EXECUTION THIS DAY …….. 5th April 1865
The execution of John Stacey, for the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald-hill, on the 28th of February, took place at the gaol, in presence of a smell number of spectators. Since the lest execution a new “drop” has been constructed at the gaol, and the general arrangements materially altered. On a level with the gallery, in front of the middle tier of cells, a small platform, part of which is composed of a trap-door, has been erected, stretching across from the gallery on one side of one of the corridors to that on the other side. Above this platform a beam has been fixed, reaching from wall to wall, and to this the rope is suspended. The prisoners under sentence of death will be placed in the cells on a level with and immediately contiguous to this platform; the long distance which the convict had formerly to be conducted and the ascent of a ladder being by these arrangements avoided. The Rev. D. Lordon, by whom the convict Stacey has been constantly attended, visited him at an early hour yesterday morning; sad at the time of the execution the Rev. Dr. Bleasdale read the prayers of the church (Roman Catholic) to which the prisoner belonged. Punctually at ten o’clock the sheriff, accompanied by the governor of the gaol, had the door of the cell opened, and the unhappy man was informed that the hour had arrived. He stepped outside the cell, preceded by an attendant with a crucifix, and accompanied by the clergyman. The pinioning was done on the gallery in front of the cell, the prisoner the while keeping his eye fixed upon the emblem before him. Not more than two or three short steps ware required to bring him upon the centre of the trap-door before mentioned, and the prisoner stepped to the place indicated without any visible sign of trepidation. He was very pale, but had the expression of steady resolve, and his nerves did not fall him in the least while the rope was being adjusted. Thu only words spoken by him were now and then the repetition, in a low tone, of portions of the sentences recited by Dr. Bleasdale. The executioner, having completed the adjustment of the noose, stepped back to a lever handle, and released the bolt, allowed the drop to fall. Death must have been instantaneous; no struggling took place, and one or two slight movements, which lasted for perhaps a minute and a half after the drop, were evidently but the effects of a spasmodic action of the muscles after life had departed. Not more than about eighteen or twenty persons were present of whom the greater number were official. The prisoner stated at his trial that his true was Michael Casey. He is entered in the gaol books as thirty one years old, born at Bristol. He arrived in this colony in 1852, free, his calling as a stoker. He made no distinct confession of having committed the deed for which he was sentenced, unless he did so to the clergyman.