24 years old murderess Mary Eleanor
Wheeler (Percey) was hanged by the
British executioner James Berry.
Mary was strong like a pony, and
despite her lack of beauty, she was
very attractive to men.
Her execution was set for the Monday
morning two days before Christmas in
1890 at Newgate. Berry arrived on
Saturday, and was seen by Mary
looking through the judas hole in the
door of her cell to judge her weight
and build. She apparently said to the
wardress: "Oh, was that the
executioner? He's in good time isn't
he? Is it usual for him to arrive on the
Saturday for the Monday?"
At the appointed time on Monday
morning, Berry went into her cell and
said: "If you are ready, madam, i'll get
these straps around you". Mary
replied: "I am quite ready, Mr. Berry".
She walked calmly to the gallows
- following in her farther's footstep.
He was hanged ten years earlier!
Mary's executioner, James Berry wrote about her:
"The night before her execution was spend in the condemned
cell, watched by three female warders, who stated that her
fortitude was remarkable. When I entered her cell that morning
she shook my proffered hand without any trace of emotion.
Asked if she wanted to make any statement, as her last
opportunity for doing so was fast approaching, she said "My
sentence was a just one, but a good deal of the evidence
against me was false." She told her female warders that they
were not needed although one elected to stay with her. She went
quietly then to a painless death."
At the time of her arrest Mary was 5' 6'' tall and according to her describtion she had
"lovely russet hair and fine blue eyes. She was of normal build and had nice shapely
hands. Her face was not overly pretty". Her weight was about 126 pounds. At her
execution, she she was dropped 9 feet and left hanging for one hour in the noose