The 13th Floor

The Notorious Guy Who Builds Gallows for a Living

Looking to kill your fellow countrymen with a custom-made gallows built with fine British craftsmanship? You are just the right customer for British farmer and gallows-maker David Lucas. Claiming to have supplied hangman’s gallows to such human rights violating countries like Zimbabwe, Libya, and other African and Middle Eastern spots, to David Lucas it’s all just business.

From all outward appearances, David Lucas seems like a normal man of the land. A woodworker, he is known around his community for selling animal bedding, rabbit hutches, outhouses, and garden sheds. Lucas also claims to derive a large portion of his income from selling his wooden gallows to any despot willing to pay for one.iStock_000003343048_Medium
Lucas’s devices vary in size and price, depending on your countries needs and means. Sizes range from a single platform gallows to a larger multiple gallows system, for those occasions when you need to hang all of your opposition leaders at once. Prices start at about 12,000 pounds ($17,000) and can go upwards of 100,000 pounds ($144,000). High range models include a mobile multi-hanging public execution system for the executioner on the go, which Lucas touts as being of his own design.

For years, Lucas was able to skirt the UK law, shipping his instruments of execution under the label “other small buildings”. But, Lucas was not one to hide his business from authorities, erecting a gallows on his property in plain view of anyone passing by. A champion of the death penalty, Lucas claims to have supporters all over the world who believe in his practice. Amnesty International called his export of gallows appalling in an interview with the BBC in 2006, and the United Kingdom agreed. British authorities stated that the idea that a British citizen is supplying foreign countries hanging equipment to be a mockery of the country’s opposition to the death penalty. Lucas, on the other hand, maintains that his devices are the best crime deterrent out there. In 2006, he told THE GUARDIAN that he only sold them to “law-abiding citizens in foreign countries – reported to include Zimbabwe – for some years”. But in 2009, the UK’s METRO (metro.uk.com) reported that Lucas “said he stopped making them in July 2006 after the export of hangman’s equipment was made illegal by an EU directive”.

In 2009, David Lucas made the news again when he was arrested for possession of an illegal weapon, ammunition and explosives. The UK publication THE MIRROR reported that “the animal feed trader admitted illegally possessing explosives and ammo, but said he used gunpowder for traps and planned to display bullets in picture frames”.

A month after this story broke in the UK, several of those close to Lucas stepped forward to call the story a hoax. Lucas still maintains that his gallows sales are legitimate.

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