As some of you who pay attention to the emails may have seen, I missed a death last week!!! Yup, great start to the year from me! Just to officially state, Chrissy did get the first death of the year for Qaboos bin Said Al Said, 79, Omani royal, Sultan (since 1970) who died of colon cancer. And a massive 221 points too as she had him listed as her Cert and an extra 50 points for getting the first death of the year!!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Stan Kirsch, 51, American actor (Highlander: The Series), suicide by hanging.
- Norma Michaels, 95, American actress (The King of Queens, Mind of Mencia, Easy A).
- Rocky Johnson, 75, Canadian Hall of Fame professional wrestler (WWF, Big Time Wrestling, CWF) and trainer, pulmonary embolism.
- Christopher Tolkien, 95, British academic and editor (The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth).
- Derek Fowlds, 82, British actor (Yes Minister, Heartbeat, East of Sudan), heart failure from sepsis.
In Other News
Let’s begin the news section with an award ceremony! Yes, for the first time in Dead Pool history I’ve managed to motivate myself enough to actually go out and get a trophy made. This of course would not have been possible without the kind donations that many of you have provided. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a similar trophy made each year from now on, so there is actually something to play for!!
Without further ado, let’s congratulate Paul C on his amazing win! He’s officially The Angel of Death 2019!!! Paul has been a stalwart of the Pool for many years and has consistently been at the top end of the league table, so it’s only fitting he be the first recipient of a Dead Pool Trophy. I know he’s very pleased with his trophy and I would like to thank him and Liz C for providing a photo for us.
Now you know the amazingness that you are playing for, I’ll have to reiterate that you are not allowed to skew the results of the Dead Pool by killing the people on your list. Luckily there’s no provision here for a blubbering speech, so we’ll just assume Paul would like to thank his parents, his wife and all the dead people, whilst crying and thanking the audience. Well done Paul, Angel of Death 2019!
The world’s shortest man has died at the age of 27. Khagendra Thapa Magar, from Nepal, measured 67.08cm (2ft 2.41in) and weighed just 6kg and was recognised as the world’s shortest man who could walk by Guinness World Records. Magar had been suffering from heart problems, asthma and pneumonia. He was admitted to hospital in Nepal on Thursday and died on Friday. Sadly, not famous enough to be listed, but he’s worthy of a small footnote. The Guinness World Records recognises two categories for people of short stature: mobile and non-mobile. Magar’s height made him the shortest mobile man on the planet, at 7cm taller than Philipino Junrey Balawing, who measures 59.93cm (1ft 11.5in) and who is unable to walk or stand unaided due to the medical condition osteogenesis imperfecta. Magar was born in the Baglung district of Nepal on 14th October 1992, and was confirmed to be the shortest male teenager in early 2010. He was officially measured at Fewa City Hospital on his 18th birthday in 2010, when he became the world’s shortest mobile man. His father remembered: “He was so tiny when he was born that he could fit in the palm of your hand, and it was very hard to bathe him because he was so small.” As Magar became famous he was appointed as a Nepalese goodwill ambassador for tourism. The record for world’s shortest living mobile man has reverted back to Edward Hernandez, who measures 70.21cm (2ft 3.46in).
The husband of TV’s Dame Barbara Windsor today reveals his heartache at her decline – and the treasured moments which keep them going. Devoted Scott Mitchell tells the us that the actress’s Alzheimer’s has worsened to the point where she doesn’t recognise her own home. Scott says Barbara, 82, forgets who he is, regularly asks for her long-departed mum Rose and at times thinks she is living in her parents’ house. But the Carry On and EastEnders legend retains a “wonderful” humour, they still share a laugh – and watching her old shows stirs happy memories. Scott, 56, says: “I’ve definitely seen a progression in the last year. Barbara’s symptoms have deepened, especially where her confusion is concerned. “Constantly, she does not realise where we are, even in the house. She will ask me, ‘When are we going home?’ “Sometimes she will ask me about people who have already passed away, as if they are still here. That is something she does regularly about her own parents. It is a very difficult one. “Barbara will often say to me, ‘Do you know how to get in touch with my mum? I’d like to have a chat with her. I haven’t seen her for ages, I need to see her.’ “It’s heartbreaking. They are very difficult situations to be faced with. Short-term memory is the hardest, so Barbara won’t remember if she had dinner 20 minutes ago. If I say someone is popping in, she will forget that instantly. “The things she remembers are more long-term memories, so things about her childhood and early career.”
On This Day
- 1764 – Bolle Willum Luxdorph records in his diary that a mail bomb, possibly the world’s first, has severely injured the Danish Colonel Poulsen, residing at Børglum Abbey.
- 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
- 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
- 1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorised copying of the software they had written.
- 2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
- 2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2017 – Miguel Ferrer, American actor (b. 1955)
A Texas inmate with a history of violence against women was executed on Wednesday evening for fatally shooting his wife, who had feared she would never get out of her marriage alive. John Gardner, 64, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner. Prosecutors said the couple was getting divorced when Gardner broke into his wife’s North Texas home and shot her in the head as she was sitting in bed. She died two days later at a hospital. Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Gardner, strapped to the death chamber gurney, turned his head and apologised several times to his wife’s son, daughter and mother, who watched through a window a few feet away. ‘I would like to say sorry for your grief,’ he said. ‘I hope what I’m doing today will give you peace, joy, closure, whatever it takes to forgive. I am sorry. I know you cannot forgive me, but I hope one day you will.’ After telling several friends watching through an adjacent window that he loved them, he apologised again, adding that he didn’t want to talk a lot and would ask the warden to go forward with his punishment because ‘I want to see the Lord Jesus so bad.’
Shortly after the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Gardner took three deep breaths and then began snoring. Within seconds, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 16 minutes later. Texas has abolished the practice of allowing death row inmates a final meal request prior to execution, and Gardner would have eaten whatever was being served to the inmate population as his last meal. Gardner became the first inmate put to death this year in the U.S. Seven other executions are scheduled in the next few months in Texas, the nations busiest capital punishment state. Last year, 22 inmates were executed in the U.S., with nine inmates being put to death in Texas, the most of any state. Sadly for Laura, who listed Gardner, he hasn’t got his own Wiki page! Although she correctly guessed his timely death, she’ll not score any points. This is the risk of listing Death Row inmates, most of the time they will not have their own listing outside of the crime they have committed.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Katey Sagal (65), Dolly Parton (73), Rob Delaney (42), Tippi Hedren (89), Michael Crawford (77), Kevin Costner (64), Dave Bautista (50), Jason Segel (39), Mark Rylance (59), Jane Horrocks (55), Samantha Mumba (36), Jim Carrey (57), Zooey Deschanel (39), Kelly Marie Tran (30), James Earl Jones (88), Betty White (97), James May (56), Kate Moss (45), James Nesbitt (55), Claudia Winkleman (48), DJ Jazzy Jeff (55), Jason Bateman (51), Carl Weathers (72), Kevin Durand (46), Mark Addy (56), Faye Dunaway (79), Dave Grohl (51), Ruth Wilson (38), Orlando Bloom (43), Liam Hemsworth (30), Michael Peña (44), Bill Bailey (55), and William B. Davis (82).
Afternoon Poolers, unsurprisingly, a week after his death, Derek Acorah has still to make an appearance on This Morning with Schofield and Willoughby…. I believe we might be waiting for some time for his apparition to talk to us since we no longer have a psychic of his calibre available to us, or perhaps he was talking bollocks since he was a knee high to a grasshopper.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Christopher Beeny, 78, English actor (Upstairs, Downstairs, In Loving Memory, Last of the Summer Wine).
- Martin Griffin, English rock drummer (Hawkwind, Hawklords).
- Neil Peart, 67, Canadian Hall of Fame drummer (Rush) and lyricist (“The Spirit of Radio“, “Tom Sawyer“), glioblastoma.
- Mike Resnick, 77, American science fiction writer (The Goddess of Ganymede, Stalking the Unicorn, Kirinyaga), cancer.
In Other News
Fans have worried about Justin Bieber’s wellbeing for a long time. The first half of the 2010s were raucous for the Beebs, in the worst ways. Remember the DUI charges and assault conviction? And that “parody” video that surfaced in 2014, of 14-year-old Bieber changing the lyrics of “One Less Lonely Girl” to include the “N-word”? And when he said he hoped Anne Frank would’ve been a Belieber? And the time his pet capuchin monkey was confiscated by German officials? Seems like a truly dark time. In the latter part of the decade, the singer opened up about his struggles. In 2016, he told GQ he’d been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking Adderall — but got a ton of blowback for his honesty, even from some of his biggest fans. He largely went quiet about his health after that. The singer embraced religion and got married to Hailey Bieber. But things weren’t all gravy: The couple were photographed crying together all over Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. Last March, Bieber announced he was taking a break from music (YAY!) to focus on his mental health. And in September, he stoked speculation that he was seriously ill, after being photographed with an IV-drip in his arm. He also came clean about his heavy drug use in his younger days in an Instagram post that month. On Wednesday, TMZ revealed what’s really been going on: Bieber was diagnosed with Lyme disease in late 2019, after doctors spent most of the last year struggling to figure out what was wrong with him, other than the obvious. So some good news for those of you who have listed Bieber as a Maverick, with any luck this stain on humanity will score you some points!
On This Day
- 1908 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
- 1967 – Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.
- 1998 – Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning. Luckily, after Brexit we can!
- 2006 – A stampede during the Stoning of the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.
- 2010 – An earthquake in Haiti occurs, killing over 100,000 people and destroying much of the capital Port-au-Prince.
- 1665 – Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician and lawyer (b. 1601)
- 1976 – Agatha Christie, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1890)
- 2003 – Maurice Gibb, Manx-Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1949)
- 2017 – William Peter Blatty, American writer and filmmaker (b. 1928)
- 2017 – Graham Taylor, former Grimsby Town player and former manager of the England football team. (b. 1944)
John Belushi was an American comedian, actor, singer, and one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Throughout his career, Belushi had a close personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago’s The Second City comedy club.
Belushi spent his final week in the environs of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. By the time he checked in at the front desk of the Chateau Marmont on the night of February 28th, 1982, Belushi was ‘a time bomb, a waste site, a mess. Sweaty, flabby, edgy, pale, dishevelled, worn to a stump at 33,’ author Shawn Levy writes in The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont. Struggling to get his movie career back on track following lacklustre critical and box office reception to recent roles in Continental Divide and Neighbours, Belushi had ensconced himself in bungalow number three in order to work on the script for, and take meetings about Noble Rot, a romantic comedy set in the early years of the California wine industry. But the work was not going well, according to Levy’s book, and Paramount was keen for him to do a film based on The Joy of Sex before Noble Rot. Belushi’s attention span was limited and his speech often incoherent, his clothes were dirty and he appeared unbathed, his bungalow was in a constant state of disarray. At approximately noon Pacific Standard Time on Friday, March 5th, 1982, Belushi’s fitness trainer and occasional bodyguard Bill Wallace arrived at bungalow number three of the Chateau Marmont to deliver a typewriter and audiocassette recorder to Belushi. Wallace found him dead, with no one else present in the bungalow. The cause of death was combined drug intoxication involving cocaine and heroin, a drug combination known as a speedball.
In the early morning hours on the day of his death, he was visited separately by friends Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, as well as Catherine Evelyn Smith. She was kind enough to take him to L.A.’s Rainbow Bar and forced him to eat a bowl of the restaurant’s famous lentil soup, hoping it would calm him down. However he was found dead the following day.
His death was investigated by forensic pathologist Michael Baden, among others, and, while the findings were disputed, it was officially ruled a drug-related accident. In an interview with the National Enquirer two months later, Smith admitted that she had been with Belushi the night of his death and had given him the fatal speedball shot. After the appearance of the article “I Killed Belushi” in the National Enquirer edition of June 29th, 1982, the case was reopened. Smith was arrested, extradited from Ontario, Canada, and charged with first-degree murder. A plea bargain reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter, and she served 15 months in prison.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Rachael Harris (51), Kirstie Alley (68), Rob Zombie (54), Howard Stern (65), Melanie C (45), Zayn Malik (26), Pixie Lott (28), Jeff pay your taxes Bezos (55), Amanda Peet (47), Jason Connery (56), Mary J. Blige (48), Rachel Riley (33), John Sessions (66), Jemaine Clement (45), Evan Handler (58), Rod Stewart (74), Joely Richardson (54), Imelda Staunton (63), Catherine Duchess of Cambridge (37), Michelle Forbes (54), Nicolas Cage (56), Jeremy Renner (49), Erin Gray (70), Helen Worth (69), Eddie Redmayne (38), Kate McKinnon (36), Norman Reedus (51), Rowan Atkinson (65), and Angus Deayton (64).
Welcome all to the first newsletter of 2020. Nice to see confidence trickster and fake ‘medium’ Derek Acorah proving there’s no afterlife by failing to reappear after his own death. Personally I couldn’t stand him, I found him and people like him despicable to say the least; to take advantage and monetise people’s grief is rather beyond me…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Lexii Alijai, 21, American rapper.
- Derek Acorah, 69, English self-styled spiritual medium and television personality (Most Haunted, Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns), sepsis.
- Qasem Soleimani, 62, Iranian major general, commander of the Quds Force (since 1998).
In Other News
Alex Trebek received a huge outpouring of support since revealing he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March. The longtime Jeopardy! host, 79, opened up about facing his battle with stage IV cancer. Trebek first announced his diagnosis to the world in a YouTube video in March, when he vowed that he would continue working while he fought and received treatment. Shortly after giving the emotional update on his health, the pop culture icon thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of fans who sent their love and prayers to him and his family. Fans aren’t the only ones supporting Trebek as he continues his battle with pancreatic cancer. Fellow game show mainstay Vanna White commended the Jeopardy! host for his bravery and gave a promising update on her friend’s health. “He looks good. I talked to him recently and he’s got a very positive attitude, He’s still working, he’s obviously doing chemotherapy but working through it, and has that strong will to, as we say, the show must go on.”
Actress Pam Grier has shot down rumours that she’s battling stage four cancer. A rep for the 70-year-old screen legend told TMZ that she’s “as healthy as ever,” and is slated to return to the set of Bless This Mess for its third season. The comment came in response so some (unfounded) speculation on social media that suggested otherwise. Back in 1988, Grier had been diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer. Though she was only given 18 months to live at the time, she managed to pull through, and her cancer’s been in remission ever since. Grier made her first big splash in showbiz in the early 1970s starring in schlock films like The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. Throughout the rest of the decade, she became a staple of blaxploitation cinema, a movement that featured an anti-establishment with mostly black casts that were aimed at black audiences. While she maintained regular work in front of the camera in film and TV in the years that followed, it was her role as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation homage Jackie Brown that gave her something of a career resurgence.
Former England footballer Paul Merson has revealed how close he came to taking his own life last year during a battle with depression. The 51-year-old is best known for his professional career with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth among many other clubs, as well as winning 21 caps for the international team between 1991 and 1998. But he has also been blighted by alcohol and gambling addictions in the past, and with this weekend’s FA Cup third-round fixtures kicking off a minute later than normal as part of the Football Association’s mental health campaign, Merson has opened up on his own illness that nearly ended with him killing himself at the start of 2019. “On Monday I’ll have been sober for a year. But this time last year, I wanted to kill myself,” Merson wrote in a revealing column for the Daily Star. “I couldn’t go on any more. I just couldn’t see a way out. I had the tablets in my hand. I didn’t take enough to do anything but I had them there. With vodka. It was scary.” I think we all know how he feels, I also own 20 paracetamol and a litre of vodka, although I don’t find it that scary. He continued, “It was only because of the kids really, and my wife, and a little bit of consciousness, that I didn’t. Fear probably as well. I was scared to do it. When you’re in that place, you don’t see how it’s ever going to pass. But I have the tools now. If I get into a real down situation, I know it will pass.
On This Day
- 1757 – Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.
- 1919 – The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich. We all know how well that went.
- 1941 – 37-year-old pilot Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, disappears after bailing out of her plane over the River Thames, and is presumed dead.
- •1066 – Edward the Confessor, English king (b. 1004)
- •1922 – Ernest Shackleton, Anglo-Irish sailor and explorer (b. 1874)
- •1933 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (b. 1872)
- •1998 – Sonny Bono, American singer-songwriter, producer, actor, and politician (b. 1935)
When amazing aviator Amy Johnson bailed out of her plane and vanished beneath the icy waves Britain lost an icon. The fisherman’s daughter had become a global superstar by being the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. The intrepid adventurer followed up her astounding 1930 feat in a biplane by setting records for the fastest flights from Britain to Japan, South Africa, and India. She also became the first person to fly from London to Moscow in a single day. Amy was beacon to generations of girls who dreamed of breaking free from domestic drudgery for a life of romance and adventure. And her legacy lives on, even 75 years after death. Budget airline easyJet has named a plane after her and doubled the number of female pilots this year at its Amy Johnson Flying Initiative.
Using little more than makeshift maps and a compass, daring Amy had completed incredible journeys. But she ran out of records to set and decided to serve Britain in the Second World War by delivering planes around the country for the RAF. It was a decision that cost Amy her life, sparking a mystery that still persists today. Her body was never found and historian Dr Alec Gill believes the evidence points to a grisly end for Amy, chopped up by the propeller blades of the ship sent to rescue her from perishing cold Thames Estuary. Amy was 37 when, on January 5, 1941, she flew through snow and freezing fog, with a broken compass, to deliver a new Airspeed Oxford plane from Blackpool to Oxfordshire. She had defied orders to stay put. The flight should have taken 90 minutes but four hours later she crashed off the Kent coast near Herne Bay. Most historians believe she got lost in the thick cloud and was blown badly off-course. When her plane ran critically short of fuel she spotted the Royal Navy convoy in the Thames and bailed out, for the first and last time in her glittering career, hoping to be rescued. It was presumed she had drowned but fresh evidence may finally explain why her body was never found. It is claimed she was accidentally killed by her rescue ship. The revelation comes from Harry Gould, 84, whose father, also called Harry, was a Naval reservist on HMS Haslemere. Harry says the ship had hit a sandbank and was put in reverse to break free. He says: “So many of the crew were trying to help Amy, but with the ship moving they couldn’t reach her. “My father saw she was getting too close to the stern and shouted up to the bridge, telling them to cut the engines because they were going the wrong way. But they didn’t listen. “One of the officers shouted back, ‘Don’t you tell me what to do!’ If they had listened to him Amy might have survived. “A few seconds later she was dragged under the boat. Everyone thought she had been cut to pieces by the propellers. It’s an awful way for such a special person to die.”
Harry and his crew mates were not called to give evidence at the 1943 inquiry into Amy’s death. But hidden in the official report there is support for his story, from RAF clerk Derek Roberts, whose friend Cpl Bill Hall was also on HMS Haslemere. It reveals how Amy drifted near the ship, identified herself and complained the water was “bitterly cold”, urging the crew to “get her out as soon as possible”. “They threw her a rope but she couldn’t get hold if it. Then someone dashed up to the bridge and reversed the ship’s engines. As a result, she was drawn into the propeller and chopped into pieces.” The ship’s captain Lt Cdr Walter Fletcher dived into the water, with a rope tied around his waist, to search for her. He had to be pulled from the river and died of hypothermia later that day. He was awarded the Albert Medal for his courage. Dr Gill says a sailor “was within five feet of reaching Amy’s hand. They must have looked into each other’s eyes. It’s tragic. “This ship should have gone down in history as the ship that saved Amy’s life. Instead, historians are beginning to conclude that the propellers of the Haslemere killed her and that’s why her body was never found. That wasn’t even mentioned when her parents were still alive.” “This is still speculation as without a body there is no evidence. But it seems possible the Royal Navy would cover up what happened as they didn’t want to admit they had killed the most popular female pilot in the world.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Clancy Brown (60), January Jones (41), Bradley Cooper (44), Diane Keaton (73), Robert Duvall (88), Hayao Miyazaki (78), Vinnie Jones (54), Marilyn Manson (50), Julia Ormond (54), Matt Frewer (61), Julian Sands (61), Mel Gibson (64), Victoria Principal (70), Sarah Alexander (49), Greta Thunberg (17), Kate Bosworth (37), Tia Carrere (53), Cuba Gooding Jr. (52), and Frank Langella (82).
- Emiliano Sala – The Argentinian footballer died in a plane crash over the English Channel alongside pilot David Ibbotson. The 28-year-old has signed for Cardiff City for £15m from French club Nantes just days before.
- Lady Rothschild – Known for her sense of style, the racehorse owner whose colt Nathaniel enjoyed a string of wins died aged 84.
- Andre Previn – A charismatic pianist and conductor, he served as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and was regarded as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. He died aged 89.
- Albert Finney – The actor, whose films include Erin Brockovich and Skyfall, also enjoyed a successful stage career. He has been credited with helping transform British film and theatre in the 1960s. He died aged 82.
- Gordon Banks – The former England goalkeeper, who helped his team to World Cup victory in 1966, has been hailed as the best goalkeeper England has ever had. He died aged 81.
- Karl Lagerfeld – Instantly recognisable from his signature white ponytail, dark glasses and high-collared white shirts, the fashion designer was creative director at Chanel for more than 30 years. He died aged 85.
- Peter Tork – bassist and singer for 1960s rock band the Monkees, died aged 77. With hits including Last Train to Clarksville, I’m a Believer and Daydream Believer, the Monkees were one of the highest-charting acts of the late ‘60s.
- Jan-Michael Vincent – star of the hit series Airwolf and ‘80s hunk. He made headlines as the highest-paid American television actor, receiving $200,000 an episode during the filming of Airwolf. He was 73.
- Keith Flint – The Prodigy frontman became one of the most recognisable musicians in the industry thanks to his high energy performances and signature look of spiky hair, piercings and tattoos. He died aged 49.
