Joseph Philip Le Brun - The last public
hanging in the
On the 29th of May 1868, the Capital
Punishment (Amendment) Act came into force ending public hanging in
A very large number of people wanted to see
the hanging and
Marwood spent the night in a room above the condemned cell. He had brought with him the rope, a leather waist band, shoulder and leg straps. A large crowd had assembled to watch the execution.
At 7.30 am. Le Brun was given a glass of rum. The pinioning took place at 7.45 and at 7.55 he was led from his cell into the yard, escorted by Mr. Beaumont, a Plymouth Brethren minister and another man and preceded by the Rev. Lamprière, the chaplain. He was wearing the same blue suit he had worn at his trial. At the bottom of the steps the Deputy Viscount read Le Brun his death warrant to which he replied he was innocent. He then ascended the steps. The crowd fell silent, only the voice of the chaplain being heard. Marwood positioned Le Brun on the trapdoors and applied the hood and noose. Le Brun spoke to Mr. Beaumont, saying “God grant that you may be the means of saving many souls.” His last words were “Lord Jesus save my soul.” Marwood drew the bolt and Le Brun died in a few moments, after a brief convulsive struggle. After the drop had fallen there was an extraordinary outburst from Mr. Beaumont, who threw up his hands and shouted “Innocent. Innocent blood, Innocent blood. This is nothing less than murder, but thank God he (Le Brun) has put his trust in Christ and is a saved man. He is innocent and God will clear it up.”
The body was left hanging for the usual hour before being taken down and buried in the prison yard.
Le Brun normally dined
with his sister and her husband Philip but did not live with them. He ate with them on the evening of the 15th
of December 1874 and afterwards Philip Laurent left to go to St. Hellier. It is not
clear why Le Brun then shot his sister, Nancy, who
was found dead on the sofa. He also
fired at her husband Philip when he returned to their home in St. Lawrence after
a trip to St. Hellier, causing serious facial injuries. Philip did not see
Le Brun was tried
on the 7th of July 1875 and continued to deny the crime, however 23 out of the
24 jurors found him guilty. The
prosecution suggested that he might have killed his sister for the £25 in the
house, which had gone missing after the shootings. The defense
countered this, telling the court that
Le Brun wrote to the Home Secretary, Robert Lowe, protesting his innocence and asking for a reprieve, but this was not forthcoming.
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