Hanged for the Word If: The Murder of Lily Volpert and the Execution of Mahmood Hussein Mattan

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Chris Phillips, Aug 31, 2020 - True Crime - 351 pages
In 1952 a shopkeeper named Lily Volpert was murdered in the docks district of Cardiff, known as Tiger Bay. A Somali former merchant seaman, Mahmood Hussein Mattan, was charged with the murder, convicted and hanged. But 46 years later he became the first person in British history to have a murder conviction overturned after being executed. "Hanged for the Word If" is the first book in English about this historic case. Drawing on all the available documentary evidence, including the surviving records held by the police, it tells the story of the crime, the investigation, the trial and the execution. It traces the later history of some of the people involved, and relates how another murder and an attempted murder raised doubts about Mattan's guilt. It describes the campaign to reopen the case in the 1990s and the appeal that overturned his conviction. And finally it tries to answer the question of who really killed Lily Volpert in 1952.
 

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Contents

1 Tiger Bay
3
2 Volperts
11
3 The Night of the Murder
18
4 The Scene of the Crime
26
5 A Somali Seen near the Shop
32
6 More Witnesses
36
7 An Identification
40
8 No Stone Unturned
46
Evidence about the Murder
160
Mattans Movements
168
Mattans Vices
177
Mattans Evidence
187
Last Day
191
36 Refused Leave to Appeal
201
37 Execution
206
38 Tahir Gass
215

9 Mahmood Hussein Mattan
53
10 Antecedents
59
11 Questioned about his Movements
65
12 Mattans Routine
70
13 No Alibi
73
14 Interrogation
78
15 Clothes
85
16 May Gray
89
17 Mary Tolley
93
18 Charged with Murder
99
19 Building a Case
105
20 Offensive Weapons
108
21 The Dog Track and the Poker Game
111
22 Movements on the Day of the Murder
115
23 The Police Theory
121
24 On Remand
128
25 Brown Suede Shoes
130
26 The Razor under the Washing
135
27 Committal
137
28 Notice of Further Evidence
145
29 Awaiting Trial
150
Opening Gambits
156
39 The Murder of Granville Jenkins
222
40 The Trial of Tahir Gass
228
41 Wounded Tiger
235
42 Harold Cover
238
43 The Attempted Murder of Elaina Smith
243
44 Investigation by The People
245
45 No New Grounds to Reopen the Case
250
46 Campaign
259
47 Appeal
264
48 Aftermath
271
49 Dahir Awalhi
277
50 Six Feet Tall
283
51 The Evidence
289
52 Mahmood Hussein Mattan?
295
53 Harold Cover?
299
54 Tahir Gass?
303
55 Someone Else?
306
The Sequence of Events
311
Note on Sources
319
Bibliography
323
Index
325
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