Guilty or Innocent – you decide?

Babbacombe Cliff Railway and the Babbacombe and St Marychurch Local History Society have got together to create a fascinating event for locals, holidaymakers and anyone interested in the incredible story of John “Babbacombe” Lee, nicknamed “The Man They Couldn’t Hang”.

Back in 1885 John Lee was tried and convicted of the murder of his employer, Emma Keyse.  He claimed his innocence throughout and the evidence against him was said to be weak and circumstantial. Nevertheless he was found guilty and sentenced to hang.  They tried but to no avail.  This strange and very local tale will be re-told with a visit to the scene of the crime on Babbacombe Beach on Wednesday 7 August.  There you will find out all about the crime, the evidence, the court proceedings, the attempts to hang John Lee as well as the amazing sequence of events that followed.  It’s a remarkable story that has captured the imagination of many over the years including the folk-rock band Fairport Convention who, in the early 1970s, wrote a rock opera all about the tale. So, go along, find out more and see if you think that he was guilty or innocent of a crime that caused him to spend twenty years of his life in prison.

Babbacombe Cliff Railway

Tickets for this event are £4 each to include a return trip on Babbacombe Cliff Railway along with the full recounting of the story and John Lee’s amazing escape from the Hangman’s noose.  Tickets are available by phoning 01803 391415 and numbers in each group are limited.  There are two trips planned, 10.30am and 2.30pm.  There are some steep steps and it is advisable to wear suitable shoes.