A guillotine consists of a heavy blade attached to a rack, which moves on a vertical frame. When the rack is released, it will fall down and the blade will cut the convict's head off. Such devices were first invented in the Middle Ages, and used throughout Europe. But it was only during the French Revolution when guillotine rose to general usage.
I find it cruel and too expansive to use lethal injection, or electrocution
humane form of execution
I get that, Izzy.
But laws are made to be changed...and a law such as you mentioned here probably needs lots of changing. I certainly hope nobody ends up being prosecuted over there for helping with the chemicals.
On that we differ. I hope the exact opposite. It is illegal to provide chemicals that allow a state to carry out an act that is illegal throughout the EU.
You're just a bit sanguine because it's America. How would you feel if it was Iran?
You have to draw the line somewhere.
Liam Holden was 19 years old when he became the last person in the United Kingdom to be sentenced to hang. After deliberating for just 90 minutes, at the end of a murder trial that had lasted four days, the jury returned a guilty verdict and the judge told him: "You will suffer death in the manner authorised by law."
Holden was led down the steps from the dock at Belfast's City Commission, handcuffed to a prison officer, and escorted along the underground tunnel that led to Crumlin Road jail on the opposite side of the road. There he was taken straight to C wing – to the condemned man's cell.
This was larger than most cells, and airy. Holden was permitted a black and white television and two bottles of beer a day: luxuries no other prisoner was granted. He shared the cell with two-man teams of prison officers who watched him around the clock. One officer – a Roman Catholic, like Holden – delighted in telling him that it wouldn't be long before they broke his neck.
In the event, Holden's neck wasn't broken. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and shortly afterwards capital punishment was abolished in Northern Ireland, bringing it into line with the rest of the UK. It was 1973, the Troubles were at their savage worst, and hanging a man, Willie Whitelaw, the Northern Ireland secretary, later explained, "would only succeed in promoting the mayhem and killings".
But Holden did spend the next 17 years behind bars.
Now, almost four decades later, his murder conviction has been quashed by the court of appeal in Belfast, and exposed as a miscarriage of justice: one that would have been allowed to stand, had the hangman done his work.