- Luke Perry – the beloved Beverly Hills 90210 actor for his role as Dylan McKay, died days after suffering a massive stroke aged 52. The actor most recently starred in Riverdale, playing Fred Andrews.
- Ian Cognito – The comedian died aged 60 after falling ill on stage in front of a live audience during a stand-up performance in Bicester.
- Peter Mayhew – The actor claimed his place in film history for his portrayal of Han Solo’s furry sidekick Chewbacca in the Star Wars series. The 7ft 3in thespian, who died aged 74, prepared for the role by studying the movements of bears, monkeys and gorillas.
- Bibi Andersson – Known for her roles in the films of Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish actress featured in films such as The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. She died aged 83.
- Judith Kerr – The much-loved author and illustrator, who continued working well into her 90s, was one of the UK’s most successful children’s authors thanks to her tales of Mog the Cat and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. She died 95.
- Doris Day – The actor and singer, who became one of Hollywood’s top stars during the 40s and 50s, starred in several hit films including Calamity Jane. She died aged 97.
- Freddie Starr – The comedian, who died in Spain aged 76, rose to prominence in the 1970s. He famously featured in the Sun’s front page story “Freddie Starr ate my hamster”, whose veracity has since been disputed.
- Mohamed Morsi – The Egyptian politician who served as the nation’s fifth president before being overthrown by the military and being held in prison on a number of charges. He died aged 67 after collapsing in court.
- John McCririck – Instantly recognisable from his cigar, deerstalker hat and long, ginger sideburns, the flamboyant pundit became one of the best known figures in horse racing. Stints on Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Big Brother followed. He died aged 79.
- Rutger Hauer – whose murderous replicant Roy Batty famously fought Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in 1982’s Blade Runner, died at home in the Netherlands at the age of 75. The Dutch actor also had memorable roles as the ex-CEO of Wayne Enterprises in 2005’s Batman Begins and the vampire master Lothos in 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.
- Hans Rausing – The Swedish billionaire, who was the head of the Tetra Pak empire, amassed a vast fortune through his drinks pack enterprise and was at one point richer than the Queen. He died aged 93.
- Valerie Harper – star of the iconic sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Rhoda, died just eight days after her 80th birthday following a battle with cancer.
- Peter Fonda – the actor son of movie titan Henry Fonda and brother to Jane Fonda, died in Los Angeles of respiratory failure from lung cancer. He was 79. Fonda was best known for 1969’s groundbreaking counterculture classic Easy Rider.
- Jacques Chirac – The French politician, who served two terms as the country’s president, had one of the longest continuous political careers in Europe. He died aged 86.
- Leah Bracknell – The actress, who starred as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, played the first lesbian character in a British soap opera. She died aged 55.
- Robert Mugabe – The politician, who served as president of Zimbabwe from 1987 until 2017, died aged 95 in Singapore. A controversial figure, he was held up by some as a hero of African liberation and condemned by others for his brutal treatment of opponents and economic mismanagement.
- Peter Sissons – The veteran newsreader and former host of BBC Question Time, who was on air for more than 10 hours on the day of Princess Diana’s death, died aged 77.
- Alexei Leonov – The Soviet cosmonaut, who died aged 85, became the first person to walk in space in 1965 but almost lost his life in the struggle to return to the spacecraft.
- Gary Rhodes – The celebrity chef, recognisable from his trademark spiky hair, was working on a new television show in Dubai when he died suddenly during a break in filming aged 59.
- Frank Dobson – The Labour former health secretary, who was also a candidate in the 2000 London mayoral election, was MP for Holborn and St Pancras for 36 years. He died aged 79.
- Clive James – The Australian writer, critic and broadcaster, who also wrote poetry, was known all over the world for his wry wit and humour. He died aged 80.
- Marie Fredriksson – The singer with the Swedish pop duo Roxette was one of the most recognisable voices in pop music in the 1980s and 90s. She died aged 61.
- David Bellamy – The naturalist and television presenter, who co-founded the Conservation Foundation, became a household name and is credited with inspiring a “whole generation”. He died aged 86.
- Anna Karina – The French new wave star, who appeared in films including A Woman Is a Woman and Pierrot le Fou, died aged 79.
- Danny Aiello – the blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included roles in Moonstruck and Once Upon a Time in America and his Oscar-nominated performance as a pizza man in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, died after a brief illness. He was 86.
- René Auberjonois – A prolific actor best known for his roles on the television shows Benson and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his part in the 1970 film M.A.S.H. playing Father Mulcahy, died aged 79 of metastatic lung cancer.
Good afternoon all, apologies for last week’s email, I was away from my computer and struggled immensely to produce a newsletter from my phone, hopefully all of you were able to visit the website to keep up to date.
We’re into the last days of the year, things are still fairly tight at the top of the table, so anything could happen between now and the end of the year. The winner will be announced on the 1st January along with the new 2020 lists. I have already received quite a few lists, but many of you are still holding on for that last minute piece of deadly news before submitting them for that ultimate advantage.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Tony Britton, 95, British actor (Operation Amsterdam, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Day of the Jackal).
- Allee Willis, 72, American Hall of Fame songwriter (“I’ll Be There for You“, “September“) and lyricist (The Color Purple), cardiac arrest.
- Jerry Herman, 88, American composer (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage aux Folles) and lyricist, pulmonary disease.
- Sue Lyon, 73, American actress (Lolita, The Night of the Iguana, 7 Women).
- Don Imus, 79, American radio personality (Imus in the Morning).
- Alasdair Gray, 85, Scottish artist and author (Lanark).
In Other News
Zac Efron was rushed to hospital after suffering a medical emergency, it has been reported. Zac, 32, is thought to have been flown to Australia from Papua New Guinea by a medical evacuation crew after battling ‘a form of typhoid or similar bacterial infection.’ Efron was in a ‘stable’ condition when he admitted to the hospital, believed to be St Andrews War Memorial Hospital where he stayed for seven days. Ironically, Zac had jetted out to Papua New Guinea to film new reality TV show: Killing Zac Efron. The High School Musical star has since been ‘given the all clear’ according to The Sunday Telegraph, which allowed him to fly home to the U.S. on Christmas Eve. Dr Glenn McKay, Director of Medical Rescue, told the newspaper he could not discuss patient information but he did confirm they “retrieved a US citizen in his 30s from PNG to Brisbane for medical attention in Australia.” Efron’s series will see him journeying deep into the jungle of an island and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘falling off the grid for 21 days.’ “I tend to thrive under extreme circumstances and seek out opportunities that challenge me on every level,” Efron said in a statement in November.
TOWIE star Lauren Goodger has been rushed to hospital. In a series of attention seeking Instagram posts, the 33 year old revealed that paramedics had been round at her house and taken her to the hospital. While she didn’t identify exactly what was wrong, Lauren urged fans never to drink again as she had the worst hangover of her life. “Never drink again,” she penned, “Worst hangover to date I feel like I’m dying.” She added with a picture from the ambulance: “Under a lot of stress lately had paramedics at mine now on way to hospital…really not good way lately…I need a break.” She followed with snaps of her in a hospital bed, hooked up to a drip. Lauren also shared a picture of her legs under a blanket, writing: “Can’t stop shaking.” Later Lauren revealed that she was being kept in the hospital, alongside a breaking heart emoji and a picture of her in a wheelchair. It’s unclear whether she’s still in the hospital, or how long she’ll be there for. Let’s hope she gets charged for wasting NHS resources.
Since our last newsletter, Prince Philip has been released from the hospital. On Tuesday, the royal was seen leaving King Edward VII hospital in London around 9 a.m. after spending four nights in the facility to undergo precautionary treatment for a “pre-existing condition.” Upon being discharged, Philip took a helicopter to Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, to join his wife, Queen Elizabeth, for the holidays. “The Duke of Edinburgh has today left hospital after being discharged by his Doctor and is now back at Sandringham,” the palace said in a statement. “His Royal Highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes.” Palace officials didn’t give details about the condition the 98-year-old royal needed treatment for. However, his son, Prince Charles, told reporters that it was an age-related issue. “When you get to that age, things don’t work so well,” he said.
On This Day
- 1170 – Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
- 1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 300 Lakota are killed by the United States 7th Cavalry Regiment.
- 1997 – Hong Kong begins to kill all the city’s 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.
- 1170 – Thomas Becket, English archbishop and saint (b. 1118)
- 1926 – Rainer Maria Rilke, Austrian poet and author (b. 1875)
- 1986 – Harold Macmillan, English captain and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1894)
- 2003 – Bob Monkhouse, English comedian, actor, and game show host (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jude Law (47), Charlotte Riley (38), Jon Voight (81), Lilly Wachowski (52), Ted Danson (72), Danny McBride (43), Patrick Fischler (50), Bernard Cribbins (91), Marianne Faithfull (73), Denzel Washington (65), Noomi Rapace (40), Sienna Miller (38), Maggie Smith (85), Joe Manganiello (43), Nichelle Nichols (87), Timothée Chalamet (24), John Amos (80), Gérard Depardieu (71), Jared Leto (48), Kit Harington (33), Temuera Morrison (59), Phil Spector (80), Sissy Spacek (70), Helena Christensen (51), Annie Lennox (65), Shane MacGowan (62), Harry Shearer (76), and Carla Bruni (52).
A quick roundup this week, I’m sure you’re all very busy with your Christmas preparations and compiling your lists. If any of you want to email them in, please send your 13 names to email@example.com, I shall try to respond as soon as I can to confirm your entry. If you haven’t had a response within 24 hours, I might have died or I didn’t get your email.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Nicky Henson, 74, English actor (EastEnders, Syriana, Shine on Harvey Moon), cancer.
- Claudine Auger, 78, French actress (Thunderball, Le Masque de fer) and model (Miss France Monde, 1958).
- Kenny Lynch, 81, English singer (“You Can Never Stop Me Loving You“), actor (Carry On Loving, The Playbirds) and entertainer.
In Other News
The Duke of Edinburgh has been taken to hospital for treatment for a ‘pre-existing condition’, Buckingham Palace has said. Prince Philip, 98, travelled from Sandringham, where he spends much of his time since retiring, to the King Edward VII Hospital in London on Friday morning as a precautionary measure on advice of his doctor. He was not taken by ambulance and it was a planned admission, right before Christmas, yeah… The palace announcement came as the uncaring Queen arrived at the Norfolk estate for her Christmas break after carrying out her duties at the State of Opening of Parliament on Thursday, telling journalists to ‘Fuck orf! I can’t stand the doddering old twat….’
A Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of Edinburgh travelled from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition. “The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’ Doctor.” The duke is expected to be in hospital for a few days. “The palace will not give details about the condition he’s being treated for, but the decision to send him to hospital in London may be related to where his consultants are based, the KEVII Hospital is particularly well known for their seamless lizard eye reduction therapy. The prince has suffered quite a few bouts of ill health in recent years:
- 2008: Philip was admitted to hospital for a chest infection and was discharged three days later.
- 2011: Two days before Christmas, Philip was taken to hospital from Sandringham with chest pains. He had surgery and was discharged four days later.
- 2012: During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations Philip was taken to hospital with a bladder infection and discharged five days later. Two months later the infection recurred and he was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
- 2013: Philip had an exploratory operation on his abdomen, spending 11 days in hospital.
- 2014: Philip appeared in public with a bandaged right hand after a “minor procedure”.
- 2017: The Prince was taken to hospital with an infection.
- 2018: The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to hospital for a planned operation on his hip.
Not to mention his recent car crash. If I were a betting man, I’d give you 2/1 on a bucket kicking by the New Year.
This week saw the attention seeking Jaden Smith forcibly sat down in a TV studio whilst his family addressed concerns over his vegan diet. The 21-year-old admitted he has intense stomach issues and wanted to get to the bottom of it, so the family hired Dr. Mark Hyman and nutritionist Mona Sharma to perform an in-depth analysis. Jaden said he was apprehensive about partaking because of some backlash he got for going vegan, not because this should have been a private intervention, or the good punch in the face he needs. Dr. Hyman explained that Jaden’s nutritional deficiencies were from eating the wrong types of food and his health status can be adjusted by switching up his diet and taking supplements. Specifically, he was told that gluten and dairy were both “big problems” for him. Also, because Jaden doesn’t eat meat, he has vitamin and omega-3 deficiencies. Will and Jada were concerned over his extreme diet after he was hospitalised for nausea and dizziness. “Will and I had a bit of an intervention with Jaden because he’s a vegan now, but we realised he wasn’t getting enough protein,” Jada said at the time. “So he was wasting away. He just looked drained, he was just depleted. He wasn’t getting the nutrients.” “He had the dark circles under his eyes, there was even a little greyness to his skin. And we got really nervous,” Will said.
Well, stop enabling your son and send him out into the real world to find a job and earn his way through life, perhaps he’ll then spend less time wearing dresses and reciting shit poetry and eating a balanced diet.
On This Day
- 856 – An earthquake near the Persian city of Damghan kills an estimated 200,000 people, the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.
- 1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.
- 2001 – Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
- 1880 – George Eliot, English novelist and poet (b. 1819)
- 1943 – Beatrix Potter, English children’s book writer and illustrator (b. 1866)
- 1965 – Richard Dimbleby, English journalist (b. 1913)
- 1989 – Samuel Beckett, Irish author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
- 2014 – Joe Cocker, English singer-songwriter (b. 1944)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ralph Fiennes (56), Vanessa Paradis (46), Samuel L. Jackson (70), Jane Fonda (81), Kiefer Sutherland (52), Julie Delpy (49), Phil Donahue (83), Jonah Hill (35), Jenny Agutter (66), Nicole de Boer (48), Jake Gyllenhaal (38), Jennifer Beals (55), Kristy Swanson (49), Alyssa Milano (46), Richard Hammond (49), Brad Pitt (55), Steven Spielberg (72), Ray Liotta (64), Katie Holmes (40), Casper Van Dien (50), Billie Eilish (17), Christina Aguilera (38), Steve Austin (54), Robson Green (54), Sia (43), Keith Richards (75), Katheryn Winnick (42), Ernie Hudson (74), Milla Jovovich (44), Bill Pullman (66), Eugene Levy (73), Laurie Holden (50), Bernard Hill (75), Krysten Ritter (38), Miranda Otto (52), Billy Gibbons (70), and Christopher Biggins (71).
A slightly shorter edition this week as we’re only just two weeks away from the 2019 finale. With this in mind I thought it prudent to remind you to get working on your lists and email them in. I’m not bothering with the forms this year, just email 13 names and state which of them is your Cert, Woman and Maverick to firstname.lastname@example.org. The rules can be seen here.
As always, try to think of those not-so obscure names and try to balance your list so it’s not full of dodgy Death Row inmates or Supercentenarian’s that might score you small and often but mostly might not score you at all.
Feel free to ask any questions or if you need any obscure name judgements.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- René Auberjonois, 79, American actor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, MASH, Benson), Tony winner (1970), lung cancer.
- Marie Fredriksson, 61, Swedish singer-songwriter (Roxette) and musician, complications from a brain tumour.
- Nell Gifford, 46, British circus owner (Giffords Circus), cancer.
- Juice Wrld, 21, American rapper (“All Girls Are the Same“, “Lucid Dreams“, “Bandit“).
- Caroll Spinney, 85, American puppeteer (Sesame Street, Shalom Sesame, Follow That Bird), cartoonist and author.
- Natalie Harrowell, 29, English rugby league player (Featherstone Rovers, national team).
- David Bellamy, 86, English naturalist (Bellamy’s Backyard Safari) and author.
- Danny Aiello, 86, American actor (Do the Right Thing, The Godfather Part II, Moonstruck).
- Sheila Mercier, 100, English actress (Emmerdale).
- Anna Karina, 79, Danish-born French actress (Little Soldier, A Woman Is a Woman, Alphaville), cancer
In Other News
Harvey Weinstein has been reduced to releasing a photo of himself in hospital in an attempt to distance himself from rumours he is faking illness ahead of trial. Some have accused the disgraced former film exec of trying to gain sympathy. Weinstein, 67, was in court last week using a walking frame to help him keep his balance – and it didn’t go down well online. The disgraced Hollywood boss is accused of five counts of rape and sexual assault. His trial commences in the New Year but he has moved to publicly cast aside suggestions he is putting it all on. Weinstein’s spokesman said he underwent a three-hour back operation in New York on Thursday. They added he needed to to fix the problem after injuries from a summer a car accident. His spokesman said. ‘Harvey has been in agony and underwent surgery on Thursday. We don’t know if he will need further surgeries. “The idea he is faking his illness is ridiculous.” The movie mogul’s trial is due to start on January 6. He could be jailed for life if convicted on all charges. Last week he reached out-of-court settlements with an unnamed number of people. Lawyer Donna Rotunno said last week that his health is getting worse. “Mr Weinstein’s health has been deteriorating since August when he had the unfortunate accident,” she said. “He had tried to manage the discomfort, but as the pain got worse and the various different courses of treatment failed to remedy the problem, he began to rely on a cane and a walker.
Something very strange happened in November. You would be forgiven for not having noticed, after all, it was a month during which Prince Andrew, Duke of York ingloriously made royal history after being essentially banished from official duties over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. He now has the highly dubious honour of being the first member of the family to walk away from their HRH responsibilities in 83 years when they are still fit and able-bodied. However, while this particular maelstrom was brewing, something else potentially momentous has been going on. Namely, the Queen has quietly taken a huge step back and nearly halved her workload. Like pretty much everything to do with the royal family, this was not by chance or circumstance. Instead, in November, she logged only 30 official events in contrast to November last year when she hit 50. Yes, she is a 93-year-old and has every right to perhaps pop her feet up a bit more and catch Coronation Street once in a while. But for a monarch whose life has been driven by a powerful sense of duty, this carries serious meaning. In recent weeks, with Prince Charles coming to the fore in the Andrew debacle and reportedly playing a decisive role in officially sidelining his little brother, so to have reports that he is preparing to assume the throne in all but name. While Buckingham Palace courtiers were quick to put down their china cups of Earl Grey and quash this rumour fast, it did highlight the issue of how practically the Queen will continue to reign as she pluckily works her way towards 100.
On This Day
- 1890 – Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre.
- 1914 – A gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hōjō coal mine, in Kyushu, Japan, kills 687.
- 1941 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: German troops murder over 15,000 Jews at Drobytsky Yar, a ravine southeast of the city of Kharkiv. Jeremy Corbyn still hasn’t apologised for this.
- 1970 – Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 successfully lands on Venus. It is the first successful soft landing on another planet.
- 1890 – Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota tribal chief (b. 1831)
- 1944 – Glenn Miller, American bandleader and composer (b. 1904)
- 1966 – Walt Disney, American animator, director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded The Walt Disney Company (b. 1901)
- 2013 – Joan Fontaine, British-American actress (b. 1917)
- 2017 – Heinz Wolff, scientist and TV presenter (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Don Johnson (69), Helen Slater (55), Charlie Cox (36), Garrett Wang (50), Natascha McElhone (49), Miranda Hart (46), Ted Raimi (53), Vicki Michelle (68), Christopher Plummer (90), Jamie Foxx (52), Taylor Swift (30), Steve Buscemi (62), Dick Van Dyke (94), Robert Lindsay (70), Jennifer Connelly (49), Mädchen Amick (49), Bill Nighy (70), Sarah Douglas (67), Kenneth Cranham (75), Dionne Warwick (79), Connie Francis (81), Kenneth Branagh (59), Susanna Reid (49), Kirk Douglas (103), Judi Dench (85), John Malkovich (66), Michael Dorn (67), Beau Bridges (78), Donny Osmond (62), and Kim Basinger (66).
Well done to me! I finally scored with my list of Star Trek veterans with the sad passing of D.C. Fontana, however I missed out on Robert Walker though… I am a bit surprised that the media haven’t made more of her death as she was a trailblazer in her industry and that it’s the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Anyhow, less nerdiness, on with the show.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- D. C. Fontana, 80, American television writer (Star Trek, The Streets of San Francisco, The Waltons).
- Robert Walker, 79, American actor (Ensign Pulver, The Ceremony, Star Trek).
- Rosa Morena, 78, Spanish flamenco pop singer and actress, cancer.
In Other News
John Barrowman has had a series of spinal injections after he was rushed to hospital with a neck injury. He said before the procedure that he was to have “some small needles then some very big ones put into my neck”. The star of Doctor Who updated fans on social media after he was taken to hospital in Bristol on Saturday. Barrowman, 52, had been due to start his ‘Fabulous Christmas Tour’ at the city’s Hippodrome that day, but the show was cancelled. He posted a short video on Instagram at 02:00am saying he would be having the injections at the base of the neck to help support the head. Obviously his ego has grown out of all proportions. He then posted an update to say the injections were finished and they were “a bit uncomfortable”. Barrowman said the injury had made it “impossible to sing and move” in an Instagram message to fans on Saturday afternoon. Such a shame that the NHS is available to anyone.
Troubled TV star James ‘Arg’ Argent has reportedly been hospitalised after suffering a second drug overdose in just two months. It has been claimed paramedics rushed to his lavish Essex home on Wednesday evening, after worried pals feared the worst as the ex-TOWIE star has been missing for 48 hours. This health scare comes just months after TOWIE veteran Gemma Collins was forced to call 999 over fears her on/off boyfriend had collapsed while alone in his home. Arg was “disorientated” and “out of it”, but initially refused to get in the ambulance after medics decided he need to be hospitalised. The source told the publication: “Arg was disorientated and looked like he hadn’t eaten in days. “He has been in denial of how bad it’s got and convinced everyone he’s fine but that couldn’t be further from the truth- he’s been suffering with depression and has been in a bad place for years.” After failing to turn up at events booked into his schedule this week, fears for the state of his welfare began to grow. Having spent the night in hospital, Arg discharged himself as he had plans to fly to Belfast for a PA with former Westlife star Brian McFadden.
On This Day
- 1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.
- 1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board.
- 1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.
- 1969 – Olympic Airways Flight 954 strikes a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, killing 90 people in the worst crash of a Douglas DC-6 in history.
