uninteresting book. Nobody would succeed in getting a book like this commercially published nowadays a very different style and structure would be required and this shows how the industry has changed in the 40 years or so since it was first published.
By and large, this is a chronological account This is a curious but by no means uninteresting book. In parts, the period detail is both fascinating and highly revealing. The middle section of the book was the most interesting to me, although one has to point out that it is understandably pretty grim in places given the subject matter. Pierrepoint dispenses some fascinating facts. Eight foot two inches, should anyone be interested. Sometimes Pierrepoint gets rather too bogged down with the technicalities of his profession, some of which would surely only have been of interest to fellow hangmen.
His book is quite repetitive and would certainly have benefitted from some editing. I also found it strange that he says nothing whatsoever of his life and career after he stood down as a hangman in , especially given the fact that he does include an account of his childhood at the beginning. However, the book can certainly be recommended for its unusualness, its valuable insight into a relatively unknown profession and the light it shines on a barbaric period in British history.
Pierrepoint constructs a powerful case against the death penalty: "Capital punishment, in my view, achieved nothing except revenge". He was also partically caustic about the American method of hanging which he stated led to a slow stragulation rather than a clean break.
The secret executioner
Jan 06, Kayla Painter rated it liked it This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was a little disappointed by the writing , and otherwise I think it is probably a very good account of his life. The book is more about his life generally, then his execution work.
By he had learned to drive a car and a lorry to make his deliveries; he later became manager of the business. He was turned down as there were no vacancies, but received an invitation for interview six months later. He was accepted and spent four days training at Pentonville Prison , London, where a dummy was used for practice. He received his formal acceptance letter as an assistant executioner at the end of September
Executioner: Pierrepoint. Albert Pierrepoint