Young man hanged in 1821 gets burial

April 14, 2011 at 1:57 AM
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BRISTOL, England, April 14 (UPI) -- An 18-year-old hanged in 1821 in England for killing his sweetheart was given a proper burial Wednesday after a relative tracked down his skeleton.

Mary Halliwell, a descendent of John Horwood's brother, said she learned his story while tracking down family history, the Daily Mail reported. She even found letters from his parents asking that he be laid to rest.

After he was executed, his body was dissected at Bristol University by Richard Smith, a surgeon who had testified against him. Smith used his skin to bind a book about the dissection.

Horwood was buried in Hanham, the village where he grew up, after a funeral service.

"My wish was to lay him to rest as his parents wanted, and for him to be buried in a dignified way," Halliwell said.

Horwood's troubles began when he threw a stone at his former sweetheart, Eliza Balsum, when he saw her with another man.

The stone apparently caused only a minor injury but Smith, a surgeon at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, decided to operate, causing a fatal abscess. After Balsum died, Smith gave Horwood's name to police and testified against him at his one-day trial.

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