- 1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45. This is the first-ever loss of a Boeing 737.
- 1980 – Former Beatle John Lennon is murdered in front of The Dakota in New York City.
- 1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
- 2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
- 2013 – Metallica performs a show in Antarctica, making them the first band to perform on all 7 continents.
- 1980 – John Lennon, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1940)
- 1983 – Slim Pickens, American actor (b. 1919)
- 2008 – Oliver Postgate, English voice actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1925)
- 2016 – John Glenn, American astronaut and senator, first American to go into orbit (b. 1921)
THE FINAL HOURS OF JOHN LENNON December 8th, 1980. Five gunshots ring out in New York, ending the life of one of the world’s most influential musicians and sending millions of fans into mourning. John Lennon had been living quietly in the city and had just made his comeback after five years away from the studio. “John and I were gloriously happy in the first week of December,” his widow later recalled. “In our minds, we were a team – old soldiers.” So exactly what happened on that fateful day?
In the morning, John and Yoko leave their apartment and have breakfast at the Cafe La Fortuna, on West 71st Street. John eats Eggs Benedict and follows it with a cappuccino and Gitane cigarette. He then decides to get a haircut, after which the couple return to their sprawling 34-room apartment and welcome photographer Annie Leibovitz inside to undertake a photoshoot for Rolling Stone. Lennon wants to be photographed naked, clinging to a clothed Yoko. Leibovitz has no problem with that, and the photos are taken. The resulting picture makes the cover of Rolling Stone magazine weeks later.
After the shoot, San Francisco radio producer Dave Sholin arrives to conduct what becomes John’s last interview. During the three-hour session, the musician poignantly says: “We’re either going to live or we’re going to die. I consider that my work won’t be finished until I’m dead and buried – and I hope that’s a long time.” Following the interview Sholin offers John and Yoko a lift to the recording studio.
Outside the apartment, the pavement teems with office workers heading for the subway. Among them is Mark Chapman, 25, determined to kill Lennon, who he sees as a “phony” – a left-wing activist with a millionaire lifestyle. Despite the mild weather, Chapman wears thermal underwear, green trousers, a shirt and sweater, and a long green overcoat, complete with a fake fur hat, gloves and a green scarf. A Charter Arms .38 snub-nosed revolver is concealed in the inside pocket of his coat. He hands John a copy of “Double Fantasy” to sign. John writes: John Lennon 1980. Handing it back, he looks his killer in the eye and asks: “Here, is that what you want?” before hopping into the car. John and Yoko then spend four-and-a-half hours working at The Record Factory. Before leaving the studio, Lennon enjoyed a corned beef sandwich with the plan to have a larger meal once he got home.
The couple take a short limousine drive back to their apartment, however there is a vehicle parked directly in front of the entrance to the block, so John’s limo stops outside the building’s gateway and Yoko climbs out, followed by John carrying a tape recorder and cassettes. John stares at Chapman as he passes by and, as he moves off, the killer springs into action. As John walks by, Chapman says, “Mr. Lennon.” John starts to turn just as Chapman, dropping into a combat stance, pulls out the gun. The first two shots hit John in the back, spinning him around, while another two hit him in the shoulder. A fifth misses. Each bullet passes through the body and slams into a wood and glass windbreak behind him. As Chapman looks on in silence, Lennon staggers up the five steps into the building’s office, mumbling “I’m shot” before falling face-down. Night man Jay Hastings had been reading a magazine but, when John stumbles in, he hits the alarm button under the desk, summoning police. Yoko rushes to cradle her dying husband and screams for a doctor. Outside, Chapman removes his coat – so police will see he isn’t armed – and begins flicking through a copy of JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Within two minutes, the street is full of sirens. As Chapman is cuffed, two officers hoist the musician on to their shoulders and place him in the back of a squad car. Jay remembers hearing John’s bones creak as they pick him up. As his partner runs red lights heading to St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Officer James Moran turns and asks John, “Are you John Lennon?” As he slips away, John nods slightly and moans: “Yes.” It is the last thing he ever says.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Teri Hatcher (54), Dominic Monaghan (42), Nicki Minaj (36), David Harewood (53), C. Thomas Howell (53), Jeffrey Wright (54), Ellen Burstyn (87), Kristofer Hivju (41), Tom Hulce (66), Nick Park (61), Frankie Muniz (34), Margaret Cho (51), Marisa Tomei (55), Jeff Bridges (70), Tony Todd (65), Tyra Banks (46), Pamela Stephenson (70), Jay-Z (50), Brendan Fraser (51), Julianne Moore (59), Amanda Seyfried (34), Daryl Hannah (59), Jean-Luc Godard (89), Ozzy Osbourne (71), Paul Nicholas (75), Lucy Liu (51), Britney Spears (38), and Nelly Furtado (41).
With the sad passing of Clive James, quite a few of you have scored; Christine and Martin both had him down as their Cert, so 170 points each, and Debbie, Julie, Ashley, Shan and Julia also had him listed, so 70 points each also. Well done everyone! This has tightened the league table somewhat, who know what will happen in the next four weeks! Anyone at the top end of the table could win if one of their Big Three decide to succumb to the cold weather, it’s that close! And to anyone who’s a bit miffed about being at the bottom end of the table, don’t worry, I’m there too.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Nick Clifford, 98, American construction worker, last surviving Mount Rushmore carver.
- Goo Hara, 28, South Korean singer (Kara) and actress (City Hunter), suicide.
- Clive James, 80, Australian author (Cultural Amnesia), broadcaster (Fame in the 20th Century) and critic (The Observer), leukaemia.
- Gary Rhodes, 59, English chef (Rhodes W1) and television personality (MasterChef, Local Food Hero), subdural haematoma.
- Godfrey Gao, 35, Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Love is a Broadway Hit, Legend of the Ancient Sword), cardiac arrest.
- Brad Gobright, 31, American rock climber, climbing fall.
- Sir Jonathan Miller, 85, English humourist (Beyond the Fringe), television presenter, and theatre director, Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lord Burgess, 95, American songwriter (“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)“, “Jamaica Farewell“, “In Plenty and In Time of Need“).
- Iain Sutherland, 71, Scottish musician (The Sutherland Brothers) and songwriter (“(I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway“, “Sailing”, “Arms of Mary“).
- Terry de Havilland, 81, British shoe designer.
In Other News
Music legend Tina Turner has spoken about turning 80 today, saying: “It’s like having a second chance at life.” The star has had a stellar 60-year career in which she has sold more than 200 million records. But in recent years the Queen of Rock and Roll has been dogged by ill health including a cancer fight and a kidney transplant. Tina said: “I’m 80. What do I think? How did I think I would be at 80? Not like this. “I look great. I feel good. I have gone through some very serious sicknesses that I am overcoming. It’s like having a second chance at life. “I am happy to be an 80-year-old.” Tina suffered a mild stroke after marrying German music executive Erwin Bach, 63, in 2013 and had to learn to walk again. Three years later she was diagnosed with kidney failure and intestinal cancer. Doctors treated the cancer by removing part of her intestine, but her kidney problems got worse and she considered assisted suicide. But then Erwin gave her one of his own kidneys, and Tina had a successful transplant operation in April 2017. She said: “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. There’s always another test, another doctor’s appointment or biopsy to get through.
Gray O’Brien has revealed on social media that he has been battling stage four tonsil cancer. The 51-year-old former Coronation Street star posted a video of him finishing his treatment and revealed that he had been “devastated” by the diagnosis. The actor, who played crooked businessman Tony Gordon in Corrie between 2007 and 2010, said he discovered that he had cancer after visiting his doctor with swollen glands. This was in August and since then Gray has had 30 rounds of radiotherapy, which has been done over a six week period. The Glasgow-born actor shared news of his diagnosis on Twitter but there was light at the end of the tunnel as he also announced that he had finished his treatment. Gray said: “When I received the diagnosis of tonsil cancer I was of course devastated – it’s cancer. “My reason for waiting to ring the bell before I mentioned it publicly is because I wasn’t sure how strong I would be in coping with the treatment, indeed could I cope with the treatment? “This is only the treatment finished. I now have a long way to go with my recovery. “I have been advised it will get worse before it gets better, and I have no reason to doubt this. “As long as I take it a day at a time as I have up until this point I am looking forward to coming through the other side.”
A tree surgeon was killed in a freak accident when he moved to avoid a falling trunk but was hit by a 16-stone branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest has heard. Charley Purkiss-McEndoo, 27, was working in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park on May 23 this year, when the tragedy occurred. The highly regarded amateur rugby union player had felled a large oak tree before stepping to the side as it fell into what is known as ‘the safety zone.’ But in an unforeseeable tragedy, his textbook safety manoeuvre took him into the path of a falling branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest heard. The branch belonged to a tree 20ft away which had rotted at its socket and was being held in place by the tree he was was felling as part of a five year forestry clearance plan on the estate. Mr Purkiss-McEndoo- described as a ‘wonderful, humble person’ and the ‘life and soul of his rugby team’ – had sent a text to his mother wishing her a happy birthday minutes before the tragedy. The inquest in Skipton found that he died an accidental death while following ‘correct safety procedures with correct safety equipment.’
On This Day
- 1919 – Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
- 1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.
- 1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott.
- 1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.
- 1135 – Henry I, king of England (b. 1068)
- 1866 – George Everest, Welsh geographer and surveyor (b. 1790)
- 1947 – Aleister Crowley, English magician, poet, and mountaineer (b. 1875)
- 2007 – Anton Rodgers, British actor (b. 1933)
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late imperial Russia. Born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in the Tobolsk governorate, Rasputin had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery in 1897. He has been described as a monk or as a “strannik” (wanderer, or pilgrim), though he held no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church.
After traveling to St. Petersburg, either in 1903 or the winter of 1904–05, Rasputin captivated some church and social leaders. He became a society figure, and met the Tsar in November 1905. In late 1906, Rasputin began acting as a healer for Alexei, the Tsar and his wife Alexandra‘s only son, who suffered from hemophilia. At court, he was a divisive figure, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan. The high point of Rasputin’s power was in 1915, when Nicholas II left St. Petersburg to oversee Russian armies fighting World War I, increasing both Alexandra and Rasputin’s influence. As Russian defeats in the war mounted, however, both Rasputin and Alexandra became increasingly unpopular.
On 12 July 1914 a 33-year-old peasant woman named Chionya Guseva attempted to assassinate Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach outside his home in Pokrovskoye. Rasputin was seriously wounded, and for a time it was not clear that he would survive. After surgery and some time in a hospital in Tyumen, however, he did recover.
Having decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina had made him a threat to the empire, a group of nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and the right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich concocted a plan to kill Rasputin in December 1916, apparently by luring Rasputin to the Yusupovs’ Moika Palace. Rasputin was murdered during the early morning on 30 December 1916, at the home of Felix Yusupov. He died of three gunshot wounds, one of which was a close-range shot to his forehead. Beyond this, little is certain about his death, and the circumstances of his death have been the subject of considerable speculation.
According to historian Douglas Smith, “what really happened at the Yusupov home on 17 December will never be known”. The story of Rasputin’s death that Yusupov recounted in his memoirs, however, has become the most frequently told version of events. According to Yusupov, he invited Rasputin to his home shortly after midnight and ushered him into the basement. Yusupov offered Rasputin tea and cakes which had been laced with cyanide. At first, Rasputin refused the cakes, but then began to eat them. To Yusupov’s surprise, Rasputin did not appear to be affected by the poison. Rasputin then asked for some Madeira wine (which had also been poisoned) and drank three glasses, but still showed no sign of distress. At around 2:30 am, Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, where his fellow conspirators were waiting. Taking a revolver from Dmitry Pavlovich, Yusupov returned to the basement and, referring to a crucifix that was in the room, told Rasputin that he’d “better look at the crucifix and say a prayer”, then shot him once in the chest. Believing him to be dead, they then drove to Rasputin’s apartment, with Sukhotin wearing Rasputin’s coat and hat, in an attempt to make it look as though Rasputin had returned home that night. Upon returning to the Moika Palace, Yusupov went back to the basement to ensure that Rasputin was dead. Suddenly, Rasputin leapt up and attacked Yusupov, who – with some effort – freed himself and fled upstairs. Rasputin followed and made it into the palace’s courtyard before being shot by Purishkevich and collapsing into a snowbank. The conspirators then wrapped Rasputin’s body in cloth, drove it to the Petrovsky Bridge and dropped it into the Malaya Nevka River.
News of Rasputin’s murder spread quickly, even before his body was found. An investigation was launched the next morning and his body was found under the river ice, approximately 200 meters downstream from the bridge.
Rasputin was buried on the following day at a small church at Tsarskoye Selo. The funeral was attended only by the royal family and a few of their intimates. Rasputin’s wife, mistress, and children were not invited, although his daughters met with the Royal family at Vyrubova’s home later that day. His body was exhumed and burned by a detachment of soldiers shortly after the Tsar abdicated the throne in March 1917, in order to prevent his burial site from becoming a rallying point for supporters of the old regime.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ridley Scott (82), Ben Stiller (54), Mandy Patinkin (67), Billy Idol (64), Chadwick Boseman (42), Gemma Chan (37), Diane Ladd (84), Don Cheadle (55), Jeff Fahey(67), Karen Gillan (32), Ed Harris (69), Aimee Garcia (41), Judd Nelson (60), Martin Clunes (58), Armando Iannucci (56), Jon Stewart (57), Robin Givens (55), Bill Nye (64), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (31), Tina Turner (80), Rita Ora (29), DJ Khaled (44), Christina Applegate (48), Bruno Tonioli (64), Sarah Hyland (29), Stephen Merchant (45), Conleth Hill (55), Billy Connolly (77), and Denise Crosby (62).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brad McQuaid, 51, American video game designer (EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes).
- John Mann, 57, Canadian guitarist and singer (Spirit of the West), and actor (Underworld: Evolution).
- Michael J. Pollard, 80, American actor (Bonnie and Clyde, Scrooged, House of 1000 Corpses), cardiac arrest.
- Colin Skipp, 80, British actor (The Archers).
- Olly Croft, 90, British darts administrator, founder of the British Darts Organisation.
- Goo Hara, 28, South Korean singer (Kara) and actress (City Hunter).
In Other News
Actress Jane Galloway Heitz, best known for portraying show choir head Lillian Adler in the high school musical series Glee, has died aged 78. Although not famous enough for a wiki mention, we thought she was worthy of a small recognition. She died of congestive heart failure in an Illinois hospital last week, her daughter Amie Richardson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. She also appeared in shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory. Alongside her own acting, she helped to nurture the talents of a young Steve Carell (well known for the US Office and films such as Foxcatcher, The Big Short and The 40-year-old Virgin), as well as chat show host Stephen Colbert. Her casting also helped launch the careers of actors Richard Kind, who starred in Mad About You and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet. Stonestreet led the tributes, crediting Galloway Heitz for his success, while describing her as a “a great friend and mentor”.
Sir Elton John has said he was terrified he would not live to see his children grow up and had to learn to walk again after he contracted an infection following surgery for prostate cancer. The superstar musician previously revealed in his autobiography Me that he was successfully treated for cancer two years ago but then became ill with an infection. Speaking to Graham Norton in the BBC programme Elton John: Uncensored, Sir Elton said he has had an “annus horribilis” as he struggled with his health. He said: “I was on stage in Vegas in a lot of pain, fluid had built up under my colon. “I did the show and was wearing nappies shortly after the operation. I thought ‘If only they knew right now that I’m pissing myself’. The singer added that he was rushed to hospital in London, where he was “24 hours from snuffing it”, and continued: “I had to learn to walk again. I was extremely sick. “I said: ‘Don’t let me die, I want to see my children grow up.’” He joked there is “very little of me left” after having his prostate removed and losing his hair.
Sir Rod Stewart, 74, took to Instagram to tell fans he is “absolutely devastated” to have to pull out of the charity show in London. In view of his 347,000 followers, he wrote: “Due to a throat infection and on strict doctor’s orders, I’m absolutely devastated to say I’m unable to perform at the Royal Variety Performance, an amazing show which I love being a part of. He added: “It’s going to be a great evening with some fantastic talent and I’m very disappointed that I can’t be there to give my support. Many of the star’s loyal fans flocked to his post to send their well wishes to the star. One fan commented: “I hope you’re back to your best soon. We can’t have anything happen to that beautiful voice!” Rod is set to kick off his UK and Ireland tour later this week in Manchester ahead of his international tour next year. It is currently unknown if his throat infection will affect his tour. Back in September, Sir Rod Stewart opened up about his secret cancer battle as he issued a warning to others. “Guys, you’ve got to really go to the doctor,” he added. “Finger up the bum, no harm done.”
TV comic John Bishop has revealed how a terrifying cancer scare left him “contemplating death”. The 52-year-old Liverpudlian was sent for an X-ray after suffering a prolonged cough three years ago. He explained: “I was told that unless I heard anything, I should regard everything as normal and the cough would go. “I heard nothing and gradually my chest cleared, so I thought no more about it. “Three months later I received a call saying the results of the X-ray had been misreported by one of the junior staff. His GP said he needed an emergency CT scan – “and something in his tone suggested it needing doing sooner rather than later,” said John. “So I organised a private CT scan at the local hospital. I spent a few hours alone thinking it could be the start of the end. “This is because a Google search of ‘shadows on lungs’ does not make you believe the prognosis will be good.” John, who has three sons with wife Melanie, says: “It was the first time I had seriously contemplated my own death. I was filled with sadness for all the things I’d miss – my family, my sons getting married, my parents, becoming a grandparent, laughing, blue sky days when you are so happy that you almost feel guilty to be so lucky. Football, music, films. “Death takes away everything, although this isn’t all bad. I suddenly realised I did not have to care any more about what Donald Trump did, if the ice caps were going to melt and the Brexit vote. “I had seen this before with people facing terminal illness. There is a sense of contentment and balance hard to explain. All that matters are those you love.” “The GP called me as soon as he had the results. I had shadows on both lungs but it was nothing sinister and was caused by increased bone mass in my sternum. “I put the phone down grateful for the life I had ahead of me. “I embraced Melanie and then on the radio in the background I heard Trump was saying global warming was a myth, and I started worrying again.”
On This Day
- 1859 – Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.
- 1962 – The influential British satirical television programme That Was the Week That Was is first broadcast.
- 1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, is killed by Jack Ruby.
- 1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, American assassin of John F. Kennedy (b. 1939)
- 1991 – Freddie Mercury, Tanzanian-English singer-songwriter, lead vocalist of Queen, and producer (b. 1946)
- 2008 – Kenny MacLean, Scottish-Canadian bass player and songwriter (b. 1956)
Rather than concentrate on murderers and rapists, I thought it might be a nice change to concentrate on some famous people’s last meals for a change. Let’s begin with the one and only Elvis Presley.
Born Elvis Aaron Presley on January 8th 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley came from very humble beginnings and grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King”. In 1955 Presley began to develop a following with fans being drawn to his unusual musical style, provocative gyrating hips and good looks. That same year, he signed with RCA Records, a deal worked out by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Presley was on a roll, scoring his first No.1 single with “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as his first No.1 album, Elvis Presley, and signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures — all in 1956. Despite the uproar that his sexy dance moves caused, he also became a popular guest on a number of television variety shows. Soon, Presley was everywhere — on the radio, television and the silver screen — working as a musician and actor. His first film, Love Me Tender (1956), was a box office hit. Even a stint in the U.S. military couldn’t put a damper on Presley’s thriving career.
After leaving the Army in 1960, Presley resumed his career and was soon back at the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his film GI Blues. He continued recording music and acting in such films as Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964). Though his films were often hit or miss with both critics and audiences, they brought in a profit and the soundtracks usually sold well. By the late 1960s, however, the enigmatic performer appeared to be losing his box office appeal.
Around this time, Presley’s personal life seemed to be on an upswing. He and Priscilla married in 1967 and had a daughter, Lisa Marie, the following year. Unfortunately, this joyous time would not last. By the early 1970s, Presley’s marriage was falling apart. The couple divorced in 1973, and Priscilla received custody of Lisa Marie. Presley was also wrestling with other personal problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs; the once-thin rock star was battling a weight problem, and his destructive lifestyle caught up with him that autumn, when he was hospitalised for drug-related health problems.
In the morning of August 16th, 1977, Presley died of heart failure, at the age of 42. It was later ruled that his death was related to his prescription drug use and it was rumoured that he’d died on the toilet eating a burger. However, the evening’s events were very different. Elvis had stayed up most of the night; he was restless. Between midnight and 6:00 a.m., he went to his dentist to have a cavity filled (he did this late at night to avoid the mobs), then he returned to Graceland and played racquetball with friends, talked over marriage plans with his 20-year-old fiancée, Ginger Alden, and belted out some gospel songs on the piano. Around sunrise, Ginger went to bed, but Elvis, still unable to sleep, ate one of his usual early-morning snacks: four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies. After that, he went to bed, then got up a few hours later to go to the bathroom, where he suffered the fatal heart attack. Presley was buried on the Graceland property, near the gravesites of his mother, Gladys, father Vernon and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Kelly Brook (40), Miley Cyrus (27), Michelle Gomez (53), Ricky Whittle (38), Scarlett Johansson (35), Mads Mikkelsen (54), Jamie Lee Curtis (61), Mark Ruffalo (52), Terry Gilliam (79), Goldie Hawn (74), Alexander Siddig (54), Björk (54), Carly Rae Jepsen (34), Liza Tarbuck (55), Ming-Na Wen (56), Sean Young (60), Bo Derek (63), Adam Driver (36), Jodie Foster (57), Meg Ryan (58), Terry Farrell (56), Robert Beltran (66), Chloë Sevigny (45), Owen Wilson (51), Linda Evans (77), Delroy Lindo (67), Alan Moore (66), Anthony McPartlin (44), Martin Scorsese (77), Rachel McAdams (41), Tom Ellis (41), Danny DeVito (75), Sophie Marceau (53), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (61), and RuPaul (59).
