Jean Lee - Hanged at HM Prison Pentridge, the last woman executed in Australia on the 19th of February 1951
In 1949, the Jean Lee, Robert David Clayton and Norman Andrews targeted an elderly man, William "Pop" Kent. Kent, 73, was an SP Bookie. Kent invited the trio to have a drink at his flat—6 pm closing time was law in Victoria. They had heard that he kept money in his home, and thought Kent would be a soft target. While Lee kept Kent busy by performing oral sex, the two men would search the flat for money. The trio later gave conflicting statements to police but what is known Kent was tied to a chair, by Lee, and over a period of hours all three kicked and beat him, while demanding to know where his money was kept, they took his money roll he had in his pocket but wanted more. Kent was at first defiant, but eventually insisted that he had no extra money. He was tortured then stabbed several times, before Andrews strangled him. Neighbours heard Kent's screams and called police, but by the time they arrived, Lee, Clayton and Andrews were gone, and Kent was dead. Kent was found under a pile of sheets and clothing, his furniture had been broken and his home had been ransacked. A later report claimed Kent's penis had been cut off and stuffed down his throat.
The three were soon apprehended in a hotel room, still wearing blood-stained clothing. Lee and Clayton had more blood on their clothes than Andrews and Lee had an abrasion on her nose. Lee confessed to the crime and in an effort to save her lover, claimed that she had acted alone and that he had no knowledge of the events. All three were charged with murder but by the time their trial began on 20 March 1950, they had turned on each other, with each person attempting to shift blame onto the other two. Lee was charged under the principle of "common purpose" which meant that although it was accepted that she had neither stabbed nor strangled Kent, she had played an active role in his death and was therefore equally culpable. The three were found guilty and sentenced to death. Lee became hysterical as she heard the sentence.
On 23 June 1950, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that their confessions had been improperly obtained and ordered a retrial, but this was overturned by the High Court and the verdicts and sentences were confirmed. Lee's mental state declined after this, and she alternated between violently attacking her prison guards and begging for mercy, while stating repeatedly that she was innocent and that they had never meant to kill anyone. Lee also commented that she did not believe a woman would be hanged. As the date for her execution drew near, she grew increasingly erratic.
Norman Andrews & Robert Clayton