Crime Files Network

www.crimefiles.net/info.

Archive for the ‘DEATHS IN CUSTODY’ Category

MORE OF THE MOST BRUTAL FORMS

OF EXECUTIONS OVER CENTURIES

1. Pendulum slicer

The pendulum was an instrument in torture and death via capital punishment used by the Spanish Inquisition. Although designed to cause maximum pain before death, the pendulum was also used to induce psychological fear into the victim, thereby extracting confessions quickly. The victim was first fastened to a wooden bench with ropes so that it was impossible for him to move. Above the victim was a crescent-shaped blade which would begin swinging to and from. Gradually the bar to which the blade was attached would be lowered bringing it closer and closer to the victim’s torso. It would usually be at this point that the victim would confess. If no confession was made, the blade would continue to lower until it began cutting through the victim’s torso. Eventually, the victim would be cleaved in two.

2. Immurement

Immurement is a form of capital punishment where a person is walled up within a building and left to die from starvation or dehydration. This is distinct from being buried alive, in which the victim typically dies of asphyxiation. The folklore of many Southeastern European communities refers to immurement as the mode of death for the victim sacrificed during the completion of a construction project, such as a bridge or fortress. Many Bulgarian and Romanian folk songs describe a bride offered for such purposes, and her subsequent pleas to the builders to leave her hands and breasts free, that she might still nurse her child. Later versions of the songs revise the bride’s death; her fate to languish, entombed in the stones of the construction, is transmuted to her nonphysical shadow, and its loss yet leads to her pining away and eventual death.

3. Lapidation


Lapidation, is a form of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until the person dies. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject. This is in contrast to the case of a judicial executioner. It is slower than other forms of execution, and hence is a form of execution by torture.

4. Back Breaking

A form of capital punishment was merely to break the back of the criminal and leave him to die of thirst. It was a Mongolian method of execution that avoided the spilling of blood on the ground.

5. Iron Maiden

An Iron Maiden is an iron cabinet constructed to kill or torture the condemned. The iron cabinet was built with sharp objects like spikes, knives or nails inside of it. An individual was placed inside standing and the doors of the cabinet were closed repeatedly forcing bleeding and punctures until death due to blood loss or lack of oxygen should lungs be punctured. This form of capital punishment was used throughout the 18th Century in England

6. Execution by Elephant

Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The animals were trained and versatile, both able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly over a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were used to signify both the ruler’s absolute power and his ability to control wild animals. The sight of elephants executing captives attracted the interest of usually horrified European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by Western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.

7. Damnatio ad bestias

Damnatio ad bestias was a form of capital punishment in which the condemned were maimed on the circus arena or thrown to a cage with animals, usually lions. It was brought to ancient Rome around the 2nd century BC from Asia, where a similar penalty existed from at least the 6th century BC. In Rome, damnatio ad bestias was used as entertainment and was part of the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre. In the 1st–3rd centuries AD, this penalty was mainly applied to the worst criminals and early Christians (Latin: christianos ad leones, “Christians to the lions”). It was abolished in 681 AD.

8. Sawing

Sawing was a method of execution used in Europe under the Roman Empire, in the Middle East, and in parts of Asia. The condemned were hung upside-down and sawn apart vertically through the middle, starting at the groin. Since the the body was inverted, the brain received a continuous supply of blood despite severe bleeding, consciousness thereby continuing until, or after, the saw severed the major blood vessels of the abdomen. The movement of the saw caused a body to sway back and forth making the process difficult for the executioners. The Chinese overcame this problem by securing the victim in an upright position between two boards firmly fixed between stakes driven deep into the ground. Two executioners, one at each end of the saw, would saw downwards through the stabilized boards and enclosed victim.

Not guilty pleas in Mr Ward

prison van death

May 30, 2011 – 12:19PM

Two security-firm employees have pleaded not guilty to failing to prevent the heat-stroke death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van in the Goldfields.

Mr Ward, 46, who cannot be fully named for cultural reasons, died in the back of the un-air-conditioned van while being transferred from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in January 2008 to face a drink-driving charge.

The two van drivers, Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, were charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act with failing to take reasonable care to avoid affecting the safety or health of a person in custody.

In the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court today, both pleaded not guilty and their cases were adjourned until August 29.

The maximum penalty if they are found guilty of the charges is a $20,000 fine.

The private security contractor G4S, which employed the pair, has previously pleaded guilty under the OHS Act to failing to ensure the health and safety of Mr Ward.

The company is waiting to be sentenced and faces a maximum penalty of $400,000.

WA’s Department of Corrective Services, which had control of the van, has also pleaded guilty of failing to ensure non-employees were not exposed to hazards and also faces a maximum $400,000 fine.

The department has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the incident, including flying people from remote regions to court and taking delivery of 40 improved prisoner transport vehicles.

An inquest completed in May 2009 by WA Coroner Alastair Hope concluded that all parties involved contributed to Mr Ward’s death.

But in June 2010, WA’s director of public prosecutions ruled out criminal charges, finding a prima facie case did not exist.

The following month, WorkSafe WA decided to investigate to determine whether the OHS Act had been breached and subsequently laid charges.

In July 2010, Mr Ward’s widow and her four children received $3.2 million in an ex-gratia payment from the state government.

G4S has not had its contract to provide a prisoner transport service renewed by the government.

AAP  

Subscribe to Crime Files Network