No movement in the table this week and with little over six weeks left to go, some of us are hoping that this cold weather will do the trick. I hope you’re all researching your lists for 2020 already and letting your friends know about our amazing little pool.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Frank Dobson, 79, British politician, MP (1979–2015), Secretary of State for Health (1997–1999).
- Jean Fergusson, 74, British actress (Last of the Summer Wine, Coronation Street).
- Terry O’Neill, 81, British photographer, prostate cancer.
- Niall Tóibín, 89, Irish comedian and actor (Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away, Veronica Guerin).
In Other News
Jimmy Carter has been admitted to hospital for brain surgery following a number of recent falls. The former US president was due to undergo surgery on Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding, his spokeswoman said. Rev Tony Lowden, Mr Carter’s pastor, said the Democratic leader had had ”a rough day” on Monday. “We just need the whole country to be in prayer for him,” he said. Mr Carter is resting comfortably Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife Rosalynn is with him, his spokeswoman added. The 95-year-old former peanut farmer has fallen at least three times in 2019, with one incident necessitating hip replacement surgery. On 6 October Mr Carter needed 14 stitches after a fall and on 21 October he fractured his pelvis. He is the oldest living president, surviving longer after leaving the White House than any former president in US history.
Ariana Grande has reportedly been struggling on tour in recent weeks. The 26-year-old posted a message to her Instagram Story on Saturday, revealing that she’s been battling an illness for several weeks! Not only that but her message indicates that her future tour dates in jeopardy until she’s feeling better. “Hi my loves so I’m still very sick. I’ve been sick since the last London show. I don’t know how it’s possible but my throat and head are still in so much pain. I sound okay I’m just in a lot of pain and it’s difficult to breathe during the show,” Grande wrote. “I just really don’t know what’s happening with my body right now and need to figure it out.” From there, the singer expanded on her condition throughout several videos. “Hi everyone so I have a quick health update, I just finished my show in Charlottesville and I’ve been sick since the last show in London,” the video showed. “I’ve been coughing and had this like crazy sinus infection thing that has not gone away for a really long time. I haven’t been able to really get better and tonight during the show tonight my head was really splitting and heavy and my glands really hurt and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.” Grande added that she’ll be going to a doctor soon and hopes to learn more about her condition and prompt a speedy recovery. Fans are likely hopeful she goes sooner than later, with Grande adding to fears with her confusion over the illness. “I’m scared that I might have to cancel some things, so this is kind just a heads up of like I don’t know what’s happening with my body, and I’m really disappointed and freaked out of why I can’t get better because it’s been over three weeks at this point,” Grande revealed to her fans. Pneumonia? Tuberculosis? Pleurisy? Over-reacting to a slight cold?
Dwayne Johnson has become the victim of another sick death hoax after a fake news story suggesting he’d died in a stunt accident went viral. The post purported to be from BBC News and featured the headline “Dwayne The Rock Johnson Dies at 47 after a terrible stunt attempted failed”. The link took social media users to a fake website rather than the legitimate BBC site and it horrified fans as it circulated online. The 47-year-old actor and wrestler has yet to comment on the hoax, but he has been active on social media since, so he is alive. This isn’t the first time The Rock has been a target for a death hoax. In 2011 and 2014, the Fast and Furious star was declared dead by online trolls. He responded to the 2011 rumours on his Facebook page, telling fans: “Rumours of my death are false. “I’m still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” In 2014, trolls circulated a fake story suggested Johnson had been killed in an accident on a movie set in New Zealand. The fake report declared: “Actor Dwayne Johnson died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – June 10, 2014. “Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set.” However, the movie star was very much alive and well at the time and went on to make several shit films.
On This Day
- 1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.
- 1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason. It didn’t end well…
- 1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1796 – Catherine the Great, of Russia (b. 1729)
- 1917 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator (b. 1840)
- 1940 – Eric Gill, English sculptor and typeface designer (b. 1882)
- 1968 – Mervyn Peake, English poet, author, and illustrator (b. 1911)
Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or, more commonly, as H. H. Holmes, was an American serial killer. While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is only traceable to 1940s pulp magazines. Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building which he owned, supposedly called the World’s Fair Hotel (informally called “The Murder Castle”. Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone.
One of Holmes’ early murder victims was his mistress, Julia Smythe. She and her daughter disappeared on Christmas Eve of 1891, and Holmes later claimed she had died during an abortion, though what truly happened to the two was never confirmed. Another likely Holmes paramour, Emeline Cigrande, began working in the building in May 1892, and disappeared that December. Another woman who vanished, Edna Van Tassel, is also believed to have been among Holmes’ victims.
While working in Chicago, Holmes met and became close friends with Benjamin Pitezel. Holmes used Pitezel as his right-hand man for several criminal schemes; a district attorney later described Pitezel as “Holmes’ tool … his creature”. Holmes had an entrepreneurial spirit. Based on his former medical education and his connections, he was able to sell skeletons to medical labs and schools. “He, and his creature were accused of stripping the flesh off the bodies, dissecting them, and preparing the viable skeletons. The rest of the remains would be tossed in pits of lime or acid, effectively breaking down the remaining evidence.
Whilst briefly incarcerated for the first time, on the charge of selling mortgaged goods in St. Louis, he struck up a conversation with a convicted outlaw named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence for fraud. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 (equivalent to $300,000 today) by taking out a policy on Pitezel and then faking his death. Instead, Holmes killed Pitezel by knocking him unconscious with chloroform and setting his body on fire with the use of benzene. As with all good plans, he became rather unstuck when he was forced to take on Pitezel’s children, who he later confessed to murdering by forcing them into a large trunk and locking them inside. He drilled a hole in the lid of the trunk and put one end of a hose through the hole, attaching the other end to a gas line to asphyxiate the girls. Holmes buried their nude bodies in the cellar of his rental house. Frank Geyer, a Philadelphia police detective assigned to investigate the disappearance of the missing children found the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in the cellar of the Toronto home. And thus Holmes’ murder spree finally ended when he was arrested after Hedgepeth informed the police of Holmes’ prior intentions.
In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toronto, and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 (worth $226,000 today) by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession, which was quickly found to be mostly nonsense. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements.
On May 7, 1896, preceding his execution, Holmes was served boiled eggs, dry toast, and coffee as his last meal. He was then hanged at Moyamensing Prison, for the murder of Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in cement and buried 10 feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Holmes’ neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. In 2017, amid allegations Holmes had in fact escaped execution, Holmes’ body was exhumed for testing. Due to his coffin being contained in cement, his body was found not to have decomposed normally. His clothes were almost perfectly preserved and his mustache was found to be intact. The body was positively identified as being that of Holmes with his teeth. Holmes was then reburied.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lisa Bonet (52), Missi Pyle (47), Maggie Gyllenhaal (42), Martha Plimpton (49), Beverly D’Angelo (68), Jonny Lee Miller (47), Petula Clark (87), Russell Tovey (38), Sandahl Bergman (68), Paul McGann (60), Gerard Butler (50), Whoopi Goldberg (64), John de Lancie (71), Jimmy Kimmel (52), Anne Hathaway (37), Ryan Gosling (39), Wallace Shawn (76), Max Grodénchik (67), Neil Young (74), Mariella Frostrup (57), Leonardo DiCaprio (45), Demi Moore (57), Stanley Tucci (59), Calista Flockhart (55), Taron Egerton (30), and Hugh Bonneville (56).
We begin this week by awarding 65 points to Sylvia for correctly guessing that Guy Byrne would kick the bucket this year. This leaves seven of us yet to score this year, and as always, one of the seven is me. You’d think I’d be good at this now, having run this thing for 28 years…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brian Tarantina, 60, American actor (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, City by the Sea, Gilmore Girls).
- Bob Norris, 90, American model (Marlboro Man).
- Gay Byrne, 85, Irish broadcaster (The Late Late Show, The Gay Byrne Show, The Meaning of Life).
- Tazeen Ahmad, 48, British journalist and broadcaster (NBC, BBC, Channel 4), cancer.
- Robert Freeman, 82, British photographer (With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Rubber Soul) and graphic designer.
- Nik Powell, 69, British film producer and record executive, co-founder of Virgin Records.
- Brian Mawhinney, 79, British politician, MP (1979–2005), Minister for Health (1992–1994) and Shadow Home Secretary (1997–1998).
In Other News
Donald Trump “stumbles, slurs and gets confused”, according to a new book by a senior White House official, who claims the US president “deserves to be fired”. The anonymous staff member questions Mr Trump’s fitness for office in a book published later this month under the title A Warning. “I am not qualified to diagnose the president’s mental acuity,” the author writes, according to a review by The Washington Post. “All I can tell you is that normal people who spend any time with Donald Trump are uncomfortable by what they witness. “He stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesising information, not occasionally but with regularity. “Those who would claim otherwise are lying to themselves or to the country.” Mr Trump is described variously as “a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower” and an “elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard” of a nursing home while “cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him”. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time,” the author adds. The anonymous official admits he sat in “uncomfortable silence” as the president made offensive jokes about a woman’s appearance or performance. The anonymous official says that “the last straw” which prompted his decision to speak out was the president’s attempt to prevent the White House flag being lowered to half-mast after the death of senator John McCain.
A woman nearly died from an allergic reaction after having sex with her husband! The 46-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland, suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a medication her husband was taking through exposure to her husband’s semen, according to the case report in the American Journal of Medicine. The report, titled “Almost Killed by Love: A Cautionary Coital Tale”, said she complained of dizziness, diarrhoea, itchy hands and feet, and severe sweating shortly afterwards. The woman went to A&E and doctors initially believed she was suffering from sepsis due to her low blood pressure and she was put on an IV drip and given various antibiotics. However, further tests revealed she was suffering from anaphylactic shock. It was found that her husband had been treating a bacterial infection with a course of an antibiotic called nafcillin, which contains penicillin. The woman had a history of penicillin allergy since she was a child and said she had not been exposed to penicillin since then. The authors said they believe the woman was “exposed to nafcillin concentrated in the seminal fluid”. After her blood pressure normalised and her symptoms improved, the woman was discharged from hospital with an epipen. She was instructed to abstain from sexual intercourse with her husband until at least one week after he completed his course of antibiotics.
A man has died attempting to eat 50 eggs to settle a dispute with a friend. The pair were visiting the Bibiganj market area in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district, in India, when they began arguing, police said. To settle the disagreement, they agreed on a Rs2,000 (£22) bet that each could be the first to eat 50 eggs in one sitting. Police say Subhash Yada had just begun eating his 42nd egg when he collapsed and fell unconscious. The 42-year-old was rushed to hospital but died just hours later. Doctors believe Mr Yada died from overeating, according to the Indo-Asian News Service. However his family has refused to comment on his death. But this eggy chap isn’;t the first to die stuffing his face! In August this year, Dana Hutchings died after choking and hitting his face on a table as he fell to the ground during a taco-eating contest in California. Medical staff attempted to clear airway of food but he died less than half an hour after arriving at hospital. Bethan Gaskin, 24, also choked to death in February while trying to see how many Jaffa Cakes she could fit inside her mouth. The young mother stopped breathing and suffered a heart attack after they became lodged in her throat. Student Caitlin Nelson, 22, collapsed just minutes into a pancake-eating contest during a charity fundraiser at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, US, in 2017. She later died in hospital. Take this as a warning peeps, chew your food!
On This Day
- 1580 – After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads over 600 people, including papal soldiers and civilians, at Dún an Óir, Ireland.
- 1871 – Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, famously greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.
- 1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood explodes at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands, killing at least 432 and wounding 371.
- 1983 – Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0.
- 1989 – Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.
- 1982 – Leonid Brezhnev, Ukrainian-Russian general and politician, 4th Head of State of the Soviet Union (b. 1906)
- 2006 – Jack Palance, American boxer and actor (b. 1919)
- 2010 – Dino De Laurentiis, Italian-American, producer, and production manager (b. 1919)
Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq from 16th July 1979 until 9th April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party which espoused a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism. Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17th July Revolution) that brought him and the party to power in Iraq. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some in the Arab world lauded Saddam for opposing the United States and attacking Israel, he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship. The total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam’s government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000. Saddam’s invasions of Iran and Kuwait also resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair erroneously accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Following the war, Saddam’s Ba’ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Saddam’s whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Baghdad and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Saddam were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Saddam released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting. On 13th December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit.
Following his capture, Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the American base near Baghdad. The trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi Interim Government and he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq’s Supreme Court of Appeals.
Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30th December 2006, despite his wish to be executed by firing squad (which he argued was the lawful military capital punishment citing his military position as the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi military). In his final hours, he refused offers of cigarettes and a last meal of chicken and shawarma rice.” Other sources state Saddam ate his last meal of chicken and rice and had a cup of hot water with honey. The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighbourhood of northeast Baghdad. Saudi Arabia condemned Iraqi authorities for carrying on with the execution on a holy day. A presenter from the Al—Ikhbariya television station officially stated “There is a feeling of surprise and disapproval that the verdict has been applied during the holy months and the first days of Eid al-Adha. Leaders of Islamic countries should show respect for this blessed occasion … not demean it.” On his way to the gallows, Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped that is… His last words were equally defiant. “Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians.” Video of the execution was recorded on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy. It was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his remains lay that Saddam’s body had been stabbed six times after the execution. A second unofficial video, apparently showing Saddam’s body on a trolley, emerged several days later. It sparked speculation that the execution was carried out incorrectly as Saddam Hussein had a gaping hole in his neck. Saddam’s demeanour while being led to the gallows have been discussed by two witnesses, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad and Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie. The accounts of the two witnesses are contradictory as Haddad describes Saddam as being strong in his final moments whereas al-Rubaie says Saddam was clearly afraid. Saddam was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, on 31st December 2006. He was buried 3 km (2 mi) from his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. His tomb was reported to have been destroyed in March 2015. Before it was destroyed, a Sunni tribal group reportedly removed his body to a secret location.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Taron Egerton (29), Hugh Bonneville (55), Neil Gaiman (58), Ennio Morricone (90), Robert Duncan McNeill (54), Lou Ferrigno (67), Alfre Woodard (67), Matthew Rhys (45), Gretchen Mol (47), Richard Curtis (63), Gordon Ramsay (53), Adam Devine (36), Emma Stone (31), Ethan Hawke (49), Rebecca Romijn (47), Thandie Newton (47), Sally Field (73), Maria Shriver (64), Lori Singer (62), Nigel Havers (68), Famke Janssen (55), Sam Rockwell (51), Tilda Swinton (59), Robert Patrick (61), Tatum O’Neal (56), Armin Shimerman (70), Elke Sommer (79), Tamzin Outhwaite (49), Chris Addison (48), Art Garfunkel (78), Matthew McConaughey (50), Ralph Macchio (58), Olivia Taylor Dudley (34), and Loretta Swit (82).
A quiet week in the celebrity death circles. You are forgiven for not knowing anyone on the list below. However, an excellent time to remind you to start researching for next year, whether that be looking back through Dead Pool articles or hunting down those celebs who have been unwell for some reason or another.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- John Witherspoon, 77, American actor (Friday, The Wayans Bros., The Boondocks).
- Rudy Boesch, 91, American Navy SEAL, reality show contestant (Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: All Stars) and host (Combat Missions), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Florence Giorgetti, 75, French actress (La Grande Bouffe, The Lacemaker, Pepe Carvalho).
- Annick Alane, 94, French actress (Hibernatus, Pour la peau d’un flic, Three Men and a Cradle).
- Geetanjali, 72, Indian actress (Seetharama Kalyanam, Murali Krishna, Kalam Marindi), cardiac arrest.
In Other News
Nigel Benn has been forced to call off his controversial comeback fight after sustaining a shoulder injury in training. The 55-year-old had been due to face Sakio Bika in a one-off contest at the Resort World Arena in Birmingham on November 23rd. But Benn, who last fought 23 years ago when he lost a rematch to Steve Collins, revealed the bout against Bika is now off. He said “I have been dreaming of a one-off fight for years and I’m heartbroken I’ve had to call it off.” Benn’s clash with Bika was to have been sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority. Although Benn did not formally apply for a licence to the British Boxing Board of Control, its general secretary Robert Smith indicated there was no chance of his request being considered. In his prime, Benn won middleweight and super-middleweight world titles and was involved in some of the defining fights of his generation against the likes of Chris Eubank, Michael Watson and, tragically, Gerald McClellan. Announcing his comeback in September, Benn said: “It is my decision to box again (although may be seen by some as ‘controversial’). “However, unlike many boxers, I have continued to maintain my fitness and healthy lifestyle since my last fight with Steve Collins. “I acknowledge the risks associated with the sport, and fully understand the importance of being fully assessed by medical professionals. “Therefore, I’ve welcomed the requirements of BIBA to clearly establish that I AM ‘fit to box’. There appears little chance of the contest being rescheduled for a later date.
Earlier this year the actor and comedian Kevin Hart was involved in a major car accident while in a car in Malibu, California. The Jumanji star suffered major injuries to his back after he was involved in the incident in September with friend Jared Black, who was driving the car, and his fiancée Rebecca Broxterman. And now, two months later, Kevin has spoken out the difficult accident, opening up to fans about his ‘world was changed forever’ after the crash and how he has moved on from it. Taking to his Instagram page, the comedian shared a video with his nearly 81 million followers that shows his intensive rehabilitation and recovery over the last couple of months. “Basically you realise you’re not in control,” he said. “No matter how much you think you’re in control, you’re not in control. And at the end of the day it can all be over.” In the video the star can be seen in a hospital, leaning on a frame to try and stand up. He also shared clips of him undergoing physical therapy at home and struggling through rehabilitation exercises. The dad-of-four also shared a series of clips that show him walking around the house and spending time with his wife and children while wearing a back brace. Saying that the accident was a “message from God”, the star added, “Life is funny, because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things that you needed most. “In this case I feel that God told me to sit down. When you’re moving too fast and doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things you’re meant to see.” “After my accident I see things differently” he continued. “I see life from a while new perspective. My appreciation for life is through the roof. “I’m thankful for my family, my friends, for the people who simply ride with me and have been with me, because you stood by me. My fans – thank you for all of your love and support.” Kevin also showed fans a clip of his meeting with a team of doctors, who say to him that will take a year to fully recover, to which the star replies, “I’m not in a rush. I’m thankful for simply still being here.”
On This Day
- 1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” (then defined as at least 200 lines) service.
- 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
- 1990 – British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky Television plc merge to form BSkyB as a result of massive losses.
- 1950 – George Bernard Shaw, author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
- 1996 – Eva Cassidy, American singer (b. 1963)
- 2014 – Acker Bilk, English singer and clarinet player (b. 1929)
Ricky Ray Rector was executed for the 1981 murder of police officer Robert Martin in Conway, Arkansas. On March 21, 1981, Rector and some friends drove to a dance hall at Tommy’s Old-Fashioned Home-Style Restaurant in Conway. When one friend who could not pay the $3 cover charge was refused entry, Rector became incensed and pulled a .38 calibre pistol from his waist band. He fired several shots, wounding two and killing a third man named Arthur Criswell, who died almost instantly after being struck in the throat and forehead. Rector left the scene of the murder in a friend’s car and wandered the city for three days, staying in the woods or with relatives. On March 24, Rector’s sister convinced him to turn himself in. Rector agreed to surrender, but only to Officer Robert Martin, whom he had known since he was a child. Martin arrived at Rector’s mother’s home shortly after 3 p.m. and chatted with Rector’s mother and sister. Shortly thereafter, Rector arrived and greeted Martin. As Martin turned away to continue his conversation with Rector’s mother, Rector drew his pistol from behind his back and fired two shots into Martin, striking him in the jaw and neck. Rector then turned and walked out of the house. Once he had walked past his mother’s backyard, Rector put his gun to his own temple and fired. Rector was quickly discovered by other police officers and taken to the local hospital. The suicide attempt effectively resulted in a lobotomy. Rector survived the gunshot and was put on trial for the murders of Criswell and Martin. His defence attorneys argued that Rector was intellectually impaired and not competent to stand trial. However, after hearing conflicting testimony from several experts who had evaluated Rector, Judge George F. Hartje ruled that Rector was competent to stand trial. Rector was convicted on both counts and sentenced to death. Rector was subject to a unique overlap of controversies in 1992, during his execution in Arkansas. An oft-cited example of his mental insufficiency is his decision to save the dessert from his last meal “for later,” which would have been after his execution. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the execution of people with mental retardation in Atkins v. Virginia, ruling that the practice constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; however, it is not clear that this ruling would have applied to Rector because his brain damage was caused by his suicide attempt after having committed the two murders for which he was convicted.
For his last meal, Rector requested and received a steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie. As noted above, Rector left the pie on the side of the tray, telling the corrections officers who came to take him to the execution chamber that he was “saving it for later.” The slice of pecan pie was not disposed of until Rector had been executed. Rector was executed by lethal injection. It took medical staff more than fifty minutes to find a suitable vein. The curtain remained closed between Rector and the witnesses, but some reported they could hear Rector moaning. The administrator of the State Department of Corrections Medical Program said “the moans did come as a team of two medical people—that had grown to five—worked on both sides of his body to find a vein. That may have contributed to his occasional outbursts.” The state later attributed the difficulty in finding a suitable vein to Rector’s great weight and to his having been administered an antipsychotic medication. Unsurprisingly he didn’t leave any last words.
Last Week’s Birthdays
David Schwimmer (52), Stefanie Powers (76), k.d. lang (57), Toni Collette (46), Jenny McCarthy (46), Anthony Kiedis (56), Peter Jackson (57), Stephen Rea (72), Sanjeev Bhaskar (55), Michael J. Anderson (65), Vanilla Ice (51), Clémence Poésy (36), Henry Winkler (73), Jessica Hynes (46), Ivanka Trump (37), Winona Ryder (47), Rufus Sewell (51), Richard Dreyfuss (71), Dan Castellaneta (61), Joaquin Phoenix (44), Annie Potts (66), Julia Roberts (51), Matt Smith (36), Gwendoline Christie (40), and Bill Gates (63).
