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Judicial CP - 1867

Corpun file 5735


The Times, London, 18 January 1867

Flogging garotters in Leeds Gaol

Yesterday afternoon two men who had been convicted at the Leeds gaol delivery of garotte robberies, and sentenced by Mr. Justice Lush to receive two dozen strokes of the cat-o'-nine-tails each, in addition to penal servitude, underwent the flogging in the central hall of the gaol.

The delinquent first fastened to the triangle was Thomas Beaumont, aged 47, who had been sentenced to five years' penal servitude for garotting and robbing Abraham Dickenson, at Batley, near Dewsbury. The "cat" was a new one, which bore at the end of the handle the seal of the Home-office. The length of the lashes was nearly a yard, and at the extremity of each one were three hard knots.

The prisoner was fastened to the triangle by straps at his ankles, knees, and hands, and a leather band was placed round the neck to prevent the lash hitting the victim in that part of the body. The "operators" upon the occasion were two warders of the goal, who administered in each instance a dozen strokes in succession.

Beaumont received the first stroke in silence, but the second extorted from him an exclamation of pain, and at the third he cried aloud "Oh dear me." At the fifth cut he writhed a good deal, and at the tenth showed that he was undergoing intense agony. After the twelfth stroke, and while the "cat" was being transferred to the hands of a more rapid executioner, the naked back was seen to present plain marks of the severity of the castigation. The blows given by the new whipper fell more rapidly than those which had preceded, and the whole of Beaumont's punishment was completed in about a minute and a half. He was then released from the triangle and taken back to his cell in an exhausted state. The laceration of the flesh was obvious enough, and the "weals" might easily have been counted.

The man next brought out for corporal punishment was a low set but muscular young man named Michael Guirtay, who had been sentenced to penal servitude for ten years for a garotte robbery at Bradford. He was out on an ticket-of-leave when he committed this offence, having all his life been in prison. At his trial the Judge said he had been committed no less than 15 times, and his last sentence was five years' penal servitude.

The first descent of the whip made him cry "Oh," in a piteous tone, and at the second he cried out "Oh dear," after the fourth he begged and was supplied with a drink of water; and at the ninth he resisted so strongly, though without the least avail, that the framework to which he was bound was moved slightly from its original stand point. As the blows followed each other in quick succession his cries of suffering were louder and more frequent. It was in vain that he asked for mercy, or, in a dreadful paroxysm of pain, promised that he would "never do so again." A cessation of his howling showed that the flogging had been duly inflicted "according to law," and he was taken away apparently in a stronger state than the wretched man who had preceded him. His back was more cut up than that of Beaumont had been, and, though no blood followed the strokes in either case, there were sufficient evidences in both of the severity of the chastisement.

The surgeon of the gaol (Mr. W.N. Price), and Mr. Keene, the governor, superintended the castigation. Eight or nine of the 369 inmates of the gaol, who had been refractory, were purposely made spectators of what passed, with a view to deterring them from lawless acts, for which the visiting justices have power to order the use of the whip.

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