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Did the Right Man Hang

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  • etenguy
    replied

    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
    I’ve just listened to episodes 5 and 6. I do find this an intriguing case. It’s well worth following. I’d assumed though that episode 6 was the final one but an episode 7 is due out early in the new year and tantalisingly a new witness surfaces! Gordy, who has doubts, reckons that the new witness convinces him that there’s truth in the story.
    Hi Herlock

    I've caught up with these episodes now and looking forward to part 7 of a 6 part series. The new witness though sounds a bit unreliable - stating one thing and then rowing back. It will be interesting to see if there is anything substantial to come.

    I was pleased to hear that Gordon Adair's operation appears now to have made a positive difference.

    Originally posted by OneRound View Post
    Hi Herlock - I've also now done my homework and caught up with all the broadcast episodes. Similar to my comments after the first two episodes, I like the production; in particular, the clear and non-sensationalist way in which Gordy Adair and Ophelia Byrne go about things.

    It's also quite tantalising that the case doesn't yet belong to long ago history but nonetheless now predates nearly all of us. Regarding the latter, I do question whether too much is being built upon rumour and second hand conversations over the years. Just because a modern theory as to the cause of Minnie's Reid's death (a failed abortion) cannot be disproved now, it's also important to recognise that this does not prove that was originally considered to have happened is wrong. Frustrating that all the adults involved at the time have inevitably since died whilst some paper records lack clarity or detail. My natural inclination would be to attribute that last point to the standards of the day rather than presupposing any conspiracy.

    From what we have from the time and for all Gordy and Ophelia's recent efforts, I am unconvinced of there being truth in the story of Harold Courtney's innocence. As well as other incriminating factors, he had the means and the motive. I can well understand the jury's verdict and see no reason to believe they were wrong.
    Hi OneRound

    I tend to agree with you.

    Originally posted by OneRound View Post
    As for the further story of Courtney somehow escaping the noose and someone else being hanged in his place, I side with Al above in regarding that as 'ridiculous'. So much seems to stem from what some random guy in Australia said - or is alleged to have said - thirty odd years after the hanging. Steve Fielding, biographer of the Pierrepoints, was pretty dismissive of this possibility in episode 6, albeit more politely than I expected.

    Notwithstanding my views on Courtney's guilt and execution as above, I'll still happily listen to episode 7. Gordy at least deserves that.

    Best regards,
    OneRound
    There is one piece of evidence though that is suggestive that Courtney was not the man hanged. That is the discrepancy in the height of the hanged man (5'9") and Courtney's height of 6' plus. Not enough to prove anything, but seems to be the one documented piece of information that supports the possibility.

    Best wishes for 2021 - let's hope it is so much better than 2020.

    Leave a comment:


  • OneRound
    replied
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
    I’ve just listened to episodes 5 and 6. I do find this an intriguing case. It’s well worth following. I’d assumed though that episode 6 was the final one but an episode 7 is due out early in the new year and tantalisingly a new witness surfaces! Gordy, who has doubts, reckons that the new witness convinces him that there’s truth in the story.
    Hi Herlock - I've also now done my homework and caught up with all the broadcast episodes. Similar to my comments after the first two episodes, I like the production; in particular, the clear and non-sensationalist way in which Gordy Adair and Ophelia Byrne go about things.

    It's also quite tantalising that the case doesn't yet belong to long ago history but nonetheless now predates nearly all of us. Regarding the latter, I do question whether too much is being built upon rumour and second hand conversations over the years. Just because a modern theory as to the cause of Minnie's Reid's death (a failed abortion) cannot be disproved now, it's also important to recognise that this does not prove that was originally considered to have happened is wrong. Frustrating that all the adults involved at the time have inevitably since died whilst some paper records lack clarity or detail. My natural inclination would be to attribute that last point to the standards of the day rather than presupposing any conspiracy.

    From what we have from the time and for all Gordy and Ophelia's recent efforts, I am unconvinced of there being truth in the story of Harold Courtney's innocence. As well as other incriminating factors, he had the means and the motive. I can well understand the jury's verdict and see no reason to believe they were wrong.

    As for the further story of Courtney somehow escaping the noose and someone else being hanged in his place, I side with Al above in regarding that as 'ridiculous'. So much seems to stem from what some random guy in Australia said - or is alleged to have said - thirty odd years after the hanging. Steve Fielding, biographer of the Pierrepoints, was pretty dismissive of this possibility in episode 6, albeit more politely than I expected.

    Notwithstanding my views on Courtney's guilt and execution as above, I'll still happily listen to episode 7. Gordy at least deserves that.

    Best regards,
    OneRound

    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    I’ve just listened to episodes 5 and 6. I do find this an intriguing case. It’s well worth following. I’d assumed though that episode 6 was the final one but an episode 7 is due out early in the new year and tantalisingly a new witness surfaces! Gordy, who has doubts, reckons that the new witness convinces him that there’s truth in the story.

    Leave a comment:


  • etenguy
    replied
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
    Looks like episodes 5 and 6 are available to listen to. Episode 5 is only available until the 28th though. I’ll give them a listen tomorrow.
    Thanks for the reminder, forgot about this. I'll have a listen before they disappear,

    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    Looks like episodes 5 and 6 are available to listen to. Episode 5 is only available until the 28th though. I’ll give them a listen tomorrow.

    Leave a comment:


  • etenguy
    replied
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

    I'm certainly looking forward to it. Antony had heard of him but I hadn't.
    I'm not sure, the blurb was not compelling - I'm sure it will be a good book on the case but it is not promising any new insights, just restating the facts. Maybe when its published there will be more information that makes it more enticing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    Originally posted by etenguy View Post

    Thanks Herlock - limited edition and signed for 20. I think there is a limited audience, so it is probably the best way to get some return on Mark's time. Shame it's not out before Christmas - would have been a nice gift option.
    I'm certainly looking forward to it. Antony had heard of him but I hadn't.

