Capital Punishment


Hanging 1st introduced


11 capital crimes defined


During the reign of Henry VIII, there were 11 capital crimes defined: high treason, petty treason, murder, rape, piracy, arson of a dwelling house or barn with corn in it, highway robbery, stealing the goods of one's master, horse theft, robbing churches and robbing a person in a dwelling house.

The "Triple Tree" introduced


The "Triple Tree" introduced as a permanent gallows at Tyburn - for the execution of John Storey who was hanged, drawn and quartered.

The "Bloody Assizes". 320 people executed.


The "Bloody Assizes" began on the 26th August in the aftermath of the Monmouth Rebellion. 320 people were executed as a result; the men mainly hanged, drawn and quartered.

First person to be hanged and dissected.


17 year old murderer, Thomas Woolford, became the first person to be hanged and then dissected.

Various bills introduced to reduce the number of capital crimes.

1832 - 1837

Sir Robert Peel's government introduced various bills to reduce the number of capital crimes.

The first use of fingerprint evidence in a murder trial.


The Children and Young Persons Act prohibits the death sentence for persons under 18 at the time of the crime.


Last passing of the death sentence in England.


Death penalty abolished in the UK.

27 January 1999

The Home Secretary formally signed the 6th Protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights, on behalf of the British Government formally abolishing the death penalty in the UK.