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Billy the Kid (William Bonny), 1860—1881
Billy the Kid was a legend in the Wild West as a cattle rustler and murderer. Slim and fair, Billy was born in New York but soon moved to New Mexico. He was apprenticed to a blacksmith but. found this boring, so he shot the smith and became a cowboy. At first he worked for John Chisholm, who was fighting a range war in the Pecos Valley. He quarrelled with Chisholm and joined a band of cattle rustlers, killing as many of Chisholm's men as he could in the process. Pat Garrett was elected sheriff to capture Billy the Kid He did this, but Billy shot two deputies and escaped from his cell just before he was due to be hanged. He was caught by Garrett
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two months and five murders later and shot dead in a gunfight. He was said to have shot twenty-one men, but in fact he probably only killed three.
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" was a mysterious killer who terrorised the East End of London in the autumn of 1888. His victims, all women, were killed by having their throats cut, and in many cases the bodies were savagely mutilated as well. The number of victims is said to be between four and fourteen, though police authorities generally thought that only five murders were definitely the work of the Ripper. The Ripper was never caught, and his identity remains a mystery. All kinds of people have been suggested as possible Rippers, including the Duke of Clarence and even a barrister.
Koy Bean, d. 1903
In the days when the western part of the USA was known as Wild West law was upheld by very rough and ready men. 'Judge1 Bean, as he called himself, was one of the most colourful of the lawmen. As a young man he had been a slaver, driven an ammunition truck in the war against Mexico, smuggled cotton and been tried. He became famous as Justice of the Peace in a town called Vinegarroon Here, in a saloon called the Jersey Lilly — so named after the actress Lily Langtree of whom he was a fan — he held the court His justice was as rough as the people he tried and he built up an enormous reputation, so that many tales were told about him. One is that he decided on one occasion that a man accused of murdering a Chinaman might call on his tough friends to make trouble for the judge. Looking through his law books he announced that he could not find anywhere that it said that you must not kill a Chinaman!
Butch Cassidy, 1866—1910 and the Sundance Kid,
Butch Cassidy, whose real name was Robert Leroy Parker, was the leader of a gang of American outlaws called the Wild Bunch who operated mainly from a secure hideout in Wyoming Territory called Hole in the Wall. Other members of the gang were the Sundance Kid (real name Harry Longbaugh), Bill 'News7 Carver, Ben Kilpatrick and Harvey Logan. The Wild Bunch rustled cattle,
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held up banks and robbed trains, all with varied success. On one occasion they stole $40,000 in. notes that were so new that they had not been signed, and their clumsy attempts to forge the signatures failed miserably. Having made things too hot for themselves by robbing the Union Pacific railway rather too frequently, in 1902 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moved to South America accompanied by pretty schoolteacher Etta Place. This combination carried out a number of robberies, before the two outlaws were ambushed and killed in a gunfight with the Bolivian army in 1910, However, rumours persist that either one or both men returned to the USA and lived on peacefully to die of old aga The film of their life and death, Butch Cassidy and the. Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, managed to catch the flavour of criminal exploits almost perfectly.
IVIata Hari (born Gertruda Margarete Zelle)>
Mata Hari, who was executed by a firing squad in France in October 1917, is probably the most famous spy of all time. She is renown for her beauty, her numerous military lovers, her provocative oriental dancing, and, above all, her espionage. Yet in fact, she was not oriental, or even a spy. Mata Hari was a stage name adopted by a plump middle-aged Dutch divorcee, named Mrs. Margaretha MacLeod, who had left her alcoholic Scottish husband and opted to become a dancer in Europe. The evidence of her alleged espionage on behalf of the German Kaiser is based merely on her being mistaken for a well-known German agent Clara Benedix, by the British in November 1916. In that month Mrs. MacLeod was arrested in Falmouth, Cornwall, on board of the ship Hollandia while she was on her way to Holland. The police released her when they realised the mistake. Later she was arrested in France and charged with having been in contact with German intelligence officers in Madrid (though she had never even been
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there). At her trial in Paris her lurid life-style was used to damning effect It was only in 1963, when the secret files relating to her case were released, that the legend was reassessed. Most historians now think that, far from being a spy, Mata Hari was simply an innocent scapegoat — shot because the French government wanted to cover up its military ineptitude by fabricating an all-powerful ring of German agents,
Captain Alfred Dreyfus, 1859—1935
The name of Dreyfus is one of the most famous in the history of espionage. He was a French army officer of Jewish ancestry who in 1894 was sentenced to life imprisonment for selling military secrets to the Germans. The high command of the French army was strongly anti-Jewish and Dreyfus was a convenient scapegoat. His court martial was carried out as if he had already been found guilty. To serve his sentence he was sent to Devil's Island, the French prison colony off the coast of Guiana. In 1896 an army intelligence officer found proof that Dreyfus was innocent, but the army chief of staff refused to accept it. Support for Dreyfus grew and in 1898 the writer Emile Zola published a famous open letter, *\Faccuse"> calling for his case to be reopened At last, the army brought Dreyfus back from Devil's Island and retried him in 1899. To the amazement of everyone, this second court martial again found him guilty. Such was the public fury that the President pardoned Dreyfus immediately, but it was not until 1906 that his name was fully cleared, and the real traitor exposed.