What Happened to the Man Who Couldn't Be Hung?

Do you know about the Devon man they could not hang?

This is the story of the attempted execution of John Henry Lee notorious in Devon and later turned into an American TV show.

John Lee was born in Abbotskerswell, South Devon, in 1865 – he went on to dodge the noose three times.

His crime - a murder - was one that shook Babbacombe to its foundations. Elderly wealthy spinster Emma Keyse was beaten and then had her throat cut in her bedroom before her body was set alight.

Archive photo of The Glen at Babbacombe where servant John 'Babbacombe' Lee was accused of killing his employer Emma Keyse in 1884.
Being “the only man in the house” appeared enough to point the finger at Lee, and the circumstantial evidence was certainly overwhelming.

A bloodied knife was found in a drawer besides Lee’s bed, and he himself was covered in blood – although he claimed he cut his arm after smashing a window when he discovered the blaze in his mistress’s bedroom.

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