Tyne & Wear

Hangman Albert Pierrepoint's belongings sell at auction for £20,000

Page of Pierrepoint diary Image copyright Boldon Auction
Image caption The meticulous notes mention Derek Bentley, who was wrongly hanged for murder

A notebook and other items belonging to Britain's most famous hangman have sold at auction for £20,000.

Albert Pierrepoint, from Clayton, near Bradford, executed about 600 people during a 25-year career that ended in 1956.

The sale at Boldon Auction Galleries in South Tyneside also included a plaster cast of his face and hands, and a silver watch chain he wore at work.

The notebook and items were sold to an "eclectic" private collector.

Mr Pierrepoint, who followed his father's footsteps as a hangman, executed a number of high-profile prisoners.

These included Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, and Derek Bentley, who was wrongly hanged for murdering a policeman in 1952 and later received a posthumous pardon.

'Quite extraordinary'

The part-time landlord, who ran a pub in Oldham called Help The Poor Struggler, also hanged both the notorious Rillington Place serial killer John Christie and Timothy Evans, the man originally convicted for some of Christie's crimes.

Mr Pierrepoint also executed William Joyce, who was known as Lord Haw-Haw and was convicted of high treason after spreading Nazi propaganda in Britain during World War Two.

He travelled to Germany after the war, where in one day he executed 13 men and women for crimes committed at Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz.

Image caption The collection included a plaster cast of Albert Pierrepoint's face and hands

His leather-bound execution ledger includes personal details of those hanged including the prisoner's name, age, height, weight and drop, and site of execution.

He once said of his profession: "The person has to die.

"You've got to treat them with as much respect and dignity as you can."

Auctioneer and valuer Giles Hodges described it as an "unusual sale of quite extraordinary items, but that's what history is all about".

He said it was part of a "niche market" and sold to "a collector of very interesting things across the board, an eclectic collector, as it were".

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