Date Of Execution: 9 Oct 1959
Execution Place: Newgate
Executioner: Harry Allen
Francis Joseph Huchet, 31, in St Helier, Jersey, the last person to be executed in the Channel Islands.
Francis Joseph Huchet was the last convicted criminal to be executed by hanging in the Channel Islands. He was 32 years old.
He was sentenced to death on 10 September 1959 by the Deputy Bailiff of Jersey for the capital murder of John Perrée on the night of 30 March 1959. Perrée, a 45-year-old unmarried labourer from St Brelade, Jersey, had been killed by a shotgun blast after spending an evening drinking with Huchet. Perrée’s body was recovered from a shallow grave on the sand dunes near Mont à la Brune on 4 April 1959.
Several incriminating pieces of evidence – including clothing belonging to both Huchet and his wife - were found near the crime scene. Furthermore, tracks in the sand at the crime scene pointed to an attempt to free Huchet’s car after it had become bogged down in the dunes.
At Huchet’s trial, which began in September 1959, witnesses were to testify that Perrée had been carrying a wallet containing a considerable amount of money on the night of his death. The existence of a bogus confession to the crime – written on the fly-leaf of a book and smuggled out of Newgate Street Prison in Saint Helier where Huchet was being held – also came to light. It had been accompanied by a covering note requesting that the ‘confession’ be copied out in ink and forwarded to the police. It reached the hands of the investigating officers, helping to seal Huchet’s fate.
Huchet was hanged at Newgate Street Prison on 9 October 1959.
It was the first civil execution in Jersey for over 52 years and only the second execution in Jersey in the 20th century (excepting executions carried out by the German occupying forces in Jersey during the Second World War). All further death sentences in Jersey were commuted to life imprisonment until 1986, when the death penalty was abolished.