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Gibbet Hill: Unfinished Justice - Patrick Collins

Gibbet Hill: Unfinished Justice - Patrick Collins

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The badly decomposed body on display on Gibbet Hill in Harbour Grace was that of a man who had been executed by hanging on January 7, 1834, on Market Hill in St. John’s, almost three months earlier. The man had been sentenced to be hanged and gibbeted, or hung in chains, for the July 11,1833, brutal slaughter in Harbour Grace of Robert Crocker Bray, his infant son, Samuel, and Ellen Coombs, the Bray family’s twenty-five-year old servant girl. Following the hanging, the man’s body was sent by boat to Harbour Grace where it was wrapped in chains, hung on a platform, and left to decay in full view of the townspeople.

Gibbeting is the use of a gallows-like structure to publicly display the bodies of executed criminals in order to deter other criminals. The bodies could be wrapped in chains or displayed in a cage. Gibbet Hill in Harbour Grace takes its name from this practice as does Gibbet Hill near Signal Hill in St. John’s

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