Thanks to some detective work from Doug, he’s found a couple of deaths I have missed. I’ve also run through everyones lists and found a few more, obviously I’ve scored you all accordingly. So, a few more points awarded to quite a few of you, which certainly makes things rather interesting at the top of the league table.
However Trish has lost the accolade of getting the first death of the year as Lee managed to trump her with Sayed Ashraful Islam by five days. Sorry Trish!
So, we’re pretty much up to date but I’d like to give an honourable mention to Abi, she’s listed quite a few Death Row inmates who have indeed been offed by the State, but alas they’ve not been listed on the Wiki page, thus not earning precious points. With five deaths under her belt she should be at the top of the table, but those pesky rules….
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Kathleen Blanco, 76, American politician, Governor (2004–2008) and Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana (1996–2004), member of the Louisiana House (1984–1989), ocular melanoma. Died on 18/10/2019
- Julie Gibson, 106, American actress (Nice Girl?, The Feminine Touch, Lucky Cowboy) and singer. Died on 02/10/2019
- Sayed Ashraful Islam, 67, Bangladeshi politician, MP (since 2008) and Minister of Public Administration (since 2009), lung cancer. Died 03.01.2019
- Qin Hanzhang, 111, Chinese engineer and food scientist, heart attack. Died 15/08/2019
- Josip Elic, 98, American actor (The Twilight Zone, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), complications from a fall.
- Gustav Gerneth, 114, German supercentenarian, unvalidated world’s oldest man (since 2019).
- Chris, 9, Australian sheep, world record holder for heaviest fleece.
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 48, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), suicide by explosive device.
- Ivan Milat, 74, Australian serial killer (backpacker murders), oesophageal cancer.
In Other News
Krept, one half of Krept and Konan, has cancelled his shows in October after a warning from his doctor. The pair were due to do seven shows back-to-back in November performing songs from their newest album Revenge is Sweet. He says he has been “back and forth” from hospital since he was attacked backstage at the BBC’s 1Xtra Live event in October. The rapper says his plans for the tour “require 100% strength”. Krept was “slashed” in a backstage scuffle at the event in Arena Birmingham and treated on site. Following the assault, the concert was called off early and the headliners didn’t get to perform. West Midlands police told Newsbeat no arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing. Krept says he made the decision to postpone the tour because he didn’t want to “collapse on stage”. He said: “All tickets remain valid of course and I promise it will be worth the wait… health is priority and I’m sorry for any inconvenience.” The show in London’s O2 will go ahead as planned in December. Shall we remind this tough rapper that 53 year old President Theodore Roosevelt once read a 50 page speech which took over 90 minutes after he was shot in the chest.
Billy Connolly has opened up about some “awful” symptoms he has experienced after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as the comedian admitted he recently “started to drool”. The 76 year old got candid about living with Parkinson’s disease in an interview with Chris Evans, 53, on Virgin Radio. The comedian, who was diagnosed with the condition six years ago, opened up about some “awful” symptoms he is currently dealing with. He told the presenter: “I’ve started to drool which is a new one on me. “This disease it gives you a new thing every now and again that you have to deal with and drooling is my latest.” Detailing other aspects of the disease, Billy added: “I walk unsteadily and my hearing is going and it’s bizarre that bits of me are fallen off but it’s interesting.” The Scottish performer went on to explain why he has been avoiding taking to the stage since his diagnosis. When Chris quizzed him on why he is reluctant to perform live, Billy admitted: “It would affect my performance. “I don’t think the way I used to, I don’t think at the same speed as I used to. And because I don’t need to. “I don’t really know if the performance bit has gone because I have to get into the performance mode to see that.” “And steadily more symptoms come and it’s incurable. It’s not going to end. “As a matter of fact I had a Russian doctor in New York who said, ‘You realise this is an incurable disease’. “And I said, ‘You’ve got to get a grip of yourself, stop calling it an incurable disease, say we have yet to find the cure’. Give the guy a light in the tunnel. Incurable is such an awful thing to say to somebody.”
As you will have seen from the lists above, Ivan Milat, the notorious Australian serial killer who kidnapped and murdered hitchhikers, has died aged 74. Milat had been serving a life sentence for killing seven backpackers between 1989 and 1992 and dumping their bodies in a New South Wales forest. He died of cancer in a Sydney hospital early on Sunday local time. Police said Milat’s lifelong refusal to admit his crimes had hampered further investigations into the killings and other unsolved cases. His murder victims were three Germans, two Britons and two Australians. All were aged between 19 and 22. Milat was arrested after targeting another backpacker, British man Paul Onions, who escaped and alerted police. The 2005 Australian film Wolf Creek is based on the backpacker murders of the two British females. It’s sequel was based on the murders of the two Germans.
On This Day
- 939 – Æthelstan, the first king of all England, dies and is succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund I.
- 1962 – By refusing to agree to the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a US warship, Vasily Arkhipov averts nuclear war.
- 1992 – United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay, precipitating debate about gays in the military that results in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.
- 939 – Æthelstan, English king (b. 894)
- 1988 – Charles Hawtrey, English actor, singer, and pianist (b. 1914)
- 2013 – Lou Reed, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)
Brandon Astor Jones was an American criminal who was executed by lethal injection by the state of Georgia on February 3rd, 2016. Jones, aged 72, was the oldest person on Georgia’s death row at the time he was executed. He was first sentenced to death on October 17, 1979 for his involvement in the felony murder of Roger Tackett on June 17 of that year during a robbery of a Tenneco convenience store, of which Tackett was the manager. According to evidence at his trial, Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were arrested at the scene by a Cobb County policeman who had driven a stranded motorist to the convenience store to use a pay phone. The officer knew the store usually closed at midnight and was suspicious when he saw a car out front with the driver’s side door open and lights still on inside the store. In the storeroom, the officer found 29-year-old Tackett, the station manager, who had been shot in the legs and arms and beaten before the fatal contact shot was fired behind his left ear. Both Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were apprehended in the storeroom, literally caught red-handed. Tests showed each man had recently fired a gun or handled a recently fired gun. The cash drawer had been removed and was found wrapped in a plastic bag. Jones was convicted in relation to this murder along with Van Roosevelt Solomon who was executed in 1985 by electrocution at age 41. In 1989, a federal court ordered Jones to be re-sentenced because the jurors who had convicted him had improperly brought a Bible into the deliberation room. He was re-sentenced to death in 1997. e
Jones was to be executed early on February 3, 2016 by lethal IV injection, ten days before his 73rd birthday, he declined to make a final statement and did not make a special meal request so was given the standard issue menu of chicken and rice, rutabagas, seasoned turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, bread pudding and fruit punch. Following his meal, he waited in a holding cell a few steps from the death chamber as the appointed time came and went amid a flurry of last-minute court filings for mercy. The executioner team struggled for an hour to insert the IV into Jones’ veins, spending 24 minutes trying to get it into a vein in his left arm, another eight minutes trying his right arm and then they asked a doctor in attendance to insert it into Jones’ groin which took 13 minutes. Jones fought death. His eyes closed within a minute of the warden leaving the execution chamber, but 6 minutes later his eyes popped open. He looked at a clock on the wall, and then appeared to look at the man who prosecuted him in 1979, former Cobb County District Attorney Tom Charron, who was sitting on the front row. Jones was pronounced dead at 12:46 AM.
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Cleese (79), James Cosmo (71), Robert Picardo (65), Kelly Osbourne (34), Cary Elwes (56), Seth MacFarlane (45), Jon Heder (41), Roger Allam (65), Keith Urban (51), Nancy Cartwright (61), Katy Perry (34), Glynis Barber (63), Kevin Kline (71), F. Murray Abraham (79), Sarah Greene (61), Emilia Clarke (33), Ryan Reynolds (43), Ang Lee (65), Sam Raimi (60), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (60), Cat Deeley (43), Christopher Lloyd (81), Bob Odenkirk (57), Saffron Burrows (47), Jeff Goldblum (67), Derek Jacobi (81), Catherine Deneuve (76), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (44), Ken Watanabe (60), Kim Kardashian West (39), Everett McGill (74), Viggo Mortensen (61), Danny Boyle (63), and Snoop Dogg (48).
Since I took a brief holiday last weekend, there are plenty of points to award this week. Paul C took time out to read through his list and found that I had missed one of his names, specifically actress Fay McKenzie who died back in April at the age of 101. With the death of Leah Bracknell, Paul’s tally is now six deaths!!!
But we must also congratulate Abi, Doug, Ceri, and Neil who also had Leah Bracknell listed, 95 points each; but a special round of applause goes to Debbie, Lee, and Ashley who listed her as their Woman and score 195 points each!!! So a huge upheaval in the table.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
5th Oct – 12th Oct
- Stephen Moore, 81, British actor (A Bridge Too Far, The Last Place on Earth, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).
- Rip Taylor, 88, American actor (The $1.98 Beauty Show, Chatterbox, Down to Earth) and comedian.
- Juliette Kaplan, 80, British actress (Last of the Summer Wine, Coronation Street), cancer.
- Robert Forster, 78, American actor (Jackie Brown, The Black Hole, Medium Cool), brain cancer.
- Alexei Leonov, 85, Russian cosmonaut (Voskhod 2), first person to walk in space.
13th Oct – 19th Oct
- Richard Huckle, 33, British convicted sex offender, strangled and stabbed.
- Leah Bracknell, 55, British actress (Emmerdale, Casualty 1900s, The Royal Today), lung cancer.
- Patrick Day, 27, American professional boxer, brain injuries sustained in bout.
In Other News
Eddie Van Halen is suffering from throat cancer which he believes he contracted after years of sucking on his metal guitar pick, according to reports. The veteran rocker, 64, was diagnosed with cancer nearly 20 years ago and has been travelling between the United States and Germany for treatment. He had a third of his tongue removed in 2000 and had reportedly been declared cancer free in 2002 but has now been to Germany to get radiation treatment over the last five years. The Van Halen star, who was a ‘heavy smoker’, is said to blame holding the pick in his mouth while on stage for his diagnosis. Eddie told Billboard in 2015: ‘I used metal picks – they’re brass and copper – which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. ‘Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that’s filled with electromagnetic energy. So that’s one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it’s possible.’ Eddie’s friend and TOTO guitarist Steve Lukather said ‘health issues’ were stopping the group – who are also made up of singer David Lee Roth, Eddie’s brother Alex Van Halen, who plays drums, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass guitar – from touring. The band last performed in October 2015 at at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl and there were rumours the band’s classic lineup were set to perform for the first time since 1984.
Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge Shirley Ballas has been struck by illness and had to be hooked up to a vitamin drip just before Saturday’s show. It comes after Shirley was sent death threats over the early elimination of contestants Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell. Shirley, 59, revealed she was needing some TLC after falling ill after a ‘tough’ week. Shirley shared a picture to Instagram of her lying down in a cosy jumper while a drip was fixed to her left arm on a home visit. “Full of all sorts of things Vitamin c, Magnesium b12 and the list goes on. Feeling under the weather today as a result of a tough week,” she told her followers. “Hopefully we’ll be right as rain for Saturday,” she added. Looks like she was, but with death threats coming in, who knows what will happen!
As you may have seen in the listings, some good news. Richard Huckle, 33, from Ashford, Kent, who was jailed for numerous sex crimes against Malaysian children has been found stabbed to death in prison. In 2016, he was given 22 life sentences after admitting 71 charges of sex abuse of children aged between six months and 12 years, between 2006 and 2014. It is understood he was attacked on Sunday in his cell at Full Sutton Prison, near York, with what was described as a makeshift knife. Police were called shortly after 12:30pm and have launched an investigation into his death, which they are treating as suspicious. Huckle’s trial at the Old Bailey in 2016 heard that investigators who checked his computer found more than 20,000 indecent pictures and videos of his assaults. These were shared with paedophiles worldwide through a hidden website on the dark web. Huckle, who worked as a freelance photographer, tried to make a business out of his abuse by crowd-funding the release of the images. He was compiling a paedophile’s manual at the time of his arrest in 2014. At the end of his trial, Judge Peter Rook said Huckle’s sentence reflected the “public abhorrence” over his “campaign of rape”.
On This Day
- 1944 – Liquefied natural gas leaks from storage tanks in Cleveland and then explodes, levelling 30 blocks and killing 130 people.
- 1973 – The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.
- 1977 – Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s airplane crashes. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines perish in the crash.
- 2011 – Libyan Civil War: Rebel forces capture Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte and kill him shortly thereafter.
- 1964 – Herbert Hoover, American engineer, 31st President of the United States (b. 1874)
- 1989 – Anthony Quayle, English actor and director (b. 1913)
- 1994 – Burt Lancaster, American actor (b. 1913)
- 2011 – Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan colonel, Prime Minister of Libya (b. 1942)
Robert Alton Harris was an American car thief, burglar, kidnapper and murderer who was executed at San Quentin State Prison in 1992 for the murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967. Harris was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was abused as a child. He had run-ins with police as early as age 10, and was first placed into juvenile detention at age 13 for stealing a car. His mother abandoned him at age 14 and he was soon after placed into juvenile detention after stealing another car. On July 5, 1978, Harris and his younger brother happened upon John Mayeski and Michael Baker, both 16, sitting in a green Ford LTD eating hamburgers in a supermarket parking lot in Mira Mesa. Mayeski and Baker were best friends who had planned to spend the day fishing to celebrate Mayeski’s newly acquired driver’s license. Robert Harris commandeered Mayeski’s car and ordered him to drive to Miramar Lake, with Daniel Harris following in another vehicle. Robert Harris told the boys that they would be using the vehicle to rob a bank, but that no one would be hurt. At Miramar Lake, the Harris brothers ordered the boys to kneel, whereupon the boys began to pray. Robert told the boys to “Quit crying, and die like men”, then shot both boys multiple times. The Harris brothers then returned to Robert’s Mira Mesa home and finished the victims’ half-eaten hamburgers while Robert boasted about the killings. About an hour later, the Harris brothers robbed the Mira Mesa branch of the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank located across the street from where they had abducted Mayeski and Baker, and fled with about $2,000. A witness to the robbery followed the Harris’ to their home and notified police. The Harris brothers were arrested less than an hour after the robbery. One of the officers who apprehended the Harris brothers was Steven Baker, father of victim Michael Baker, who at the time was unaware that his son had been killed. On March 6, 1979, Robert Harris was convicted in the San Diego County Superior Court of two counts of murder in the first degree with special circumstances as well as two counts of kidnapping, and was sentenced to death. Daniel Harris was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to six years in state prison; he was released in 1983.
Harris was executed on April 21, 1992, in the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison—the first execution in California in 25 years. For his last meal, he requested and was given a 21-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, two large Domino’s pizzas, ice cream, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes. At 6:01a.m., Harris was escorted into the gas chamber. The execution order was given at 6:07a.m., and Harris died at 6:21a.m. Harris’ execution is specifically remembered for his choice of final words (recorded by Warden Daniel Vasquez): “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper.” It was the subject of a 1995 Dutch documentary film, Procedure 769, witness to an execution. This is a misquote of a line used in the 1991 film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey: “You might be a king or a little street sweeper but sooner or later you dance with the reaper.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Rebecca Ferguson (36), Michael Gambon (79), Trey Parker (50), John Lithgow (74), Philip Pullman (73), John le Carré (88), Zac Efron (32), Jean-Claude Van Damme (59), Martina Navratilova (63), Pam Dawber (68), Felicity Jones (36), Michael McKean (72), George Wendt (71), Mark Gatiss (53), Eminem (47), Angela Lansbury (94), Tim Robbins (61), Suzanne Somers (73), Peter Bowles (83), Dominic West (50), Sarah Ferguson (60), Steve Coogan (54), Cliff Richard (79), Sacha Baron Cohen (48), Himesh Patel (29), Paul Simon (78), and Chris Carter (63).
A fairly quiet week for the world of celebrity deaths, worry not though, we have plenty for you to read. Next weeks issue will be deferred until the following Saturday as this writer will be partying hard and unable to put pen to paper.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Sissons, 77, British journalist and broadcaster (BBC News, ITN, Question Time).
- Diahann Carroll, 84, American actress (Julia, Dynasty, Claudine), Tony winner (1962), cancer.
- Ginger Baker, 80, English Hall of Fame drummer (Cream, Blind Faith, Ginger Baker’s Air Force).
In Other News
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders underwent emergency surgery after suffering a heart attack, his campaign has confirmed. The senator was taken to hospital on Tuesday after complaining of chest pain at a campaign event in Nevada. Doctors operated on Mr Sanders, 78, to remove a blockage in one of his arteries. His doctors said “two stents were placed in a blocked coronary artery in a timely fashion”. A stent is a small mesh tube used to help keep arteries open. Receiving stents is “a minimally invasive procedure”, typically with a short recovery time, the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says. Tehe doctors, Arturo Marchand and Arjun Gururaj, said Mr Sanders’s other arteries were “normal”. On Friday, Mr Sanders was well enough to be discharged from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, the doctors said. The two doctors said that, while Mr Sanders has made “good progress”, he has been advised “to follow up with his personal physician”. In an upbeat statement, Mr Sanders said: “After taking a short time off, I look forward to getting back to work.”
It was a horrific bison attack that left trail runner Kyler Bourgeous with a collapsed lung and cracked ribs. But when the fully-recovered 30-year-old wanted to impress a date three months later, he invited her to the state park where he had been gored. Bison attacks are rare, he reasoned. And the scenery at Antelope Island in the US state of Utah was too stunning to be scared of going back: “I’ve never seen better sunsets anywhere,” he said. It was to be, it turned out, an unwise decision. His date became the second person attacked there this year. Kayleigh Davis was airlifted to hospital with a gored thigh and broken ankle after being charged by one of the beasts. “I thought my situation was just a freak accident,” Mr Bourgeous, from nearby Syracuse, told the Washington Post on Monday. “But apparently, they’re a lot more aggressive than I ever thought.” Neither he nor Ms Davis are understood to have made the mistake of approaching the animals. Both are keen outdoor types, and know the 900kg monsters are best left alone. “There’s a fair number of people that assume by association that this was somehow my fault, because I was there when it happened again,” Mr Bourgeous say. “I would never intentionally approach a bison.” During his own ordeal on 1 June, the keen cyclist and climber had reached a park summit when he saw two bison. As he attempted to get out of sight, one of the beasts – which can hit speeds of 35mph – charged. His attempts to flee were in vain. “You can’t outrun bison,” he noted. He was thrown into the air by the animal. Its horns pierced his hips and armpit. As he lay on the floor, it trampled him before waiting to see if he would move again. “It’s just hovering there, waiting for you to move, and it will finish you off if you do,” he said. He was rescued after two park-users saw the incident. Yet, despite needing to use a hip drain for several weeks, Mr Bourgeous says he was determined to go back to the park, which he has been visiting since childhood.
So, when he and Ms Davis decided to have an outdoors date, it seemed like just the right location. She had gone ahead and out of sight as he put on bug spray, when a group of Scouts on bikes raced up to him to say they had just seen a woman being gored. Ms Davis later said she had seen the bison and given it space but the Scouts coming into view may have spooked it. “I looked over my shoulder, seeing it get closer,” she told the BBC. “And I looked again and it was pretty much right behind me. Right as I saw it, I flew up in the air 15 ft.” She landed on her back and – remembering conversations about her date’s previous experience – lay completely still as the bison sniffed her. Eventually, it wandered away, allowing Mr Bourgeous and other hikers to move into help. Yet despite what may now seem a disastrous date, the pair say it may have brought them closer together and they are continuing to see each other.
On This Day
- 1854 – In England the Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead leads to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.
- 1927 – Opening of The Jazz Singer, the first prominent “talkie” movie.
- 1985 – Police constable Keith Blakelock is murdered as riots erupt in the Broadwater Farm suburb of London.
- 1995 – The first planet orbiting another sun, 51 Pegasi b, is discovered.
- 1892 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet (b. 1809)
- 1951 – Will Keith Kellogg, US businessman, founded the Kellogg Company (b. 1860)
- 1980 – Hattie Jacques, English actress and producer (b. 1922)
- 1981 – Anwar Sadat, Egyptian politician, 3rd President of Egypt (b. 1918)
- 1989 – Bette Davis, American actress (b. 1908)
- 1992 – Denholm Elliott, English actor (b. 1922)
- 2018 – Montserrat Caballé, Spanish soprano (b. 1933)
Stephen Wayne Anderson was an American murderer who was executed at California’s San Quentin State Prison by lethal injection in 2002 for the murder of Elizabeth Lyman. He was either known to have killed or admitted to the killings of at least eight other people, including a fellow inmate and at least seven contract killings.
Anderson had been incarcerated for one count of aggravated burglary in 1971 and three counts of aggravated burglary in 1973. While incarcerated at Utah State Prison, Anderson murdered an inmate, assaulted another inmate, and assaulted a correctional officer. Anderson admitted to six other contract killings in Las Vegas, Nevada that happened prior to the crime for which he received a death sentence. On November 24, 1979, he escaped from prison, after which he worked for narcotics traffickers and committed at least one contract killing in the eastern mountains of Salt Lake County, Utah.
On May 26, 1980, Anderson, then 26, burglarised the Bloomington, California house of 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman, a retired piano teacher. In the middle of the night, Anderson cut Lyman’s telephone line with a knife, and broke into her home by removing a glass pane from her French doors. He checked the house for occupants room by room. When he entered Lyman’s bedroom, she awoke and screamed. Anderson shot her in the face from close range with a .45 calibre handgun, fatally wounding her. He covered her body with a blanket, recovered the expelled casing from the hollow-point bullet that killed her, and ransacked her house for money. He found less than $100.