    Leave a comment:


  • etenguy
    replied
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

    Cheers Eten.

    By the way Jonathan Menges told me that there's a new book on the Wallace case out in January. It's called Checkmate and it can be pre-ordered from Mango Books. I emailed Antony about the author Mark Russell and he told me that he is a guy that thinks Wallace was guilty. It's a bit steep at 20 though.
    Thanks Herlock - limited edition and signed for 20. I think there is a limited audience, so it is probably the best way to get some return on Mark's time. Shame it's not out before Christmas - would have been a nice gift option.

    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    Originally posted by etenguy View Post
    Episode 5 is up, but embargoed until the 12 December.
    Cheers Eten.

    By the way Jonathan Menges told me that there's a new book on the Wallace case out in January. It's called Checkmate and it can be pre-ordered from Mango Books. I emailed Antony about the author Mark Russell and he told me that he is a guy that thinks Wallace was guilty. It's a bit steep at 20 though.

    Leave a comment:


  • etenguy
    replied
    Episode 5 is up, but embargoed until the 12 December.

    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    Originally posted by etenguy View Post

    Hi Herlock

    I'm up to episode four now and agree with you, though I'm not finding it as interesting anymore - I found I was more interested in Gordon's surgery than the case. I'm hoping the last two episodes will contain some more substantial information. Drawing it out over six episodes was a mistake, I think. Unless episodes 5 and 6 are jammed pack with new information - this probably would have worked better as a one hour programme, at least for me.
    Hi Eten,

    I agree. All that we've learned so far could have been told in 30 or 40 minutes no problem. Unless someone phones in or they find something with the wow factor it might end up a disappointment. It's an interesting story; but there's not two and a half hours worth. Fingers crossed for Gordon's surgery though.

    Leave a comment:


  • etenguy
    replied
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

    Cheers OneRound

    I've just listened through to episode four. I know what you mean about substance when you're dealing with anonymous sources and unverifiable statements. I won't spoil it for anyone by mentioning the contents of the episodes but I'm more willing to consider the abortion scenario than the suggestion that someone hanged in Courtenay's place.

    They discuss the medical evidence with a Professor Jack Crane but I'm surprised that they haven't raised the issue of the glove being pushed into the throat wound. Actually it hasn't been mentioned. Why not?

    It's an interesting programme though and I'm looking forward to #5.
    Hi Herlock

    I'm up to episode four now and agree with you, though I'm not finding it as interesting anymore - I found I was more interested in Gordon's surgery than the case. I'm hoping the last two episodes will contain some more substantial information. Drawing it out over six episodes was a mistake, I think. Unless episodes 5 and 6 are jammed pack with new information - this probably would have worked better as a one hour programme, at least for me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Al Bundy's Eyes
    replied
    Originally posted by OneRound View Post

    Hi Al - certainly, going over to Ireland as part of their hangman duties was often fraught with danger of retribution from friends and associates of the condemned. I vaguely remember reading of Albert selecting a long and involved journey home after one execution there so as to ensure a safe return.

    However, the Pierrepoints took their money and took their chances. They knew the risks of providing their services in Ireland and willingly undertook them. In this case, they understood Harold Courtney was their man. They wouldn't have sought to change that or had the clout to do so.

    There would have been enormous practical problems for anyone attempting to substitute Courtney with a new fall guy. Not least getting all the others who would need to be involved to agree and keep quiet.

    Best regards,
    OneRound
    They did indeed go to extra lengths in Ireland, including carrying a gun. Any scheduled execution attracted a turnout, and the hangmen were always a viable target for the IRA.

    I agree, having read a few books on the subject, the idea of 'switching' the condemned is ridiculous. A record of height and weight, along with the drop measurements were kept, so the vagrant would also need to be the same size. Another little obstacle to contend with.

    Leave a comment:


  • OneRound
    replied
    Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

    A fair point though. The Billingtons were the first 'family' executioners, later followed by Henry, Tom and Albert Pierrepoint.

    I haven't got into this case, but with regards to the vagrant being hung as a substitute, the historical dangers facing the Pierrepoints when hanging in Ireland must be worth considering.
    Hi Al - certainly, going over to Ireland as part of their hangman duties was often fraught with danger of retribution from friends and associates of the condemned. I vaguely remember reading of Albert selecting a long and involved journey home after one execution there so as to ensure a safe return.

    However, the Pierrepoints took their money and took their chances. They knew the risks of providing their services in Ireland and willingly undertook them. In this case, they understood Harold Courtney was their man. They wouldn't have sought to change that or had the clout to do so.

    There would have been enormous practical problems for anyone attempting to substitute Courtney with a new fall guy. Not least getting all the others who would need to be involved to agree and keep quiet.

    Best regards,
    OneRound

    Leave a comment:


  • Al Bundy's Eyes
    replied
    Originally posted by OneRound View Post


    PS Probably bad taste on my part admittedly but I did smile at the dark humour in the opening episode where leading hangman Tom Pierrepoint being assisted in the execution by his nephew Albert was referred to as a ''bring your family to work day''.
    A fair point though. The Billingtons were the first 'family' executioners, later followed by Henry, Tom and Albert Pierrepoint.

    I haven't got into this case, but with regards to the vagrant being hung as a substitute, the historical dangers facing the Pierrepoints when hanging in Ireland must be worth considering.

    Leave a comment:

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