#BEDM: The Man They Couldn't Hang

When asked to do a post on local history by #BlogEveryDayMay I was initially stumped. Luckily for me my parents are very into local history and I have often been lulled into a semi-conscious state by their findings. So you luck lucky readers will now be educated about... 

The Man They Couldn't Hang

Twas a dark, dank evening in Torbaydos (Torbay for non-locals) in 1884. A local woman, Ms Emma Keyse had just been brutally murdered in her house very very near to this stunner of a location. 

Who dunnit?! Well no one was really sure but seeing as Mr John Lee was the only male in the house at the time it must have been him right? "You will hang!" said the judge, even though John was adamant he was innocent. "The reason I am so calm is that I trust in the Lord and he knows I am innocent" said he to the judge.

John was carted off to Exeter prison for his execution in 1885. The executioner tested the hanging equipment. All A-OK there so they got John ready for his death. The executioner would pull a bolt from the trap door which would free the door to swing down. So there he was stood, with the noose around his neck. The executioner pulled the bolt from the door.... nothing. There was John stood on the trapdoor and it wouldn't budge. 3 times, the trap door didn't open and John was saved.

John was sent back to his cell amidst a huge bewilderment. His execution was postponed and eventually reduced to a life sentence, after 22 years John was released. What happened to him after this is a mystery, some say he moved abroad (there are claims his grave is in the USA), some say he moved to London where he survived the War, others say he died in Tavistock not too far from the hallowed land of Torbaydos. Whatever the outcome, he sure was one lucky guy. 
 So there we have it, a tale from down south. Leave me your local history #BEDM links!

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  1. oooo that's a little eerie! So do you think he did it? I wonder if any historians looked into other possible murders...a great local story to share! thanks! xxx

  2. My word he was a lucky chap! Loved hearing that little tale.

  3. Wow that is a very interesting local tale! I am always intrigued when no one knows what has happened to them in the end...


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