Anderson then prepared himself a meal in Lyman’s kitchen. A suspicious next door neighbour called the sheriff’s department. As he was eating and watching television, sheriff’s deputies responded to the call and arrested him. He obviously admitted to the murder.
On July 24, 1981, a San Bernardino County jury sentenced Anderson to death. His last meal before the execution was two grilled cheese sandwiches with radishes, one pint of cottage cheese, a hominy/corn mixture, one slice of peach pie, and one pint of chocolate chip ice cream. When asked by the Warden if he had any last words, Mr. Anderson was very adamant that he did not. On January 29, 2002, Anderson was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison. He was pronounced dead at 12:30 am Pacific Time.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Elisabeth Shue (55), Ioan Gruffudd (45), Britt Ekland (76), Kate Winslet (43), Guy Pearce (51), Jesse Eisenberg (35), Karen Allen (67), Clive Barker (66), Neil deGrasse Tyson (60), Bob Geldof (67), Melissa Benoist (30), Dakota Johnson (29), Christoph Waltz (62), Alicia Silverstone (42), Susan Sarandon (72), Liev Schreiber (51), Sarah Lancashire (54), Lena Headey (45), Seann William Scott (42), Denis Villeneuve (51), Neve Campbell (45), Clive Owen (54), Gwen Stefani (49), Tommy Lee (56), Avery Brooks (70), Sting (67), Brie Larson (30), Zach Galifianakis (50), Julie Andrews (84), Randy Quaid (69), Monica Bellucci (55), and Omid Djalili (54).
A slightly quiet week for celebrity deaths, however we do have a point scorer!! Martin correctly guessed that Jacques Chirac would depart this plane of existence thus scoring himself a tidy 64 points.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Robert Hunter, 78, American Hall of Fame lyricist (Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan), poet and musician.
- Jacques Chirac, 86, French politician, President and Co-Prince of Andorra (1995–2007), Prime Minister (1974–1976, 1986–1988) and Mayor of Paris (1977–1995).
- Rob Garrison, 59, American actor (The Karate Kid, Iron Eagle, Prom Night).
In Other News
Nigel Benn has been described as the “fittest 55-year-old on planet Earth” as he prepares for a shock ring return. The ex-world champion has not fought professionally since November 1996 but will resume his career on 23 November, according to his promoter Mark Peters. “I wouldn’t support Nigel if I didn’t believe he was fit to box,” he added. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoc) is against the fight, which will be sanctioned by the rival British and Irish Boxing Authority (Biba). Benn – whose last fight was a defeat by Irishman Steve Collins 23 years ago – has passed all Biba’s medical tests, while there will be a specialist in head trauma and a portable brain scanner available at ringside on fight night. Biba – a rival to the BBBoC launched in 2016 – said it was happy to licence the fight, despite Benn’s age. “Nigel Benn is in amazing condition,” said Biba vice-president Gianluca di Caro. “He is a magnificent athlete. He is not taking any chances and he is minimising risk. No formal license application was made to the BBBofC – the governing body for the sport in the UK – despite the fight taking place on British soil. “We have not had a formal application for a licence from him but we had a conversation in the summer and we advised him that he was very, very unlikely to get one. “It is not in the best interests for him, or for the sport.” Brain injury charity, Headway, is uneasy about the idea of a 55-year-old boxing competitively. “Boxing at any age is an inherently dangerous sport,” said chief executive Peter McCabe. “We know that every blow to the head delivered by a boxer has the potential to cause serious and long-term brain injury or even death.”
An award-winning TV chef who was on the cusp of receiving a Michelin star when cancer treatment cruelly robbed him of his sense of taste, has revealed the devastating news that the disease has returned – giving him just 12 months to live. Tim Bilton, 47, was at the height of his career, planning to open his second restaurant and appearing on shows including the BBC’s Great British Menu, when he was first diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, in his eye in March 2013. The melanoma returned in 2015, with treatment cruelly robbing him of his sense of taste. But clear for nearly three years, Tim felt confident he had beaten it, only to discover cancer in his left leg and kidney in December which, at stage four, is incurable. Now focusing on keeping things as normal as possible for their children, despite having to give up his restaurants, showing remarkable fortitude, Tim, who has regained 80 per cent of his taste, is continuing to work as a chef. By the time his melanoma was first discovered, Tim was excelling professionally with two appearances on the BBC’s Great British Menu under his belt and a Michelin star – seen as the greatest fine dining accolade – within his grasp.
A professional hunter was killed when an elephant that had just been shot fell on top of him, according to reports. South African big-game bagger Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt in Zimbabwe on Friday when his group accidentally walked into the path of a herd of breeding elephants near Hwange National Park and three of the elephant cows charged at them. Botha fired at the rampaging pack but was caught by surprise when a fourth cow came in from the side and picked him up with her trunk. One of the other hunters shot the animal, and it collapsed on top of Botha, killing him. Botha, who leaves behind a wife and five kids, was known for taking wealthy American clients out to shoot for trophies. He specialized in hunting leopards and lions and was also an expert “houndsman” — which means he used big packs of dogs to drive deer and boar into hunters’ cross hairs, the paper said. Looks like he was beaten by his own game.
On This Day
- 1829 – The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as The Met, is founded.
- 1885 – The first practical public electric tramway in the world is opened in Blackpool, England.
- 1957 – The Kyshtym disaster is the third-worst nuclear accident ever recorded.
- 1902 – Émile Zola, French journalist, author, and playwright (b. 1840)
- 1973 – W. H. Auden, English-American poet, playwright, and critic (b. 1907)
- 1981 – Bill Shankly, Scottish footballer and manager (b. 1913)
- 1997 – Roy Lichtenstein, American painter and sculptor (b. 1923)
- 2010 – Tony Curtis, American actor (b. 1925)
Margie Velma Barfield was an American serial killer who was convicted of one murder, but who eventually confessed to six murders in total. Barfield was the first woman in the United States to be executed after the 1976 resumption of capital punishment and the first since 1962. She was also the first woman to be executed by lethal injection.
Velma Barfield was born in rural South Carolina in 1932. Her father was physically abusive and her mother, Lillian Bullard, did not intervene. She escaped by marrying Thomas Burke in 1949. The couple had two children and were reportedly happy until Barfield had a hysterectomy and developed back pain. These events led to a behavioural change in Barfield and an eventual drug addiction. Burke began to drink and Barfield’s complaints turned into bitter arguments. On April 4th 1969, after Burke had passed out, Barfield and the children left the house, and when they returned they found the structure burned and Burke dead. Luckily they were insured and a few months later she married widower Jennings Barfield, who died less than a year later from ‘heart complications’. Not long later, her mother died, exhibiting intense diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. In 1976 Barfield began caring for the elderly in Montgomery, and quite a few of her patients died of similar symptoms to her mother. Strangely enough, before they died cheques were written out to Barfield from most of the people she cared for, thus she was arrested and several autopsies later found that most of her victims had died of arsenic poisoning.
Barfield was imprisoned at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, in an area for escape-prone and mentally ill prisoners, as there was no designated area for women under death sentences at the time and she was the state’s only female death row inmate. During her stay on death row, Barfield became a devout Christian. Her last few years were spent ministering to prisoners, for which she received praise from Billy Graham. Barfield’s involvement in Christian ministry was extensive to the point that an effort was made to obtain a commutation to life imprisonment, something I doubt would have even been considered if she was a devout Muslim. A second basis for the appeal was the testimony of Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and an authority on violent behaviour, who claimed that Barfield suffered from dissociative identity disorder. Lewis testified that she had spoken to Barfield’s other personality, “Billy”, who told her that Velma had been a victim of sexual abuse, and that he, Billy, had killed her abusers. The judge was unconvinced. “One of them did it,” Lewis quoted him as saying. “I don’t care which one.”
After Barfield’s appeal was denied in federal court, she instructed her attorneys to abandon a further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barfield was executed on November 2nd 1984 at Central Prison. She released a statement before the execution: “I know that everybody has gone through a lot of pain, all the families connected, and I am sorry, and I want to thank everybody who have been supporting me all these six years.” Barfield chose as her last meal one bag of Cheetos and two 8-ounce glass bottles of Coca-Cola. Barfield was buried in a small, rural North Carolina cemetery near her first husband, Thomas Burke.
Naomi Watts (50), Hilary Duff (31), Mira Sorvino (51), Brigitte Bardot (84), Dita Von Teese (46), Bam Margera (39), Moon Unit Zappa (51), Indira Varma (46), Gwyneth Paltrow (47), Meat Loaf (72), Avril Lavigne (35), Linda Hamilton (63), Olivia Newton-John (71), Serena Williams (38), Ricky Tomlinson (80), Will Smith (51), Mark Hamill (68), Catherine Zeta-Jones (50), Michael Douglas (75), Michael Madsen (62), Heather Locklear (58), Felicity Kendal (73), Sven-Ole Thorsen (75), Bruce Springsteen (70), Karl Pilkington (47), Billie Piper (37), Tom Felton (32), Sue Perkins (50) and Ruth Jones (53).
Winner winner!! With the sad passing of Fernando Ricksen at the young age of 43, Shan has earned herself 107 points! But to outdo this enormous score, Douglas marked him down as a Maverick, thus amassing a huge 207 points. Well done both of you, especially Douglas, from memory this is only the second Maverick we’ve had since the inception of The Dead Pool.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brian Turk, 49, American actor (Carnivàle, Big Fat Liar, American Pie 2), brain cancer.
- Phyllis Newman, 86, American actress (Subways Are for Sleeping, Mannequin, To Find a Man) and singer.
- Davo Karničar, 56, Slovenian mountaineer, hit by falling tree.
- Jessica Jaymes, 40, American Hall of Fame pornographic actress.
- Suzanne Whang, 56, American actress (Las Vegas, From Here on OUT) and television host (House Hunters), breast cancer.
- Tony Mills, 57, English rock singer (Shy, TNT), pancreatic cancer.
- Fernando Ricksen, 43, Dutch footballer (Fortuna Sittard, Rangers, national team), motor neurone disease.
- Barron Hilton, 91, American businessman, Chairman of Hilton Hotels Corporation.
- Aron Eisenberg, 50, American actor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
In Other News
Dog The Bounty Hunter was hospitalised over the weekend due to a heart emergency, three months after he lost wife Beth Chapman to cancer at age 51. The TV star, 66, was taken to a Colorado hospital after he felt chest pains but doctors couldn’t pinpoint what happened – but they believe it was a possible heart attack. The doctors were trying to see if he needed some type of corrective surgery. At the time his rep released a statement on Dog’s Twitter account and said: ‘I can confirm Dog is under doctor’s care and is resting comfortably. Thank you for all your well wishes – keep ’em coming.’ On Wednesday, the reality TV star recalled the scare, explaining that he “couldn’t breathe.” “It was like I had ran a three- or four-mile run,” “There’s something haywire or it’s psychologically. I don’t know,” Chapman — who noted he’s not sure what caused the episode — added. “I guess things happen like that. I’ve never … I don’t do drugs.” “It feels much better now. And I’m going through some psychological things right now, too, so that doesn’t help,” he told the media “I think, basically, I had a broken heart. And of course, it’s going to heal.”
Sir Rod Stewart has been given the all-clear after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The rock legend made the revelation at a fundraising event on Saturday. “No-one knows this, but I thought this was about time I told everybody. I’m in the clear, now, simply because I caught it early. I have so many tests,” he said. The 74-year-old was speaking at an event for the Prostate Project and golf’s European Tour Foundation. He joked to wife Penny Lancaster that he was going to use the evening to “come out”, adding: “It’s not what you think. Two years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.” He said: “If you’re positive, and you work through it and you keep a smile on your face… I’ve worked for two years and I’ve just been happy, and the good Lord looked after me.” He urged men to get checked, adding: “Guys, you’ve got to really go to the doctor.” He was speaking at the event in Wentworth, Surrey, alongside former Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood, who has previously been treated for lung cancer. “Somebody up there likes us, Rod,” he said, the paper reported.
A man has died in Australia after a swooping magpie reportedly caused him to crash his bicycle. The 76-year old man was distracted by the bird when he crashed into a fence, suffering a head injury, police said. The incident happened on an off-road cycle path near Woonona Beach south of Sydney at about 8am on Sunday. The victim was wearing a helmet, which is a mandatory requirement for cyclists in Australia. Paramedics called to the scene treated him before he was flown to St George Hospital in Sydney. He was admitted in a critical condition and died of his injuries on Sunday evening. According to witnesses, the man was cycling with three other people when he became aware of the magpie which was swooping over a female cyclist coming towards him in the opposite direction. While he was distracted, his bicycle left the path and hit a low wooden fence and he fell to the ground. “His eyes were off the path because he was concerned about the magpie swooping him I think,” said Nathan Foster, whose wife was the cyclist being swooped by the magpie. Mark Lawrie, chief executive of the Sydney University Veterinary Teaching Hospital said it was “pretty much impossible” to qstop magpies from aggressive swooping once they had learnt the behaviour. Last month a Sydney council was forced to defend the shooting of a “particularly aggressive” magpie, which had apparently swooped and attacked people. The council had received 40 complaints about the “monster” bird over three years, which reportedly dive-bombed people, going for their faces, even outside swooping season.
On This Day
- 1692 – The last hanging of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials; others are all eventually released.
- 1888 – The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published.
- 1975 – Sara Jane Moore tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but is foiled by the Secret Service.
- 1989 – Irving Berlin, Russian-born American composer and songwriter (b. 1888)
- 1999 – George C. Scott, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1927)
- 2018 – Chas Hodges, English musician and singer (b.1943)
Thomas J. Grasso was a 32-year-old male double murderer when he was executed for the strangulation of Hilda Johnson, an 87-year-old woman, using her Christmas tree lights on December 24, 1990, in her Tulsa home. He stole $8 from her purse, $4 in loose change, and her television set which he sold for $125. Six months later, after moving to New York with his wife, Lana, he murdered Leslie Holtz, an 81-year-old man from Staten Island, on July 4, 1991, stealing his Social Security check. Once caught he soon confessed and pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life at New York, however a new Republican senator got involved and had him extradited to Tulsa which got him the death penalty. On the day before his execution, Grasso released four statements to the press, all rambling poetic verses, the first read, “What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” the rest weren’t any better…
Grasso’s last meal was two dozen steamed mussels, two dozen steamed clams (flavoured by a wedge of lemon), a double cheeseburger from Burger King, a half-dozen barbecued spare ribs, two strawberry milkshakes, one-half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, diced strawberries, and he requested a can of SpaghettiO’s with meatballs though he used his last words to claim that kitchen staff did not honour this request.
Just before 1:00 a.m. on March 20, 1995, Grasso walked from his cell to the execution chamber. The witnesses, including Grasso’s lawyers and 12 reporters, sat in an adjoining room. About 1:00 a.m., with Grasso strapped to the gurney, warden Ron Ward picked up a phone in the witness room and spoke to Governor Keating, who granted permission to proceed from his official residence in Oklahoma City. His final statement was: “I did not get my SpaghettiO’s, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this”. Grasso was pronounced dead at 1:22 a.m.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Stephen King (71), Bill Murray (68), David Wenham (53), Alfonso Ribeiro (47), Ricki Lake (50), Liam Gallagher (46), Jon Bernthal (43), Sophia Loren (85), Asia Argento (44), Moon Bloodgood (44), George R.R. Martin (71), Danielle Panabaker (32), Jeremy Irons (71), David McCallum (86), Jimmy Fallon (45), Victoria Silvstedt (45), Twiggy (70), Jada Pinkett Smith (48), Jason Sudeikis (44), Tim McInnerny (63), Mickey Rourke (67), Nick Jonas (27), Amy Poehler (48), Tom Hardy (42), Tommy Lee Jones (73), Jimmy Carr (47), Prince Harry (35), and Brendan O’Carroll (64).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- John Wesley, 72, American actor (Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, Hang ‘Em High), multiple myeloma.
- Robert Axelrod, 70, American actor (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, The Blob, Digimon).
- Paul Cronin, 81, Australian actor (The Sullivans, Matlock Police, State Coroner).
- Eddie Money, 70, American musician (“Baby Hold On“, “Two Tickets to Paradise“, “Take Me Home Tonight“), complications from oesophageal cancer.
- Kenny Cantor, 81, English comedian.
- Valerie Van Ost, 75, English actress (Carry On, The Beauty Jungle, Mister Ten Per Cent).
- Charlie Cole, 64, American photojournalist, World Press Photo of the Year winner (1989), sepsis
In Other News
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has said Kevin Hart is “doing very well” after suffering major back injuries in a car crash earlier this month. Comedian and actor Hart was taken to hospital after a vintage car he was a passenger in rolled down an embankment in the California hills. Speaking on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Johnson said his pal was “a lucky man”. “Everything is good,” he said. “I spoke with Kevin – I connected with him today.” He added: “And you know what? These things happen in life and thankfully he was strapped in nicely to his car seat.” The pair are close friends – having starred together in films including Jumanji and Central Intelligence – and the former professional wrestler, 47, confirmed he would soon pay Hart a hospital visit. “I love the guy, he’s one of my best friends,” Johnson went on. “And honestly, I mean, thank God, it could have been a lot worse. So, he’s a lucky man, and he knows it, too. Hart and the car’s driver were both taken to hospital following the crash in the hills above Malibu on 1st September. The driver of the car was not under the influence of alcohol, according to a California Highway Patrol collision report.
Freddie Flintoff has confirmed he is “absolutely fine” following a high speed accident during filming for a new series of Top Gear. The former English cricketer reportedly “ran out of runway” at Elvington Airfield near York while riding a specialised three-wheel drag racing vehicle. He was competing with fellow presenters Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris in a drag race. In a statement, Flintoff said: “I’m absolutely fine and was back filming today. I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races but on this occasion I went a few lengths too far! It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.” A spokesperson for the BBC said: “The health and safety of our presenters and crew on Top Gear is paramount. As viewers of the recent series will have seen, Freddie is often keen to get ‘off the beaten track’. “Tuesday’s filming at Elvington Airfield was no exception – but he suffered no injuries as a result of his spontaneous detour, as fans will see for themselves when we show the sequence in full in the next series.” Flintoff, who assumed hosting duties on the long-running BBC programme this year, was wearing full protective gear and a motorcycle helmet while filming. The airfield is the same one former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond crashed at in 2006 while piloting a drag racing car. Hammond crashed at 288mph after a tyre blew out, and suffered a severe head injury. He spent two weeks in a coma and later detailed the extent of his subsequent paranoia, memory loss and depression as a result of the brain damage from the crash.
A religious celebration was marred by tragedy this week as a man participating in a traditional Islamic mourning ritual accidentally beheaded himself. Mohammed Sayum was displaying his prowess at swordsmanship in the Nalanda district of Bihar, in east India, as part of a ritual procession known as the Mourning of Muharram. According to reports, Sayum, 60, accidentally cut his own neck and was rushed to Sadar Hospital, but died from loss of blood before he arrived. The accident sparked chaos in the area, according to the news site Swarajya, where hundreds of others were also observing the ritual procession. Sayum’s son, Mohammad Feroz, told police he witnessed the incident. Police in Bihar are still investigating and sent Sayum’s body for an autopsy. Fatal accidents and violence have long plagued Muharram commemorations: On Tuesday, at least 31 people were killed in a stampede in Karbala, with 100 more injured. According to the AP, the stampede started when a walkway collapsed. The same day, 20 people were injured watching a Muharram procession in Andhra Pradesh, in southeast India, when the roof they were standing on collapsed at about 2 a.m. Police report the victims were viewing the Pedda Saragathi ritual, where devotees walk on a hot bed of coals. Also on Tuesday, a man in Uttar Pradesh was electrocuted, and others wounded, when a tazia they were carrying came in contact with a live electrical wire. A tazia is a replica of Imam Hussain’s tomb, carried during Muharram processions. Days earlier, at least four people died in Karachi, Pakistan, when a tazia collided with overhead electrical cables… Think I’d stay at home…
On This Day
- 1752 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2)
- 1901 – U.S. President William McKinley dies after an assassination attempt on September 6, and is succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.
- 1959 – The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.
- 1975 – The first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, is canonised by Pope Paul VI. Before this date, there were no miracles in America because God only cared for people east of the Atlantic Ocean.
- 1321 – Dante Alighieri, Italian writer (b. 1265)
- 1715 – Dom Pérignon, French monk and priest (b. 1638)
- 1852 – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Irish-English field marshal and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1769)
- 1982 – Grace Kelly, American-Monacan actress; Princess of Monaco (b. 1929)
- 2009 – Keith Floyd, English chef and author (b. 1943)
- 2009 – Patrick Swayze, American actor, singer, and dancer (b. 1952)
John Martin Scripps was an English spree killer who murdered three tourists—Gerard Lowe in Singapore, and Sheila and Darin Damude in Thailand—with another three unconfirmed victims. He posed as a tourist himself when committing the murders, for which British tabloids nicknamed him “the tourist from Hell”. He cut up all his victims’ bodies, using butchery skills he had acquired in prison, before disposing of them. Martin was arrested in Singapore when he returned there after murdering the Damudes. Photographs of decomposed body parts were shown as evidence during his trial, making it “one of the most grisly” ever heard in Singapore. He defended himself by saying that Lowe’s death was an accident and that a friend of his killed the Damudes. The judge did not believe Martin’s account of events and sentenced him to death by hanging, making him the first Briton since Singapore’s independence from Britain and Malaysia to be given the death penalty. He is also the second Westerner to be executed in Singapore since independence, the first one being Johannes Van Damme.
