Following the successful reintroduction of paupers’ funerals, in which local authorities arrange the details and recover any costs they can from the dead person’s estate, the next phase of the government’s reintroduction of pre-Victorian values will see the return of mass hangings at Tyburn. A pilot scheme is now being rolled out, covering such heinous crimes as murder, petty treason and stealing goods worth more than 2s 6d.
‘We’re killing two birds with one stone, as it were,’ said Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss. ‘The prisons are horribly overcrowded and expensive to run, while we are also strong believers in the adage that justice should not only be done but be seen to be done. Fortunately, the location of the old Tyburn Tree, near where Marble Arch stands now, is highly visible.’
Plans are to recreate the process as near as possible to its historic form. As Newgate prison no longer exists, condemned prisoners will be taken straight from the Old Bailey to Tyburn by horse and cart or, if the authorities wish to make a particular example of them, a Fiat Multipla. Their last stop at the Mason’s Arms for a pint of gin will be restricted to ten minutes so as to keep the whole process to three hours, since traffic speeds down Oxford Street have fallen considerably since Georgian times.
Recent building in the vicinity has made the reconstruction of ‘Mother Proctor’s Pews’ for spectators impractical. However, Truss said that there would be many options for the public to watch the hangings, including from the 30, 94 and 113 buses, rooms in some Park Lane hotels and highlights of the week on BBC 1 after Match of the Day, except in Scotland where viewers will have their own programmes.
The first criminal to make his way to ‘God’s Tribunal’ will be James Underwood, 29, who was convicted earlier today of the newly restored capital offence of going about at night in a blackened face in a case that the Daily Mail described as ‘criminal correctness gone mad’. Parts of his ‘last dying speech’ have already been posted on Facebook and read:
‘How dismal is the lot of him you see,
A guilty suff’rer at the Fatal Tree!
Take heed, who watch, and pray most true and hearty
That we be grateful for the Tory Party’