Farmer defends sale of gallows

HUMAN rights campaigners have denounced a loophole in the law that is allowing a Suffolk farmer to sell gallows to Zimbabwe.Amnesty International claimed David Lucas' business “makes a mockery” of the UK's efforts to oppose the death penalty around the world.

HUMAN rights campaigners have denounced a loophole in the law that is allowing a Suffolk farmer to sell gallows to Zimbabwe.

Amnesty International claimed David Lucas' business “makes a mockery” of the UK's efforts to oppose the death penalty around the world.

Its comments came after it emerged the Mildenhall farmer has been selling the execution equipment to countries with poor human rights records for around ten years, including Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Last night on BBC Look East, he defended the trade, which is entirely legal, saying “at the end of the day business is business”.


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He said: “It isn't a sick trade at all. Some people, they do not see the other side of things. If you take some of the things happening through the world at the moment, this is the only way to control it. There's no control.”

Explaining what he meant by there being no control, he cited rapes and mass murders and said a gallows in a market square would make people “think twice about it”.

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He added: “That's how I think justice should be.”

Mr Lucas said he has around ten fresh orders for single gallows, which cost around £12,000 each. He also sells “multi-hanging execution systems”, which are fixed to lorry trailers and hang five to six people at a time and cost around £100,000.

He said the production of the gallows grew from his farming of Elephant Grass, which he exports to Africa.

But Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “It's appalling that a British man is apparently selling gallows to President Mugabe's government.

“There have been gaping loopholes in the regulations concerning execution equipment for years and it makes a mockery of the UK's efforts to oppose the death penalty around the world if right under its nose a British company is sending hanging equipment abroad.”

An Amnesty International spokesman told the BBC a new European Commission Trade Regulation, which comes into force on July 31, would make it unlawful to export gallows.

A Department of Trade and Industry spokeswoman said the government was pleased the export of the execution equipment was being made unlawful.

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