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1961: Wasyl Gnypiuk, sleep-killer

January 27th, 2012 Meaghan

(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)

On this day in 1961, a Polish/Ukrainian immigrant with the unpronounceable name of Wasyl Gnypiuk was hanged for murder in Lincoln, England.

The 34-year-old Gnypiuk was living in a toolshed in Worksop when he murdered his 62-year-old landlady, Louise Surgey, on July 17, 1960. He had spent some time in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and suffered terrible nightmares as the result of his ordeal. The night of the murder, he broke into Surgey’s house while she was sleeping, drank some of her liquor, and passed out.

Gnypiuk — so he later claimed — had a dream where he was fighting Nazis. When he woke up, Surgey lay dead at his feet: he had strangled her in his sleep.

The authorities treated his claims with understandable skepticism. He didn’t help his case by trying to hide the body and stealing some money that had been lying around the house. He had a two-day trial in November and was duly convicted and sentenced to death. Gnypiuk was the last person to be hanged in Lincolnshire before the UK abolished the death penalty in 1965.

The truth about what happened will never be known for sure, but Gnypiuk is still regularly listed among cases of homicidal sleepwalking.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,England,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,History,Milestones,Murder,Other Voices,Racial and Ethnic Minorities

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3 Responses to “1961: Wasyl Gnypiuk, sleep-killer”

  1. 1
    The sleep-killer « The Charley Project Blog Says:

    [...] new ET entry from me: Wasyl Gnypiuk, who supposedly murdered his landlady in his sleep. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  2. 2
    ExecutedToday.com » Executed Today’s Fifth Annual Report: Hang Five Says:

    [...] 9, 1900: Louisa Masset Jan. 13, 1943: Jarvis Catoe Jan. 15, 1999: Recak Massacre Jan. 27, 1961: Wasyl Gnypiuk Feb. 8, 1942: Icchok Malmed Feb. 24, 1942: Five Jews in Sokal Mar. 2, 1942: Jakub Lemberg and [...]

  3. 3
    ExecutedToday.com » 1836: Abraham Prescott, homicidal somnabulist Says:

    [...] rising up from the bed, covered in blood. He wasn’t the first person on these pages to use the sleepwalking defense, but Abraham’s wild story actually worked — that time, [...]

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