From Sarah Malcolm, sentenced to be executed for multiple murders in the early eighteenth century, to Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain in 1955, Women and the Noose traces the history of female crime through the cases of seventy women who met their end on the hangman’s gallows.
In this detailed account, each woman’s story is revealed: her background, criminal acts and execution. Through their tales, historian Richard Clark highlights the wide range of crimes once punishable by death, from cold-blooded murder and crimes of passion to burglary and petty theft. He also shows how, as time went on, execution methods evolved, from burning at the stake to death by hanging, and how the public came to prefer a more humane, private death over the cruel, public scenes of earlier periods.
Clark’s frank treatment of events, combined with sympathetic revelations about the women’s private lives, makes this revised and updated edition of Women and the Noose a chilling and surprisingly moving read.