John Lee of Babbacombe


John Lee of Babbacombe, Devon, cheated the hangman’s noose three times in 1885. Sentenced to death for the murder of his employer, Lee survived because on each occasion the trap-door on the gallows failed to open, even though the mechanism was tested before and after and found to be in perfect working order. The authorities knew when they were beaten and Lee’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.