A Tory election agent in a crucial marginal seat stunned radio listeners when he said his past as an “execution consultant” in the United States would enable him to hang criminals.
Tony Homewood phoned BBC Three Counties Radio where he described how he had consulted on executions, including on the hanging of a child murderer in the 1990s, in an extraordinary conversation that left one lawyer’s “jaw on the floor”.
Homewood is the election agent for Antony Calvert, the Tory candidate hoping to unseat Labour’s Mary Creagh in Wakefield.
Creagh described Homewood as “a 1950s throwback” for the comments he made during the debate on whether Ian Brady should have been executed.
As the host Jonathan Vernon-Smith sounded stunned, Homewood matter-of-factly recounted how he helped Washington State Penitentiary hang Westley Allan Dodd “without strangling him to death, basically”.
Homewood, who described himself as “a recognised historian on British judicial executions”, said his expertise included advising the prison “how far to drop him”.
When asked how he felt sleeping the night after Dodd died, Homewood said: “I was sucking my thumb like a baby, it didn’t bother me at all.”
In the most remarkable part of the conversation, Homewood said he thought he was personally capable of hanging someone.
He said Ian Brady should have been hanged. He said: “Personally, I think that ten quid for the executioner, 15 guineas by ’65, ’64, to have hung him at Manchester would have saved the world a lot of trouble... There’s no excuse for having kept him alive.”
He added: “I could do it, yeah... If the court determined he was worthy of the death sentence.”
When asked how he could be sure, he answered: “Because I know I can...
“I orchestrated the execution of people in America and I didn’t lose any sleep over it. Alright, maybe I’m wrong. Taking someone’s life takes some doing but I’m very good at rationalising these things.”
Homewood said of the Dodd case: “He hanged three children. So hey ho. I’m not particularly worried about it. I’m very good at detaching myself from it...
“He’d admitted his guilt. He chose to die by hanging... Why do I care? All my sympathies go to those children.”
Dodd’s execution was America’s first hanging since 1965.
Homewood said: “Unfortunately - or, you might say fortunately depending on your viewpoint, the courts in America ruled it to be cruel and unusual punishment and there were only three in the 90s and then there were no more.”
Homewood also said Dodd’s death had so little impact on him, he had struggled to even remember the killer’s name.
Barrister Matthew Scott spoke after Homewood and said he struggled to respond.
Though Homewood was only identified as “Tony” on the show, he confirmed to Scott later it was him on Twitter.
Creagh told HuffPost UK: “This bizarre interview where the Tory agent in Wakefield boasts about helping out with a hanging is a chilling reminder that Theresa May’s Tories are and always have been the nasty party.
“His extraordinary revelations show why Wakefield’s Tory candidate is keeping such a low profile - his campaign manager is a 1950s throwback.”
HuffPost UK approached Antony Calvert’s campaign for comment but had not received a reply as this story went live.
Creagh defended Calvert in 2015 with a 2,613 majority.