This century has seen the execution of 33 men and one woman at Winson Green prison in Birmingham. In addition, others who had a strong connection with England's second city were executed elsewhere and by the time we include those who perished on the ...
gallows at Warwick, Stafford and Worcester, our totals have risen to 49 men and that lone woman, Dorothea Waddington, who was hanged in 1936. It would be impossible to cover every one of these stories, in depth, in a book of this size, so I have concentrated on those who killed in Birmingham itself, or who committed their crimes in the surrounding towns and villages, but had a connection with Birmingham. Nevertheless, there are some absorbing tales to tell. The reader will discover family feuds, such as that in the first chapter of this book, where John Joyce, the first man to die at the end of a rope in Winson Green this century, killed one of the members of a family he held a grudge against. The last Birmingham execution, that of Oswald Augustus Grey, in 1962, is also told in these pages. Between these two there are the child killers such as William Quayle, the wife murderers such as Elijah Pountney, and those who killed perfect strangers, such as James Joseph Power. There is the terrible story of Henry Gaskin who was rightly compared to Jack the Ripper, and John Davis who suggested that cutting someone's throat was a good way to cure a headache! The reader should remember that in every single chapter, a man was found guilty of murder and was consequently given the exact date and time of his own death. He waited in the condemned cell, counting the days, hours and minutes until the door opened and the executioner came in to claim his life. Judge for yourself if all were guilty, and so deserving of that fate.