Whilst Martin killed at least three people in Singapore and Thailand, he may have killed others in Belize, Mexico, and the United States. His modus operandi was to pose as a tourist and converse with randomly chosen caucasians, either aboard their flights or while waiting at airports. He stayed in the same hotels as his victims in a room near theirs. Once he had an excuse to be in their rooms, he used an electroshock weapon to immobilise them before killing them by striking their heads with a hammer and cutting them up in their bathrooms. He chose caucasians as his victims because they were vacationing far away from their home countries, which made him less likely to be discovered. His motive apparently included money, as large amounts were withdrawn using the credit cards of Gerard Lowe and Timothy MacDowall. Martin was arrested when he arrived at Changi Airport on the evening of 19 March 1995 and produced a passport with his assumed name, Simon Davis. Police had put the name on their wanted list on 14 March after they determined that Lowe had checked into River View Hotel with someone by that name. In a police interview room in the airport, Martin smashed a glass panel and cut his wrist with a shard of glass in a suicide attempt, fearing that he would be hanged immediately.
The police found five passports on Martin in addition to his own—two British passports issued to Simon Davis, two Canadian passports issued to Sheila and Darin Damude, and a South African passport issued to Gerard Lowe—each with Martin’s photograph affixed. They also found credit cards belonging to Sheila Damude and Gerard Lowe. In addition, police found Simon Davis’ birth certificate, and items that Martin had used to immobilise and kill: a hammer weighing 1.5 kilogrammes, a battery-operated Z-Force III electroshock weapon, a can of mace, two pairs of handcuffs, a pair of thumb-cuffs, two Police brand foldable knives, an oilstone and two Swiss army knives. Importation of some of these into Singapore is illegal.
In court, Martin argued that he was by nature not a violent person. “I may have worked in the (prison) butchery, but cutting up a human body is another thing. When I saw the photographs (of Lowe’s body parts), it made me feel sick.” He maintained that he had killed Lowe after the latter made homosexual advances that caused him to “freak out”; he had previously fended off homosexual attacks twice while imprisoned: in Israel in 1978, and in England in 1994. However his pleas fell on deaf ears as the evidence against him was conclusive. The judge sentenced Martin to death by hanging.
In the days before his hanging, Martin wrote of an “emptiness” inside him and lamented that no one had loved him besides his family and his ex-wife María. Martin’s mother remarked, “Whoever he is now, he’s the person the prison service trained him to be. These bastards have no right to take my son’s life. I brought him into the world. I am the only person who can take him out of it.” However, no one formally protested against the hanging. At dawn on 19 April 1996, Martin was hanged in Changi Prison together with two Singaporean drug traffickers. Prior to his hanging he was granted his last meal of a pizza and a glass of hot chocolate.
When Martin’s ex-wife María heard that he had been hanged, she said: John disappeared on several trips and went to the United States and Southeast Asia. I knew something awful was happening, but I could not believe he had started killing people. The last memory I have of him is a message he sent promising we would meet in the next life and that he would never let me go again.
I bet she sleeps well at night….
Last Week’s Birthdays
Alfie Allen (32), Ian Holm (87), Linda Gray (78), Virginia Madsen (57), Elizabeth Henstridge (31), Johnny Vegas (47), Guy Ritchie (50), Colin Firth (58), Adam Sandler (52), Hugh Grant (58), Henry Thomas (47), Jeffrey Combs (64), Eric Stonestreet (47), Julia Sawalha (50), Topol (83), Rachel Hunter (49), Martin Freeman (47), Heather Thomas (61), Pink (39), Julian Richings (63), and Miles Jupp (39).
Welcome all, more points to dispense this week with the demise of Robert Mugabe!! Both Shan and Jamie had him as a Cert, so 155 points each, and Chrissy and Mark get 55 points each! Well done everyone, slight movement in the league table with only the last quarter of the year to go.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Katherine MacLean, 94, American science fiction author.
- Terrance Dicks, 84, English screenwriter (Doctor Who, Crossroads, Space: 1999).
- LaShawn Daniels, 41, American songwriter (“Say My Name“, “Love and War“), Grammy winner (2000), traffic collision.
- Carol Lynley, 77, American actress (Harlow, Bunny Lake Is Missing, The Poseidon Adventure), heart attack.
- Robert Mugabe, 95, Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician, Prime Minister (1980–1987) and President (1987–2017).
- Chester Williams, 49, South African rugby union player (Western Province, national team) and coach (Blitzboks), heart attack.
In Other News
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart was taken to hospital with “major back injuries” on Sunday following a car accident in Los Angeles. According to the California Highway Patrol, Hart was being driven in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda on Mulholland Highway at the time of the accident. His wife Eniko Parrish told news reporters on Monday that the comedian was awake and “going to be just fine”. The accident happened just after midnight. The driver, Jared Black, lost control of the car and it tumbled into an embankment, the report stated. Black also sustained major back injuries. A third passenger was unhurt. Black – the fiance of the third passenger, Rebecca Broxterman – was determined not to have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash. Hart was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Centre and the driver was taken to another hospital, the patrol report said. Photos published by the media showed the car had suffered considerable damage. It looks like the fire department had to saw the roof off to free the two occupants who were pinned to their seats.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro will miss a planned summit on the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest to prepare for surgery, an aide has said. The operation will be the far-right leader’s fourth after he was stabbed in the stomach during his presidential election campaign in 2018. Brazil may send a representative in his place or ask for the summit to be postponed, the spokesman said. More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest this year. The controversial leader was elected to the presidency in October 2018, a month after he was stabbed at a campaign rally. His surgery is to correct an incisional hernia and is his fourth operation since the attack. Speaking to reporters outside his official residence, the president vowed on Monday to defend his Amazon policy “even in a wheelchair” at a UN General Assembly meeting on 24th September. Let’s hope hr has a complication on the operating table.
It is the kind of incident that might convince one of a higher power, or not. A priest has accidentally shot himself in the face with a spear gun while scuba diving. Despite the three-foot dart impaling his head, he survived. Connie Hallowell, from Umkomaas, in South Africa, called his escape a “miracle”, obviously… The near-tragedy happened as he was spearfishing in the sea off Scottburgh Beach, south of Durban, on Saturday. “I put my gun down while I was trying to get some sinkers out of the rocks,” the 48-year-old father-of-two told us from his hospital bed. “A big wave came, and with that wave in action, I tried to remove the gun, and the trigger went off and fired the spear into my face.” The arrow smashed straight through his right check and out in front of his left ear – but crucially missed his brain and eyes. He said: “When I tried to move my head, I couldn’t, and I realised it was a spear. I managed to stand up, and I just thought let me stay awake. I screamed for people to help me while I walked back towards the shore.” He was able to make it to dry land where lifeguards treated him while a fisherman shortened the embedded projectile with an angle grinder. Doctors were able to remove the spear after he was airlifted to hospital. “I can see, I can talk, everything is going well. I’ve got a bit of numbness, but I will be much better,” Mr Hallowell said on Sunday. “It’s amazing that I am here at all.” He added that he had no plans to quit spearfishing and was already planning his next trip. God is planning his next ‘miracle’ to cleanse the earth of priests as we speak.
On This Day
- 1727 – A barn fire during a puppet show in the village of Burwell in Cambridgeshire, England kills 78 people, many of whom are children.
- 1888 – In London, the body of Jack the Ripper’s second murder victim, Annie Chapman, is found.
- 1914 – World War I: Private Thomas Highgate becomes the first British soldier to be executed for desertion during the war.
- 1966 – The landmark American science fiction television series Star Trek premieres with its first-aired episode, “The Man Trap”.
- 1965 – Dorothy Dandridge, American actress and singer (b. 1922)
- 1999 – Moondog, American-German singer-songwriter, drummer, and poet (b. 1916)
- 2017 – Don Williams, American musician (b. 1939)
Larry Swearingen, 48, was the latest recipient of the lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for his part in the brutal strangling of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter, a Montgomery county girl he claimed was his friend. The Texas death row inmate maintained his innocence until the very moment of his execution for the 1998 rape and murder of the student who was found strangled in woodland with a pair of pantyhose around her neck. Despite Swearingen’s repeated pleas of innocence and a number of push-backs on his execution date – along with Trotter’s family – prosecutors stood firm on their belief that he was her killer. A last-ditch appeal filed by Swearingen’s attorneys was denied by the US Supreme Court just minutes before his scheduled execution time of 6pm. As a result, Swearingen was escorted into the execution chamber, strapped to an IV, and at 6.35pm, he was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital. ‘Lord, forgive them,’ Swearingen said into a microphone hanging above his head after the warden asked if he had a final statement. ‘They don’t know what they’re doing.’ He then began narrating his impending death, saying he could hear the drug going into his arm, before saying he could ‘taste it’. ‘It’s actually burning in my right arm. I don’t feel anything in the left arm,’ he said. Almost immediately, he took a short breath, then started to snore quietly. He stopped moving. He never opened his eyes and never looked at the witnesses who were there on his victim’s behalf, including her parents, who watched through a window just a few feet from him. At 6.47pm – 12 minutes after the lethal dose was administered – Swearingen was pronounced dead and became the 12th inmate to be put to death in the US this year, and the fourth in Texas – the country’s busiest state for capital punishment. But what was his last meal I hear you ask… Well… In Texas, you ain’t getting anything special, and this is the reason why.
Back in 2011, white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer, 44, was served two chicken fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions, a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger and a cheese omelette with beef mince, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos. If that wasn’t enough, he was also given fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread, three fajitas and a meat pizza. For dessert he was served a pint of ice cream and peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. He was also given three root beers to wash it all down. But Brewer thumbed his nose at the system one final time and didn’t have a single bite, telling staff at the Huntsville prison he wasn’t hungry.
The next day, Texas lawmakers were so outraged that the practice of final meals on death row was brought to an immediate halt. State Senator John Whitmire said Brewer had ordered such an elaborate meal to “make a mockery” of the system. “It’s wrong to treat a vicious murderer in this fashion. Let him eat the same meal on the chow line as the others.” And rightly so, Brewer was convicted of the racist murder of James Byrd Jnr – who was chained to a truck and dragged to death 21 years ago. Along with Shawn Berry, the killers chained Mr Byrd’s ankles to the back of a truck and dragged him for three miles along roads in Jasper, Texas, on a Saturday night in June 1998. They had offered Mr Byrd a ride home but drove him to an isolated spot where they beat him, spray-painted his face and urinated and defecated on him before chaining him to the vehicle. He was alive during much of the dragging before his head and right arm was severed. The killers dumped his body in front of a black cemetery. King was convicted in February 1999 and became the first white man in modern Texas history to be sentenced to death for killing a black person.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Evan Rachel Wood (31), Shannon Elizabeth (45), Leslie Jones (51), Toby Jones (52), Julie Kavner (68), Dario Argento (78), Chrissie Hynde (67), Doug Bradley (64), Idris Elba (47), Michael Keaton (68), Raquel Welch (79), Rose McGowan (46), Carice van Houten (43), Paddy Considine (46), George Lazenby (80), Christopher Morris (54), Beyoncé (38), Michael Berryman (71), Charlie Sheen (54), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (66), Pauline Collins (79), Keanu Reeves (55), Salma Hayek (53), Keith Allen (66), Zendaya (23), Burn Gorman (45), Lily Tomlin (80), Steve Pemberton (52), Gloria Estefan (62), and Barry Gibb (73).
Yay! Points!!! Sarai correctly guessed Valerie Harper would pop it this year, but also listed her as her Woman, so 170 points, Paul C and Laura also listed her and got 70 each. Quite a points haul for Sarai, instantly propelling her to third place and Paul C strengthening his leadership. Well done all of you.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Timothy Bell, Baron Bell, 77, British advertising and public relations executive (Bell Pottinger).
- Jessi Combs, 36, American racer and television host (Xtreme 4×4, MythBusters, Overhaulin’), jet-car crash.
- Jim Leavelle, 99, American homicide detective, police escort for Lee Harvey Oswald, heart attack.
- Franco Columbu, 78, Italian bodybuilder and actor (Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator), Mr. Olympia winner (1976, 1981), heart attack.
- Valerie Harper, 80, American actress (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Valerie), multiple Emmy Award winner, leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.
- Hans Rausing, 93, Swedish businessman, Chairman of Tetra Pak (1985–1993).
- Anthoine Hubert, 22, French racing driver, GP3 Series champion (2018), race crash.
In Other News
Pope Francis has apologised for arriving late for his weekly prayer in St Peter’s Square, saying was stuck in a lift in the Vatican. The 82-year-old pontiff said he had been trapped in the lift for 25 minutes because of a power outage before he was freed by firefighters. We all know what can happen in broken down lifts! “I have to apologise for being late,” a smiling Pope said at the start of the Angelus address. He then asked the crowd for a round of applause for the firefighters. Addressing the crowd, the Pope said there had been a “drop in voltage and the elevator stopped”. “Thank goodness, the firefighters arrived, and I thank them so much, and after 25 minutes of work they managed to get it started again,” he said. Television networks in Italy which broadcast the prayer live had been concerned the unprecedented delay might have been due to health reasons, AFP news agency reports. In his address, the Pope announced that he would create ten new Roman Catholic cardinals next month, like we needed any more…
Colin Baker, who starred as the sixth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, admitted that he had to wait nine-and-a-half hours to be seen in A&E while he was suffering from a mystery illness. The ex-Time Lord star recalled “A fortnight ago I was sent by my GP to A&E in Stoke Mandeville where (I was told) the orthopaedic team were awaiting my arrival. I spent nine and a half hours being in a corridor. “My problem was not life-threatening, but I had a very high temperature and felt unwell. “I was admitted, put on an antibiotic drip and discharged thirty six hours later. “Forty-eight hours after that I was back in A&E for an eight and a half hour wait, with an even higher temperature. “Six hours in, I was left in a side room, where I dozed off and woke at 2am and went in search of help. “I was presented with an irate nurse, demanding crossly to know where I had been.” Colin explained: ”They had a bed for me and couldn’t find me. The doctor had apparently not told her where they had taken me. Fortunately, Colin was later discharged from hospital and recovered completely within five days, but as we know, these things tend to flare up now and again.
Charlie Webster – the Radio 5 Live favourite – admitted she will have a kidney problem “for the rest of her life” after a battle with malaria damaged her organs. The former Sky Sports presenter revealed doctors have now told her they “don’t know if her kidneys will last”. The 36 year old presenter opened up about her health fears after suffering a near-fatal experience with malaria three years ago. Revealing how the disease has impacted her internal organs, Charlie explained: “The one thing I’ve got as a long-term thing is I’ll always have a kidney problem.” She admitted doctors are currently unsure about whether her kidneys will continue working. She added: “I have to keep an eye on it and see a consultant for the rest of my life, because they don’t know if my kidneys will last and that really upset me.” In spite of the frightening diagnosis, Charlie insisted she is trying to avoid “constantly worrying” about it. Charlie was diagnosed with malaria back in 2016 after spending two weeks in a coma. She was told by doctors she was dying after contracting the mosquito-borne disease, while also suffering from other diseases including pneumonia. Reflecting on when she began to feel unwell during a work trip to Rio, the campaigner said: “I started not feeling well and pushed and pushed and I could hardly stand up. “I was even bleeding through my bum and going to the toilet all the time. Moral of the story, get your jabs or get mentioned on this newsletter.
On This Day
- 1715 – King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years, which is the longest of any major European monarch. Our Queen is coming up to 68 years.
- 1923 – The Great Kantō earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people.
- 1939 – Adolf Hitler signs an order to begin the systematic euthanasia of mentally ill and disabled people, the UK Conservative Party try to emulate him in 2019.
- 1958 – Iceland expands its fishing zone, putting it into conflict with the United Kingdom, beginning the Cod Wars.
- 1985 – A joint American–French expedition locates the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.
- 2004 – The Crisis in Beslan commences when armed terrorists take schoolchildren and school staff hostage in North Ossetia (Russia); by the end of the siege three days later more than 385 people are dead (including hostages, other civilians, security personnel and terrorists).
Charles Frederick Peace was an English burglar and murderer, who embarked on a life of crime after being maimed in an industrial accident as a boy. After killing a policeman in Manchester, he fled to his native Sheffield, where he became obsessed with his neighbour’s wife, eventually shooting her husband dead. Settling in London, he carried out multiple burglaries before being caught in the prosperous suburb of Blackheath, wounding the policeman who arrested him. He was linked to the Sheffield murder, and tried at Leeds Assizes.
In 1854, he was found guilty of multiple burglaries and sentenced to four years’ penal servitude. In 1859, he married a widow named Hannah Ward. Soon afterward, he committed a major burglary in Manchester, nearly killing a police officer who came to arrest him, and was sentenced to six years’ penal servitude. Another burglary in Manchester earned him another eight-year sentence. For a while after this, he seems to have concentrated on his picture-framing business, before working on the North Eastern Railway, from which he was sacked for absenteeism. After moving to the Sheffield, Peace made the acquaintance of a civil engineer called Dyson, which would prove fateful in due course. During this time, Peace fatally shot a policeman but managed to escape in the darkness, two brothers, John and William Habron, living nearby, were arrested and charged with the killing of Constable Cock. John Habron was acquitted for lack of evidence, but William Habron was sentenced to death, later commuted to penal servitude for life. Peace had made a point of attending the trial, to confirm that he was not a suspect, before returning to Sheffield.
In the meantime, Peace had developed an obsessive interest in Dyson’s wife, though it was never established how far she may have returned his feelings. On 1st July, Peace approached Mrs Dyson and threatened to blow out her brains and those of her husband. Dyson took out a summons against Peace, and moved to a different suburb. On their first day in the new house, Mrs Dyson was accosted by Peace, who said “You see, I am here to annoy you, and I’ll annoy you wherever you go.” That evening, a little after eight o’clock, Peace observed Mrs Dyson coming out from her back door and entering a nearby outhouse. When she duly emerged, he confronted her with a revolver, shouting “Speak or I’ll fire.” In terror, she retreated to the outhouse, and her husband came out to investigate. Peace fled down the passage, where Dyson followed him. Peace fired twice at Dyson, the second shot passing fatally through his temple. As Mrs Dyson cried “Murder!”, Peace escaped and made his way by train to Hull, where his wife kept an eating-house. There was an immediate hue and cry, with a price of £100 on his head. Peace was finally caught. On 10th October 1878. During his trial Peace denied all allegations against him, but the evidence against him made it clear he was a bad ‘un. The Judge passed a sentence of death for the murder of Dyson. Having nothing more to lose, Peace made a full confession to the murder of Constable Cock, in order to exonerate William Habron, who was later given a free pardon and £800 compensation. Peace re-asserted that Mrs Dyson had been his mistress, but she strenuously denied this, calling him a demon, “beyond the power of even a Shakespeare to paint”.
On the morning of his execution, Peace ate a hearty breakfast of eggs and salty bacon, and calmly awaited the coming of the public executioner, William Marwood, inventor of the “long drop”. He was escorted on the death-walk by the prison chaplain, who was reading aloud from The Consolations of Religion about the fires of hell.
Peace burst out “Sir, if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worth while living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!”
Peace was buried in Armley Gaol. He was 46 years old.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Richard Gere (69), Chris Tucker (47), Todd Carty (55), Cameron Diaz (46), Michael Chiklis (55), Warren Buffett (88), Carla Gugino (47), Rebecca De Mornay (59), Elliott Gould (80), Jason Priestley (49), Jack Black (49), Brian Thompson (59), David Soul (75), Shania Twain (53), Aaron Paul (39), Peter Stormare (65), Barbara Bach (71), Paul Reubens (66), Reece Shearsmith (49), Melissa McCarthy (48), Chris Pine (38), Macaulay Culkin (38), Alexander Skarsgård (42), Sean Connery (88), Tim Burton (60), Rachel Bilson (37), Tom Skerritt (85), Gene Simmons (69), and Claudia Schiffer (48).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Richard Booth, 80, Welsh bookseller.
- Angelo Grubisic, 38, British astronautical engineer and wingsuit designer, BASE jumping accident.
- Junior Agogo, 40, Ghanaian footballer (Bristol Rovers, Nottingham Forest, national team).
- Gary Ray Bowles, 57, American serial killer, executed by lethal injection.
- David Koch, 79, American businessman and political financier, Executive Vice President of Koch Industries (1983–2018).
In Other News
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been treated for a tumour on her pancreas, according to a court spokesperson. The tumour was determined to be malignant, a spokesperson said, adding that noe additional treatment would be required at this time. The 86-year-old justice reportedly began radiation treatment for the localised cancerous tumour on 5th August in New York City on an outpatient basis. The Supreme Court also said a bile duct was placed inside of the Supreme Court justice as part of her treatment. She has battled numerous bouts of cancer in past decades, including lung cancer last year, when she underwent surgery in December. Ginsburg “tolerated treatment well,” the statement said, adding: “She cancelled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule.” “The tumour was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the statement read. “Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time.” In a recent interview with NPR, Ginsburg shot down critics who have lambasted her amid numerous health scares. “There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months,” she said. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I,” she added with a smile, “am very much alive.”
The man who hoaxed detectives by claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper has died, police have confirmed. John Humble, who was dubbed Wearside Jack, sent police on a wild goose chase when he sent them hoax letters and an audio tape in the late 1970s. He was unmasked and sentenced to eight years in jail in 2006 after admitting perverting the course of justice. Northumbria Police said Humble, who had changed his name to John Samuel Anderson, died on 30th July. West Yorkshire Police detectives, headed by the force’s assistant chief constable George Oldfield, believed the letters and tape were genuine and diverted resources to Humble’s home town of Sunderland. When Humble was eventually prosecuted, Leeds Crown Court heard claims that delays caused by the hoax allowed Peter Sutcliffe to murder three more women. Sutcliffe was jailed in 1981 and given 20 life sentences for killing 13 women and attempting to kill seven more. Humble, 63, died at his home in South Shields, where he had lived since being released from prison in 2009. A force spokesman said his death was not being treated as suspicious and would not be investigated.
