The odd connection between hangman Albert Pierrepoint and Princess Margaret’s boxing bodyguard
HANGMAN According to a new book, Albert Pierrepoint, one of Britain’s final executioners, formed an unexpected friendship with Princess Margaret’s boxer bodyguard Chick ‘Cocky’ Knight.
The death penalty was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1965, although the final hangmen worked in Her Majesty’s Prison Service until a few years ago. Albert Pierrepoint, whose life was the subject of a 2005 film starring Timothy Spall, was one of these and perhaps the most prolific. Pierrepoint was born in 1905, the son of an executor, and throughout the course of his 25-year career, he killed between 435 and 600 persons, following in the traditions of his father Henry and uncle Tom.
Pierrepoint executed approximately 200 war criminals, including Irma Grese and Josef Kramer, Nazi leaders from the Bergen-Belsen death camp.
Serial killers John Haigh, the Acid Bath Murderer, and Gordon Cummins, the Blackout Ripper, were among those executed.
Pierrepoint set a record by carrying out 17 executions in one day, acknowledging that it hurt his arm.
From entering the condemned man’s cell to releasing the trapdoor in the execution chamber, the hangman was so accurate that it would only take him 12 seconds to execute him.
Pierrepoint was a tavern landlord and a great boxing fan in addition to being the chief executor from 1940 onwards.
Through the sport, he became close friends with Chick “Cocky” Knight, a famous London boxer, wrestler, and film stuntman who served as one of Princess Margaret’s bodyguards at Kensington Palace.
In fact, in the early 1960s, he confronted two thugs who were beating up a police officer outside the Royal residence.
Chick’s great-nephew Andy Scott, author of London’s Loveable Villain: The True Story of Chick ‘Cocky’ Knight’s Colorful Life, spoke with this website about his socializing with Pierrepoint.
“Albert watched a lot of boxing,” Scott remarked. Given the length of time he spent in London on his “business,” as he referred to it, I’m guessing he saw Chick fight.
“However, he also went to a lot of boxing matches across the country.”
When he had a bout close in the North, the boxer, who was also a triple lifesaver, would even stay at Pierrepoint’s house.
“Whenever Chick was fighting up in Manchester, he’d stay at Albert’s pub up in Hollinwood,” the author said.
“Obviously,” Scott added. “Brinkwire Summary News.”