Episode 3 – The Man They Could Not Hang

In 1885, a convicted killer suddenly became a legend. Sentenced to death for the murder of his employer at her home on Babbacombe Beach, John Lee mysteriously survived three attempts to execute him at Exeter Prison.

Having placed a noose around Lee’s neck, the hangman pulled a lever to release the trapdoors beneath the prisoner’s feet, but the doors refused to open.

Amazingly, each time Lee was led away, the apparatus was tested and found to work perfectly.

Presented & produced by Chris Batchelor

Find out more at http://www.strangepodcast.com

Music by Ben Sound – http://www.bensound.com

Interesting Links

Babbacombe Bay through the eyes of the victim. A watercolour painting by Emma Keyse, dated September 1876 entitled, ‘View from my bedroom window – Babbicombe’


A photograph of John “Babbacombe” Lee.


If you would like to view the official Torbay County Council Local Studies Education publication (PDF file), please click here.