On this date in 1963, the executioner paid his last call to Scotland with the hanging of Henry John Burnett for the murder of a rival-in-love seaman.
The type whom parents hope their daughter never dates, Burnett liked to keep his squeeze Margaret May Guyan under lock and key to keep her stepping out on him.
It’s an old, old tale. Boy meets girl, boy makes girl his prisoner, girl gets creeped out and returns to estranged hubby Thomas Guyan at 14 Jackson Terrace in Aberdeen, boy blasts Guyan in the face with a shotgun. How many times have we heard it told?
Even though the noose was on its way out — this is not only the last execution in Scotland, but the only hanging in Aberdeen in the past century and a half — there wasn’t much pussyfooting around when they’d made up their mind to use it: Burnett outlived his victim by only eleven weeks — notwithstanding an insanity plea and clemency petitions from both his own and the victim’s families — before hanging at Craiginches Prison, a facility that surely ought to be somebody’s porn name.
It’s got pride of place in a book about Aberdeen crime history, Blood and Granite. Because you can find anything on YouTube, there’s also this fine teaser for a forthcoming animation project of some kind:
Part of the Themed Set: At the End of the Rope.