LETTER: State execution's vile details deserve airing

I DISAGREE with Amanda Thompson's criticism (Letters, 16 April) of the detailed discussion of the pain caused by various methods of capital punishment in the 9 April issue. The article she was criticising revealed elements of capital punishment that are cruel and revolting and which ought to be known. They proved again what a despicable, ghastly, unforgivable thing it is for a government ceremoniously to murder one of its own citizens - however weak, frail, stupid, crazed, dishonest, evil or simply feckless that citizen may be.

I recall waiting, when I was young, for the executions of Timothy Evans, Ruth Ellis, James Hanratty and others. I will never forget the pain of hearing the early morning time signal on the BBC on more than three occasions and realising, with fresh horror every time, that a human being had just been killed in the name of justice and in my name, too - because I was part of the society that condoned it.

John Selwyn Gilbert