HI

DATE – 13/11/2019

TITLE - CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

I’ve been sat in this cell now for what feels like a lifetime. I couldn’t think of a worse place than this, it’s hell – only colder. The floor feels like ice, it’s damp and uneven, the smell of urine is overpowering, and it burns to the touch, but some may think that I deserve this.

In my short time here I’ve witnessed true horrors, many that I can’t shake from my mind. Two other cell mates that I share what I now call home with, never woke from their sleep. I don’t know whether it was the bitter cold that took them, or whether they had just given up? Waking up to death is the strangest of ironies, but some may think that I deserve this.

The guards here are ok if you have money, other than that I’d describe them as grotesque, inhumane and downright savage. You could say that they are doing their job, but instead of upholding the law, they have become the law, whilst dragging it to unimaginable depths, but some may think that I deserve this.

My days here are filled with hard labour, at times it’s back breaking, my fingers bleed daily with no way to stem the flow. The sores on my body make it uncomfortable to lay, so even at the point of exhaustion, the only option is to continue. I was bought up to believe that you will be rewarded for hard work, not here though, but some may think that I deserve this.

The noise at night is soul wrenching, the screams from those that can’t take anymore seem to chip away at you, slowly destroying what little belief you may have left. There are others here that will again see the light of day, but many here aren’t that fortunate. I know what my fate is and it’s soon to arrive, but some may think that I deserve this.

They’re early, I can hear their footsteps thundering towards my cell like a train on its tracks. I can hear the keys and chain colliding, a key represents freedom, but that haunting sound has a different meaning for me. The key is turning in the lock as my heart pounds in my chest, I’m shaking, this time it’s not from the cold, but some may think that I deserve this.

They don’t need to send this many guards, surely? I’m weak, I have no fight left. His grip on my arm is excessive, he keeps shoving me whilst laughing, he’s taunting me I know it. I can’t believe that I’m having to go through this, but some may think that I deserve this.

I look back at the Shire Hall as we leave, as much as I despised it, I really wish I was back in there now. As we make our way through the town, people stare, some even cheer. The guard’s smirk as we advance on. There are some bad people in this World I’ll agree, yet this seems too much, but some may think that I deserve this.

I can barely walk up the wooden steps, I see the rope is hanging, slowly swaying back and forth in the breeze. There must be a couple of hundred people here, they seem nervous but weirdly jovial, at my sentencing I never thought it’d come to this, but some may think that I deserve this.

And then I see her, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever set my eyes on. Till death us do part, and in my darkest hour she is here, “I love you” she mouths. She stands there surrounded yet all alone, as a tear falls from her eye, I also feel myself fall. In that moment, there were two people that knew differently to some, we knew that I didn’t deserve this.

I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have been imprisoned in the Old Shire Hall (National Justice Museum) Its devilish appearance combined with it’s haunting past certainly gets the mind racing. The above is my own account of what it may have been like. It’s dedicated to those innocent victims of Capital Punishment.

As our social stance changes over time, the consensus seems to have shifted away from this form of punishment. It’s a hard subject to address, imagine a loved one being taken away from you in the most brutal of ways, the hate and feelings of revenge that grow must be unbearable. But, now put yourself in the shoes of an innocent person, facing the death penalty due to someone else’s incompetence. You suffer, your family suffer untold torment, and no one gains anything from it, yet all is not lost.

Modern DNA techniques and science mean that false accusation and guilt are very rarely wrong. They eliminate all but a very small amount of doubt, yet if there is even a slither of that doubt present, then that’s still too much for my liking. An example of this that I’ll now share, haunts me to my core. It’s the story of a man named Timothy Evans of 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill.

The man in question was found guilty of killing his infant daughter. His wife was also killed at the same time, yet due to certain aspects of the case, he was only tried in the murder of his own daughter. In March 1950, he was put on trial and subsequently found guilty of his accused crime. His punishment – death by hanging.

Now Mr Evans wasn’t perfect, this was a man who liked a drink, witnesses said that he and his wife regularly argued which sometimes may have turned physical. Mr Evans also suffered socially, he was illiterate to a degree, needing help in reading long documents and troubled when writing.

What makes this case even more difficult is that Mr Evans confessed to the murders. This was his downfall, yet later inquiries state that the language in the statements from the defendant were far too advanced to have been written by himself. In fact, it was said that the language used would match extremely close to a serving Police Officer at that time. It’s also noted that Mr Evans was fearful of extreme violence from the Officers if they didn’t hear what they wanted to hear – this is all too distressing for me.

Unfortunately, Mr Evans had faced the trauma of losing both his wife and his 13-month-old daughter, then he faced his own death as a result. The pain and agony that he must have felt would have been something that none of us could ever imagine.

So why is this story being told? How does it relate to the experiences above?

Three years after Mr Evans was executed, a tenant that lived at the same address of the Evans family, a Mr John Reginald Halliday Christie, was found guilty of the deaths of at least 8 people. He was now a convicted serial killer. Christie went on to confess that he had killed Mr Evan’s wife, although denied killing his daughter. New evidence came to light, and after a 16-year battle by Mr Evan’s family, Mr Christie was found guilty of killing both Mr Evan’s wife, and his infant daughter. 16 years later Mr Evans was granted a posthumous pardon, and his soul could now rest.

James - Haunted Insight

Copyright © James Pykett - Haunted Insight