source: Yahoo! News
published: 13 August 2014
Fifty years ago today [13 August], two convicted murderers were escorted from their cells to the gallows with their arms strapped to their backs. For the last time in British history, the executioner pulled the lever and Gwynne Evans and Peter Allen dropped to their deaths shortly after 8am.
The death penalty for murder was suspended for a trial period one year after they were executed. But moves had begun towards ending capital punishment nearly a decade previously – with the case of Ruth Ellis.
Dubbed by the media as the “Peroxide Blonde Killer”, Ellis was a 28-year-old mother-of-two when she was hung at Holloway Prison in north London – despite protests, petitions and a 500-strong crowd chanting outside – on 13 July 1955.
As the last woman to be hung, the controversial circumstances surrounding Ellis’ death sentence sparked a backlash against capital punishment in the UK, bringing an end to Britain’s executions.