Escapes From the Noose tells the story of pardons and reprieves in Britain from medieval times to the end of hanging in 1964. The book comprises a collection of casebook stories, covering issues in criminal justice such as legal defences of insanity and provocation, from the days of savage punishment to the more enlightened years when insanity was better understood. The stories told here are a mixture of the famous and the obscure, including attempted assassinations of Queen Victoria, the enigmatic Wallace case in Liverpool and the 'not proven' case of Jeannie Donald in Scotland. The book also includes an account of the emergence of the Royal Pardon, the establishment of the Home Office and the influential lawyers who worked for reform and more humane attitudes to capital and physical punishment. The more recent stories illustrate this vividly, as in the story of the reprieved legless man in Lincolnshire in 1954, who had murdered his girlfriend but was spared execution on compassionate grounds.
Stephen Wade was born in Leeds and educated at the universities of Wales and Leeds. He taught in further and higher education for many years, and this was followed by six years as a writer working in prisons. Her is a writer and historian having written over fifty books, mainly in non-fiction, and he also lectures part-time at the University of Hull.