A description of a hanging:
At around 7.50, Ken and I watch as the governor, lord lieutenant of the city and other officials file into the block. At three minutes to eight, Allen nudges his assistant. “Right, it’s us,” he says. He leaves a freshly lit cigarette in an ashtray and the two men tiptoe away.
For barely a second he stands on the trapdoors, bound, blindfolded, isolated. Inside the silent darkness of the hood, Pascoe knows it is about to happen. As the prison clock strikes its fifth chime, Allen pulls the lever. Without a sound Pascoe plummets 5ft and dies instantly as his neck is broken and the nerves from his spinal column to his brain are severed by the weight of his body. He is already dead as the prison clock strikes the three remaining chimes. From leaving the cell to dropping through the doors, 14 seconds have passed.
The hangmen return to the officers’ mess. The cigarette in the ashtray still burns. Allen picks it up, takes an appreciative draw. “Any tea on the go?” he asks, rubbing his hands.
“Was he any bother?” I ask.
“Nah, good as gold, Jock.”