Tomorrow marks the 130th anniversary of the execution of Myles Joyce, wrongly convicted of murder in 1882. The full details of the background to the story can be found here: Maamtrasna Murders and The Execution of An Innocent Man – commemorative event in Galway on Saturday December 15th. |
The campaign to have this man's conviction overturned and declared a miscarriage of justice is being championed and led by Lords Avebury and Alton. David Patrick (Lord) Alton, a former Liberal MP and a life peer since 1997, is the son of a native Irish-speaking mother.
Myles Joyce was hung at the Galway Gaol, now the site of Galway Cathedral, on the 15 December 1882. A Freeman's Journal report by Edward 'Doc' Byrne, dated the following day, recorded: 'The triple execution in Galway yesterday was attended by circumstances especially harrowing. One of the doomed men protested his innocence to the last moment. He was the oldest of the three, and the impression prevails that his innocence was formally affirmed by a number of the men sentenced for the awful crime in Maamtrasna. At all events, he died with a declaration of innocence upon his lips. It has so happened that this man, Myles Joyce, met a crueller death than either of the other two executed. In the vehemnece of his protestation on the scaffold he seems to have disarranged the awful preparations made by Marwood who was obliged to strangle him by personal force in default of the ordinary vertebral dislocation.
William Marwood, the official hangman to the British government, is credited with developing the 'long drop' form of execution by hanging in which the condemned person is rendered dead, or at least unconscious, by the breaking of the neck after freefall is arrested by the rope.