Charlie Seiga Weekly BLOG 14 ‘1964. WALTON PRISON… MY BRIEF ENCOUNTER WITH THE LAST MAN EXECUTED THERE’
9th August 2014
There have been many rumours and stories over the years and much said in the press about the last man to be hanged in Britain; but what you are about to read here is absolutely true…
I was a young man of twenty three years old serving a sentence in Walton Prison in 1964.
Capital Punishment was still in force at that time and I met two men (murderers) who were sentenced to death by hanging at Walton Prison Liverpool.
The first man was called Joseph Masters who was in the condemned cell awaiting execution, he had an appeal going on at the time and was hoping to be reprieved by the Home Office.
Once a prisoner’s appeal has been granted by the Home Office, (no matter what time of day or night) he is immediately taken from the condemned cell and down to the reception; which is where I worked in the prison at that time. There he would change his clothes and then be put in another cell on one of the ordinary wings. Here he would serve a life sentence instead of hanging.
Joseph Masters did get reprieved; it was mid-night when the notification came through and another prisoner and I were woken up and taken down to reception to process him and give him his change of clothes. I said to Masters at the time, ‘God I bet you’re made up that you’re not going to be hanged.’ I remember him yawning and stretching in reception and complaining at the disallowance of his cigarettes. Here was a man; who had just been saved from the death penalty and all he could do was moan on about losing the little luxuries he had been allowed in the condemned cell. I just don’t understand what makes a man like him tick…to me the man was a right head case. In the end I had no sympathy for him; after all he had killed an elderly man over something petty.
A short time later; infact it was only about two or three months later another prisoner came in who had also been convicted of murder. Again I was working on reception at the prison and was ordered to carry his food to him at meal times.
He was called Peter Anthony Allen. I vividly remember walking in complete silence, flanked by two screws, as I carried a tray of food to Allen’s cell. Allen’s court case was on going at the time so he hadn’t been sentenced to death yet.
Once a prisoner has been found guilty by a judge and jury and sentenced to death he is immediately taken to the ‘condemned cell’ and no one can get near him then.
One of the guards unlocked Allen’s cell door and I walked in with his meal. I remember that last conversation I had with him. I said to him, ‘You won’t hang, they are about to abolish it. These were my last words to him. He was hanged shortly after so I never saw him again.
The only time any of us saw Allen was when he was walking around the exercise yard. He looked a solemn figure, alone except for the prison guards who had escorted him there. The prison exercise yard was a large walled quadrangle which was surrounded on four sides by the prison building. This housed at least half of the prisoner population. Therefore, the prisoners who, like myself, had a cell window overlooking the yard were able to see him as he took his exercise. It was strange watching him and knowing that soon he would be going to his death.
When occasionally, some of our mates in there would get very depressed about serving their time, all we would have to do to console them was remind them of how it could be so much worse… they could be as unfortunate as Allen who was going to be hanged very soon.
A week before the hanging there was a meeting between some of the prisoners; the talk amongst us was of crashing Allen out of his cell so he could escape. I was asked for my opinion by one of the top villains, Jimmy London; who was a mate of mine at the time. I said to him and the other prisoners gathered there that it was a waste of time for him to escape as he wouldn’t make it to the outside. Crash him out of his cell by all means but then I would give him a blade, that way he could take his own life. He could end it quickly if he cut his jugular; it would be over in minutes.
In my opinion I think hanging is degrading; at least if he took his own life he would die with a bit of dignity. It was a crazy pointless idea we had, and one that never got off the ground. Just before the hanging took place the prison went from being deathly silent to a loud uproar of screaming and banging from the convicts who were all locked in their cells.
Shortly after, Allen was hanged. It was 8am and he was the last man to be executed in Walton Jail; and in Britain.’
About an hour after the execution all of our cells were unlocked and a pal of mine, who was the cleaner on our prison wing, told me and a few other friends that he had been given the task of cleaning out the condemned cell. He went on to say that the cell was in a terrible mess; there had been blood stains on the walls and some of the furniture in there was broken. Later, one of the prison screws told us that Allen had put up a terrible fight, but obviously to no avail as there was always a gang of screws on hand as back-up who would assisted the hangman in restraining the prisoner.
PS: I did find out later that the murder he committed with another guy was on somebody defenceless; a vulnerable old man and the way I look at it…fuck him he deserved what he got. I hate lowlife scum!
When the truth began to emerge at Allen’s trial I and quite a few of my friends lost a lot of sympathy for him. Firstly, in court he and his co-accused; a fella called Evans who was hanged in Manchester at the same time as Allen, blamed each other for the murder.
In my opinion they turned out to be two rats, as the man whom they murdered was, in comparison to them, a defenceless and vulnerable old man. So the way we looked at it; they deserved what they got!
I was inspired to write this blog after reading a piece in the Liverpool Echo on Tuesday of this week by Paddy Shennan. The article was about the hanging of Peter Anthony Allen, the last man to be hanged in Walton Jail, Liverpool. He was reporting on a story by Liverpool City Council’s Historian, Steve Bins. There were inaccuracies in his report, but then, how would this man know the details of Allen’s hanging… he wasn’t there. I was!
This story and more are to be found in my internationally bestselling autobiography ‘KILLER’.
Visit my website at: www.truelifecrimebooks.com
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