Pet Food Salesman Ships Gallows to Libya

Status: Hoax
Early last month a number of British papers ran pieces about a Norfolk farmer selling execution equipment to dictatorships. For instance, this is from the Scotsman (May 12):
Norfolk farmer David Lucas has built a booming business selling execution equipment to such enlightened governments as those of Zimbabwe and Libya. For the paltry sum of £12,000 you can be the proud owner of a fine set of English Oak gallows to hang the dissident of your choice. Or, if you've got a few unruly citizens you need out of the way, you could go for a group-hanging with Mr Lucas's "multi-hanging execution system", a snip at a hundred grand.
Now we learn that Mr. Lucas's gallows trade is nothing more than a hoax. At least, so says his business partner. UPI reports:
David Lucas, 45, attracted reporters to his pet food shop in Mildenhall, outside of which stands a gallows Lucas built to show his support for capital punishment. He claimed he was selling them to the governments of Libya and Zimbabwe for as much as $22,000, The Times of London reported Thursday. More than 30 British newspapers, along with the BBC and Sky News covered his story, which has fizzled out since his business partner, Brian Rutterford, came forward. "It is a hoax that has got completely out of hand. I know David well, work closely with him and I know he has built one set of gallows -- the one that remains outside his shop on my land," he said. "The rest is rubbish." Rutterford said Lucas had been keeping up the rumor because he likes talking to the media about capital punishment, the report said.
I suppose this is an example of gallows humor.


Posted on Thu Jun 01, 2006


Fair play to the bloke I say, sounds like he pulled off a 'well executed' hoax...cheese

Ok, I'll go back in my box now.
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  12:34 AM
$22,000 seems like an awfully high price for a few 2x4s nailed together and a couple of yards of rope.
Besides, you would think even the most technologically backward nation would be able to produce this product on its own.
But I guess checking out a story before you publish it is a thing of the past.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  04:52 PM
I thought the same thing when I saw that article - who needs to import gallows? Seems like someone along the publishing line - reporters, editors, the blogosphere that picked it up and passed it along, would have paused to wonder if that were true.
Posted by Kristen55  in  Seattle  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  07:48 PM
I ran across this story on iwon - in their odd news section. The original not the statement that it was a hoax. I agree with you Big Gary, how many entries here are hoaxes that would have been blown with a simple fact check? And I'd almost bet that every newspaper and news program (tv or radio) falls prey at least once a year if not more. Four years of journalism school and reporters never learned to fact check? What kind of teachers do these places get staffed with?
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sat Jun 03, 2006  at  05:35 PM
Fact checking in the media has taken second seat to getting that really big story out first. Of course the old adage is true, "Run without looking and you may end up on your face".
Posted by Lounge Lizard  in  El Paso, Tx  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  12:24 PM
Visit .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and talk to me direct
Posted by david  on  Tue Jul 25, 2006  at  05:19 AM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.