Last Public Hangings…

Roger Bussey


In 1864 the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment, brought in an act, which would see an end to public hangings, with the last ones taking place in 1868.

On Thursday 2nd April 1868, 25 year-old Frances Fiddler was the last woman to be hung in a public execution, which took place in front of Maidstone Prison.

Her crime which carried the death sentence was that she willfully murdered Louisa Kiddler-Staples her 12 year-old step-daughter by drowning her in a foot of water, by holding the child’s head under.

Public Hanging Public Hanging

Fiddler died a hard death, according to reports, as she struggled some two to three minutes before her body went limp.  A sight witnessed by the 2,000 people who had attended her hanging, watching her life being extinguished.

On Tuesday 26th May 1868 Michael Barrett was the last man to be hanged by Public Execution on English soil.

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