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23/09/2014
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Richard Horton
Census 1911
Ref: 65/35
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The Man they could not hang
THE COASTGUARDS AND THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG
John 'Babbacombe' Lee was twice in the employment of Emma Keyse. He was also in the navy, convicted of theft and accused of killing Miss Keyse.
He served a life sentence of penal servitude from 1885 - 1907 when he was released. Lee sold his side of the story to 'Lloyds Weekly News' and became a 'personality' through the music halls and silent cinema. John Lee eventually became an 'admired' and quite rich personality. In reality he secretly fled (illegally) to America in 1911 with a bar maid who claimed, incorrectly (and also illegally), to be his wife. John Lee had deserted his real wife, Jessie, he so publicly married at Newton Abbot in 1909...
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