In 1938 an Indian sailor, was hanged after bludgeoning his friend to death in a ship that was berthed in Liverpool's docks.
30 year old Jan Mohamed and Animul Hag had been friends for a number of years but fell out during a voyage in the spring of 1938, leading to Hag attacking Mohamed with an iron bar and knocking some of his teeth out. They were separated and Mohamed, who had a previous exemplary record, was given lodgings in Great George Square whilst he awaited a transfer to another ship.
Hag was kept on board the SS Kabinga (below) at Gladstone Dock and it was here that the terrible murder happened. At 2pm on 11th April Mohamed was seen sliding down a rope and running away from the Kabinga and he was stopped by a policeman ten minutes later who noticed that he was bleeding from the mouth. Mohamed said 'Trouble in ship man hurt' and was taken back to the vessel, where the body of 20 year old Hag was found lying on the engine room steps. Mohamed told the officer he was acting in self defence and picked up the nearest weapon he could find, which was an iron file.
At his trial which began less than three weeks later at Manchester Assizes Mohamed pleaded self defence, but medical evidence showed that the blows to Hag had come from behind. This implied premeditation and that he had struck first after laying in wait. Mohamed was found guilty although there was a strong recommendation for mercy by the jury. Mohamed was unmoved as the sentence was translated into Hindustani for him and replied 'I did not intentionally kill him'.
After the execution date was set for 17th May a last minute appeal was lodged but this was unsuccessful.
Mohamed was hanged at Walton Gaol on 8th June, having spent his final days playing draughts and dominoes against the warders, games in which he was rarely beaten. A crowd of 100 were outside the prison awaiting the posting of the execution notice, including two of his countrymen. The Kabinga sank in 1943 after colliding with another vessel in fog.