Haines Executed: Dies Smoking Cigarette  

William Ephriam Peter Haines was hanged at the Adelaide Gaol at 8 o'clock on Friday morning.

On November 18 William Ephriam Peter Haines was convicted in the Criminal Court of the murder of Miss Devina Nellie Schmidt at Bridgewater on October 12.  He was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Angus Parsons, and the law required that the order of the court should be executed on the twenty-eighth day after the passing of sentence, failing a reprieve by the Executive Council.

A petition for reprieve was refused, and the sentence was carried out on Friday morning at the Adelaide Gaol at 8 o'clock.  The condemned man was attended constantly by the chaplain of the gaol (Rev. R.M. Fulford) and by a former Sunday-school teacher, the Rev. J.P.H.Tilbrook, of Two Wells, until Thursday, when Mr. Tilbrook took leave of him.  On the same day Haines was visited for the last time by his relatives.  The chaplain was with him on Thursday night and called him early on Friday morning in the condemned cell.  This is situated in one of the upper wards of the gaol, and the condemned man has to walk only a few feet on to the trap door through which he eventually falls.

The cell itself is a little larger than the ordinary cell, containing a sort of cage in which the prisoner is placed, the warder detailed for the "death watch" sitting outside and watching him constantly.

The chaplain prayed with Haines until just before 8 o'clock, when he was called by the Sheriff (Mr. Otto H. Schomburgk), whose official duty it is to have the sentence of the court executed on the body of the prisoner.

Haines lit a cigarette and came out onto the scaffold, the chaplain remaining at the door of the cell.  The prisoner asked for a final look at the world, and was taken to a shuttered window near the place of execution.  He attempted to look through, but said, "Oh, I can't see anything," and walked on to the drop.  He was pinioned by the executioner, and the black cap pulled over his head and eyes, although he showed some distaste for being blinded.  He stood on the drop puffing violently at his cigarette, while the rope was being fitted round his neck.  The rest of the proceedings were over in less than a minute.

There was a "click" as the bolts on the trap door were released, and another as the rope tightened, and the condemned man disappeared from view.  The rope swayed no more than six inches either way. Those whose duty compelled them to witness the execution viewed the body as it hung, the cigarette still in the mouth and the medical officer made his examination.  There was in all about ten people present, including the executioner, the Sheriff, the chaplain, the keeper of the gaol (Mr. Molloy), and the medical officer to the gaol (Dr. C.E.C.Wilson), two warders and three policemen

At 9 o'clock the Assistant Coroner (Mr. C.L. Mathews) conducted an inquest at the gaol and returned a verdict that the death was due to strangling by hanging in accordance with the sentence of the court.  Evidence was given by the medical officer that the neck was completely broken and that death was instantaneous.


Adelaide Times. December 17 1927