This paper explores the role of the Victorian press in Newcastle constructing – and subsequently deconstructing - a criminal character. In Newcastle upon Tyne in 1863, George Vass was tried, found guilty, and hanged for wilful murder. Contemporary newspaper accounts refer to Vass’s lack of emotional response during his trial and sentence. This in turn led many newspaper reports to describe Vass as without feeling, a bad character or a ‘monster’. However, by the time of his execution, he had transformed into an ‘unfortunate man, whose lot it was to die the death of a dog’. This paper examines the newspaper accounts, and the seeming redemption of Vass, and considers the role of the press in establishing a criminal identity for the contemporary readership.
|Publication status||Published - 6 Jun 2018|
|Event||1868: A Civilizing Moment? Reflecting on 150 Years since the Abolition of Public Execution - Literary and Philisophical Society, Newcastle|
Duration: 6 Jun 2018 → 6 Jun 2018
|Conference||1868: A Civilizing Moment? Reflecting on 150 Years since the Abolition of Public Execution|
|Period||6/06/18 → 6/06/18|