Actor Ben Unwin, who played Jesse McGregor in Australian soap Home and Away, has died at the age of 41. The actor’s body was discovered last week, on 14th August, but the cause of death has not yet been confirmed. “Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian (New South Wales), responding to a concern for welfare,” a police statement read. “The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death is not being treated as suspicious.” Unwin played “bad boy” Jesse during two stints on the popular soap, between 1996 and 2000 and then from 2002 to 2005. His character was often in trouble with the law, with one storyline seeing his character sent to prison after he was accused of burning down Alf Stewart’s shop for insurance money. A spokesman for the Seven network, which broadcasts Home and Away, said: “Cast and crew from Home and Away are saddened to learn of the passing of former cast-mate, Ben Unwin. “Ben’s work in the role of Jesse McGregor is remembered with much affection.
On This Day
- 1609 – Galileo Galilei demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.
- 2001 – American singer Aaliyah and several members of her record company are killed as their overloaded aircraft crashes shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas.
- 2012 – Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space becoming the first man-made object to do so.
- 1819 – James Watt, Scottish-English engineer and instrument maker (b. 1736)
- 1822 – William Herschel, German-English astronomer and composer (b. 1738)
- 1867 – Michael Faraday, English physicist and chemist (b. 1791)
- 1900 – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philologist, philosopher, and critic (b. 1844)
- 1956 – Alfred Kinsey, American biologist and academic (b. 1894)
- 1984 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (b. 1924)
- 2012 – Neil Armstrong, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1930)
- 2017 – Rich Piana, American bodybuilder (b. 1971)
- 2018 – John McCain, American politician (b. 1936)
Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis was an American murderer who was the only woman on death row in Virginia prior to her execution. She was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murders of her husband and stepson in October 2002. Lewis sought to profit from a $250,000 life insurance policy her stepson had taken out as a U.S. Army reservist in anticipation of his deployment to Iraq.
Teresa Wilson Bean first met Julian Lewis, her future husband, at work. He was a recent widower with three children. Julian’s older son was previously killed in a car accident, leaving his father $200,000 from a life insurance policy. Which might have sparked Teresa’s greed. Julian’s younger son, Charles J. Lewis, obtained a $250,000 insurance policy in preparation for his impending deployment to Iraq as part of the United States Army Reserve. Charles designated his father as the primary, and Teresa Lewis as the secondary beneficiaries.
In the fall of 2002, Teresa Lewis met 21-year-old Matthew Jessee Shallenberger and 19-year-old Rodney Lamont Fuller at a Wal-Mart in Danville and began a sexual relationship with both of them. In October 2002, Charles came home on a visit from Army training in Maryland. On October 23rd, Shallenberger and Lamont were given $1,200 by Lewis to purchase firearms and ammunition to kill Julian Lewis and his son Charles for the insurance money. A week later, on the night of October 30th, Shallenberger and Fuller entered the Lewis’ trailer through a back door that Teresa had left open. While she waited in the kitchen, Shallenberger shot the sleeping Julian several times, while Fuller shot Charles in his bedroom with a shotgun. After discovering Charles was not dead, Fuller shot him twice more. Teresa waited 45 minutes before calling for help, and while waiting for the police to arrive, she removed money from her dying husband’s wallet. Shortly after, Teresa Lewis was caught attempting to withdraw $50,000 from her dead husband’s account with a forged check. Within a week, she confessed to law enforcement officers that she had offered money to have her husband killed. During the investigation, prosecutors found that Lewis had been trying to gather the assets of her late husband and stepson even before they had been buried. During the murder trial, the judge deemed Lewis the mastermind of the crime and called her “the head of this serpent.” Barbara G. Haskins, a court appointed, board-certified forensic psychiatrist, stated that “Cognitive testing showed a Full Scale IQ of 72. Verbal IQ was 70, and Performance IQ was 79.” Dr. Haskins also stated that Teresa Lewis was and is able to make a plea agreement and enter pleas. Lewis’ lawyer stated that “She’s not mentally retarded, but she is very, very close to it.” Defence attorneys thought the evidence against Lewis was overwhelming and advised her to plead guilty to the capital charges in order to avoid a jury, and hope that the judge would show some leniency since Lewis had been cooperating with investigators. However, she was sentenced to death.
Lewis’ last meal consisted of two fried chicken breasts, sweet peas with butter, a Dr Pepper and apple pie for dessert. Lewis addressed stepdaughter Kathy Lewis Clifton, who came to witness her execution, to apologize for killing her brother and father. Her last words were:
“I just want Kathy to know that I love you, and I’m very sorry.”
Lewis was executed on September 23rd, 2010, at 9 p.m. by lethal injection, at Greensville Correctional Center near Jarratt. This made her the 12th woman to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jared Harris (57), Steve Guttenberg (60), Rupert Grint (30), Stephen Fry (61), Ray Park (44), Charley Boorman (52), Kristen Wiig (45), Richard Armitage (47), Honor Blackman (93), James the cunt Corden (40), Ty Burrell (51), Carrie-Anne Moss (51), Hayden Panettiere (29), Kim Cattrall (62), RJ Mitte (26), Kenny Rogers (80), Amy Adams (44), Andrew Garfield (35), Ben Barnes (37), Jonathan Ke Quan (47), John Noble (70), Joan Allen (62), James Marsters (56), Misha Collins (44), David Walliams (47), Ray Wise (71), Demi Lovato (26), Sylvester McCoy (75), Matthew Perry (49), Jonathan Frakes (66), Ian McElhinney (70), Kevin Dillon (53), Diana Muldaur (80), Simon Bird (34), Roman Polanski (85), Edward Norton (49), Robert Redford (82), Christian Slater (49), Madeleine Stowe (60), and Denis Leary (61).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Barbara March, 65, Canadian actress (Star Trek), cancer.
- Robyn Léwis, 89, Welsh author, politician and arch-druid, Vice President of Plaid Cymru (1970–1976).
- V. B. Chandrasekhar, 57, Indian cricketer (Tamil Nadu, Goa, national team), heart attack.
- Princess Christina of the Netherlands, 72, Dutch royal, bone cancer.
- Peter Fonda, 79, American actor and screenwriter (Easy Rider, Ulee’s Gold, 3:10 to Yuma), lung cancer.
- Richard Williams, 86, Canadian-British animator and director (The Thief and the Cobbler, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Return of the Pink Panther), three-time Oscar winner, cancer.
In Other News
Police are investigating after Labour activist Owen Jones was “kicked in the head” by a group of men outside a pub. The Guardian columnist said he had been celebrating his birthday with friends when the men made a “direct beeline” for him in the early hours of Saturday. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said an attack on a journalist was “an attack on free speech and our fundamental values”. The Met said it was working to establish the “full circumstances”. Mr Jones told the BBC he had spent Friday night with his partner and some friends at the Lexington pub on Pentonville Road, Islington. The six of them left the pub at about 02:00 BST on Saturday. As they were saying goodbye to each other, a group of “three or four” men made a “direct beeline” for Mr Jones. Mr Jones claimed it was a “premeditated” move by “far right” activists. “They marched over, kicked me in the back, threw me on the floor… and then kicked me in the head,” he said. Mr Jones said his friends were also punched in the head as they tried to stop the “frenzied” attack on him – and that there was “no question” the men were “specifically” targeting him. Mr Jones said the attack was the latest in a series of assaults since he was verbally abused by protesters on College Green in Westminster earlier this year. “I’m obviously very concerned and worried – not simply about my own personal safety, but of others, and the fact that the far right feels increasingly emboldened and far right-types are feeling increasingly prepared to resort to thuggery and violence.”
Peter Murphy, former frontman of goth rock group Bauhaus, has suffered a heart attack. In a statement posted to Murphy’s Instagram, his management confirmed that the 62-year-old star was admitted to a New York hospital after experiencing “shortness of breath” and was later determined to have had a heart attack. As a result, several dates in Murphy’s New York residency at music venue Le Poisson Rouge have been postponed. “Sadly, Peter is physically unable to perform the remaining shows in the Residency series” the statement read. “These shows will be postponed to later dates to be determined.” Ticket holders have been offered transfers to a new date, or a refund on their tickets. Murphy’s family additionally said in a statement: “We would like to thank the fans for their undying support and hope that Peter will be back on stage with a refreshed heart, stronger than before!” Last year Murphy joined Bauhaus for a world tour celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary, and is currently in the midst of his second residency following a successful stint in San Francisco. His last solo record Lion was released in 2014.
Olivia Newton-John has been seen for the first time since she opened up about her battle with breast cancer. The Grease actress, 70, recently revealed she doesn’t know how much longer she has to live as the chance of a cure for her condition – which is at stage four – is very slim. On Wednesday night she hit the red carpet at the Industry Dance Awards and Cancer Benefit Show in Hollywood, where she picked up an award. She looked glam in a white trouser suit and shimmery silver top which she matched with her trainers. Olivia was all smiles as she posed for photos and wanted people to know that she was feeling good. “I just want everyone to know, I’m here, I’m doing great, it was a challenging year because I broke my sacrum and I had to learn to walk again and everything. But I am strong and I am back and I’m feeling good and loving every minute.” Olivia shared the devastating news that she’s battling breast cancer for the third time back in November. She decided it was better for her mental health if her doctors didn’t tell her how long she had left.
On This Day
- 1612 – The trial of the Pendle witches, one of England’s most famous witch trials, begins at Lancaster Assizes.
- 1634 – Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, is burned alive in Loudun, France.
- 1958 – Vladimir Nabokov‘s controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.
- 1227 – Genghis Khan, Mongolian emperor (b. 1162)
- 1998 – Persis Khambatta, Indian model and actress, Femina Miss India 1965 (b. 1948)
- 2017 – Bruce Forsyth, English television presenter and entertainer (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Robert De Niro (75), Sean Penn (58), Belinda Carlisle (60), Steve Carell (56), James Cameron (64), Julie Newmar (85), Madonna (60), Jennifer Lawrence (29), Ben Affleck (47), Natasha Henstridge (45), Joe Jonas (30), Jim Dale (84), Tony Robinson (73), Mila Kunis (36), Halle Berry (53), Steve Martin (74), Joseph Marcell (71), Cara Delevingne (27), Chris Hemsworth (36), Ian McDiarmid (75), and Hulk Hogan (66).
William George Bonin also known as the Freeway Killer, was an American serial killer and twice-paroled sex offender who committed the rape, torture, and murder of a minimum of 21 boys and young men in a series of killings in 1979 and 1980 in southern California. Bonin is also suspected of committing a further 15 murders. Described by the prosecutor at his first trial as “the most arch-evil person who ever existed”, Bonin was convicted of 14 of the murders linked to the “Freeway Killer” in two separate trials in 1982 and 1983. He spent 14 years on death row before he was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison on February 23, 1996. Bonin became known as the “Freeway Killer” due to the fact that the majority of his victims’ bodies were discovered alongside numerous freeways in southern California. He shares this epithet with two separate and unrelated serial killers: Patrick Kearney and Randy Kraft.
Bonin’s quest started early, on November 17, 1968, at age 21, Bonin committed a sexual assault on a youth. He was to commit three further sexual assaults upon boys and youths over the following four months. The victims of these four assaults were aged between 12 and 18 and in each instance, he bound or otherwise restrained his victim before forcibly engaging in sodomy, oral copulation, and methods of torture which included bludgeoning and the squeezing of his victims’ testicles. In early 1969, Bonin was arrested as he attempted to restrain a 16-year-old youth whom he had lured into his vehicle; he was indicted on five counts of kidnapping, four counts of sodomy, one count of oral copulation, and one count of child molestation against the five youths he had abducted. Bonin pleaded guilty to molestation and forced oral copulation and was sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital as a mentally disordered sexual offender. While detained at this hospital, Bonin was subjected to a battery of psychiatric examinations, which revealed that he possessed a higher than average IQ of 121, and displayed traits of manic depression in addition to damage to the prefrontal cortex of his brain—which would likely reduce his ability to restrain any violent impulses. Two years after his arrival at the Atascadero State Hospital, Bonin was sent to prison, declared unsuitable for further treatment—largely due to his repeatedly engaging in forceful sexual activity with male inmates. On June 11, 1974, he was released from prison after doctors concluded he was “no longer a danger to the health and safety of others. He then went on to murder dozens of young boys and men.
On June 11, police observed Bonin driving in a seemingly random manner throughout Hollywood, unsuccessfully attempting to lure five separate teenage boys into his van, before succeeding in luring a youth into his vehicle. The police followed Bonin until his van parked in a desolate parking lot close to the Hollywood Freeway, then discreetly approached the vehicle. Upon hearing muffled screams and banging sounds emanating from inside the van, these plainclothes officers forced their way into the vehicle; discovering Bonin in the act of raping a 17-year-old Orange County runaway named Harold Tate, whom he had handcuffed and bound. Although initially protesting his innocence in any of the murders, Bonin confessed to abducting, raping, and killing 21 boys and young men. He expressed no remorse for his actions, but he did demonstrate extreme embarrassment and regret over having been caught. Bonin was brought to trial in Los Angeles County, charged with the murder of 12 of his victims whose bodies had been found within this constituency. Bonin was sentenced to death for the murders. Describing the murders as “a gross, revolting affront to human dignity”, the judge further ordered at this hearing that if Bonin’s death sentence were commuted to one of life imprisonment, the sentences should run consecutively.
Bonin was to remain incarcerated on death row for 14 years at San Quentin State Prison, awaiting execution in the gas chamber. In his years on death row, he undertook both painting and writing as hobbies, and received several minor awards for his artwork, short stories and poems. He also corresponded with numerous individuals, including the mothers of some of his victims, he never expressed any regret or remorse over having murdered their sons. On one occasion, Bonin informed one mother that her son had been his favourite victim as “he was such a screamer”. Bonin was executed by lethal injection inside the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison on February 23, 1996. He was the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the history of California. At 6 p.m. on the day he was executed, Bonin was moved from his cell to a death watch cell, where he ordered his last meal: two large pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three pints of chocolate ice cream and three six-packs of Pepsi. Bonin was escorted from his holding cell into the execution chamber. In his final statement, given to the prison warden one hour prior to his scheduled execution at midnight, Bonin again expressed no remorse for his crimes and left a note that stated:
I feel the death penalty is not an answer to the problems at hand. I feel it sends the wrong message to the people of this country. Young people act as they see other people acting instead of as people tell them to act. I would advise that when a person has a thought of doing anything serious against the law, that before they did, they should go to a quiet place and think about it seriously.
Bonin was pronounced dead at 12:13 a.m. He was 49 at the time of his execution.
This weeks big news is the suicide of that lovely individual called Jeffrey Epstein. However convenient his death may be to some major players in the world, it’s crass and pointless to engage in conspiracy theories about it, as we’ll probably never know who committed Epstein’s suicide.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Miriam, 38, Mexican reality show personality (There’s Something About Miriam, Big Brother Australia 2004).
- Henri Belolo, 82, French music producer (The Ritchie Family, Village People) and songwriter.
- Alfred Smith, 111, Scottish supercentenarian, oldest man in Scotland.
- Toni Morrison, 88, American author (The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Beloved), Nobel laureate (1993), Pulitzer Prize winner (1988).
- Jeffrey Epstein, 66, American financier (Bear Stearns), philanthropist (Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation) and convicted sex offender, suicide by hanging.
In Other News
Country music legend Willie Nelson has canceled his tour just as it began, due to a medical issue. The 86 year old singer took to his verified Twitter on Wednesday night, to reveal that his tour with Allison Krauss is canceled due to a breathing problem. Nelson didn’t indicate whether there were any plans in the immediate future to hit the road again. ‘To my fans, I’m sorry to cancel my tour, but I have a breathing problem that I need to have my doctor check out. I’ll be back Love, Willie,’ the singer said. He wouldn’t elaborate on the medical issue, but Nelson had just embarked on his tour on Monday, with a performance at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This isn’t the first time that Nelson has been forced to cancel numerous performances due to medical issues. Nelson has had a history of emphysema, and in 2012 he canceled a performance in the Denver area due to complications with emphysema due to the high altitude. In 2015, after several years of difficulties with emphysema, Nelson underwent stem cell therapy to improve his lungs. A longtime cigarette smoker, he quite several years ago but continued smoking marijuana, though in 2008, he used a carbon free method to avoid effects of smoke.
You might remember that Jimmy Osmond, 56, suffered a stroke during a pantomime performance of Peter Pan in Birmingham at the end of last year. The singer fell ill on stage but still continued his performance and signed autographs for fans before being rushed to hospital. Now, Merrill Osmond, 66, who was previously the lead singer of the sibling’s group The Osmonds, has said a return to the stage for his brother is unlikely. He commented: “I think they are off the cards. I think they are off, brother. We used to be called The Osmond Brothers. Now it’s down to Brother Osmond.” Merrill went on to say his brother’s illness is a “big enough disaster” to prevent him from performing again. “He definitely needed space – and he still does. He doesn’t want to meet with anybody,” he added.
Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder says he’s taking more pills than ever because ‘getting old is really shit’. Bizarrely, the singer, now 56, now pops more prescription drugs than ecstasy tablets. He told us: “I’m on so many fucking drugs I rattle when I walk. I have to take all sorts of bleedin’ stuff for all me different ailments. Shaun has never hidden his past struggles with drugs – he’d regularly indulge in a cocktail of booze, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana after a gig. But these days, while on tour with the band four decades later for their greatest hits tour, he’s got a new addiction to contend with. “Just shit loads of chocolate really,” he said. “It used to be sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Now it’s just rock ’n’ roll – the wife is gutted. Shaun recently hit the headlines about his appearance when all his body hair fell out. He explained in an interview that he now has ‘no eyelashes, no fingernails, no head, no hair whatsoever’ – and it has left doctors completely baffled. “I got alopecia and all me hair fell out,” he said. “At the start of this year I had hair and a beard and then, almost overnight, the whole lot went, eyelashes, eyebrows, even me pubes. “They don’t know what’s caused it. At first they thought I had that immune deficiency thing, but I haven’t. Then they said it was linked to me under active thyroid but that just makes me fat and tired. “And I haven’t produced any testosterone for 10 years. I used to have injections but now I’m on the gel which is better.”
On This Day
- 1934 – The first civilian prisoners arrive at the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.
- 1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.
- 1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine following their lift-off from the moon.
- 2000 – An air rage incident occurs on board Southwest Airlines Flight 1763 when 19-year-old Jonathan Burton attempts to storm the cockpit, but he is subdued by other passengers and dies from his injuries.
- 480 BC – Leonidas I, Agiad King of Sparta
- 1956 – Jackson Pollock, American painter (b. 1912)
- 1994 – Peter Cushing, English actor (b. 1913)
- 2014 – Robin Williams, American actor and comedian (b. 1951)
Friedrich Heinrich Karl “Fritz” Haarmann was a German serial killer, known as the Butcher of Hanover, the Vampire of Hanover and the Wolf-Man. Between 1918 and 1924, Haarmann is known to have committed at least 24 murders, although he is suspected of murdering a minimum of 27. All of Haarmann’s victims were males between the ages of 10 and 22, the majority of whom were in their mid- to late-teens. The victims would be lured back to one of three addresses in which Haarmann is known to have resided throughout those years. He is known to have killed upon the promise of assistance, accommodation, work, or under the pretence of arrest. At Haarmann’s apartment, the victim would typically be given food and drink before Haarmann bit into his Adam’s apple, often as he was strangled. In many instances, this act would cause the victim to die of asphyxiation, although on several occasions, Haarmann would bite completely through his victims’ Adams apple and trachea. (Haarmann would refer to the act of biting through his victims’ neck as being his “love bite”.) All of Haarmann’s victims were dismembered before their bodies were discarded, usually in the Leine River, although the dismembered body of his first known victim had simply been buried, and the body of his last victim had been thrown into a lake located at the entrance to the Herrenhausen Gardens. Following Haarmann’s arrest, rumours would circulate that the flesh of his victims had been consumed by Haarmann himself or sold upon the black market as pork or horse meat. Although no physical evidence was ever produced to confirm these theories, Haarmann was known to be an active trader in contraband meat, which was invariably boneless, diced and often sold as mince. Haarmann was found guilty of 24 of the 27 murders for which he was tried and sentenced to death by beheading in December 1924. In addition, in accordance with German practice, his honorary rights of citizenship were revoked.
At 6 o’clock on the morning of 15 April 1925, Fritz Haarmann was beheaded by guillotine in the grounds of Hanover prison. In accordance with German tradition, Haarmann was not informed of his execution date until the prior evening. Upon receipt of the news, he observed prayer with his pastor, before being granted his final wishes of an expensive cigar to smoke and Brazilian coffee to drink in his cell. No members of the press were permitted to witness the execution, and the event was seen by only a handful of witnesses. According to published reports, although Haarmann was pale and nervous, he maintained a sense of bravado as he walked to the guillotine. The last words Haarmann spoke were: “I am guilty, gentlemen, but, hard though it may be, I want to die as a man.” Immediately prior to placing his head upon the execution apparatus, Haarmann added: “I repent, but I do not fear death.” Following Haarmann’s execution, sections of his brain were removed for forensic analysis. An examination of slices of Haarmann’s brain revealed traces of meningitis, although no sections of Haarmann’s brain were permanently preserved. Nonetheless, Haarmann’s head was preserved in formaldehyde and remained in the possession of the Göttingen medical school from 1925 until 2014, when it was cremated.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Antonio Banderas (58), Rosanna Arquette (59), Anna Kendrick (34), Sam Elliott (75), Gillian Anderson (51), Rhona Mitra (43), Eric Bana (51), Melanie Griffith (62), Audrey Tautou (43), Dustin Hoffman (82), Charlize Theron (44), Abbie Cornish (37), Michael Shannon (45), David Duchovny (59), M. Night Shyamalan (49), Michelle Yeoh (57), Barbara Windsor (82), Geri Horner (47), Mark Strong (56), Tawny Kitaen (58), Meghan Markle (38), Billy Bob Thornton (64), and Barack Obama (58).