Monday, 13 May 2013

Hanged At Dawn

The Death Penalty was a sentence not reserved solely for citizens, it applied equally to members of the Armed Forces.  One man who suffered the ultimate penalty in khaki was Tom Houghton, whom emanated from the East of Hull.  He completed his National Service, serving in the RASC - Royal Army Service Corps.  He enjoyed his time in the Army, and decided to sign on full time.  He was posted to Suez, in Egypt, and it was on the military base he was stationed at, that he became consumed with a beautiful young woman named Iro Hadjifoti  Houghton was so besotted with her that he later claimed that not only was she his girlfriend, but she had also agreed to marry him.

    Houghton took to continuously pestering Iro, so much that she went to an officer, Captain Mason, to complain.  Mason spoke to Houghton, ordering him to back off and leave her be.  This however, did not deter Houghton, who in his delusions, decided that the real reason that Mason warned him off was because he wanted her for himself!  Matters came to a head when a party was held for somebodys` birthday.  Soldiers, wives, girlfriends, families, were all having a great time.  But Houghton, who was not at the party, and had been drinking elsewhere, through a window, saw Mason dancing with his beloved Iro.  Houghton made an instant decision;  Mason was to pay!  He went away and then returned clutching a Sten Gun, a machine gun that was devastating at close range.

    He walked into the hall, walked up to Captain Mason, and cut him down with a hail of gunfire.  He was jumped on from all sides and disarmed.  He was arrested and held in a British military Prison at Fanara.  His trial was a mere formality, though his defence cited mitigating circumstances over his obsession with Iro, who became known as "The woman in blue".  The sentence of the Military Court as the same as a civilian court: Death.  His appeal was handed to two very high ranking Military Officers, who oversaw the Armed Forces in that region of the world.  Both saw no reason to change the sentence.  Houghtons` mother was flown out from Hull to see him before his execution.  Houghton was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint on June 24th 1952.