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Woman who saw 300 inmates put to death reveals she can’t forget their last words

Woman who saw 300 inmates put to death reveals she can’t forget their last words


A woman who witnessed almost 300 people be put to death reveals their final words she’ll never forget.

Michelle Lyons was 22 years old when she sat at the first execution, in Texas, while working as a journalist for The Huntsville Item.

Between the years of 2000 and 2012, she witnessed hundreds of death row inmates killed, all by lethal injection, writes Lad Bible.

Speaking about the first time she explained it made her “completely unbiased and unaffected” by what she saw, as the executions ran like clockwork and lasted a mere few minutes.

Witnesses and the media were brought in when everything was set up and the inmate was already strapped to a gurney.

Michelle witnessed around 283 death row inmates being executed
Michelle witnessed around 283 death row inmates being executed

But she later worked as an official spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, jumping the other side of the fence.

Michelle said: “Inmates are always given the opportunity to talk, and most of them do speak and have something to say.”

This is when she saw more than the clinical nature of the process, including meeting with prisoners hours before they died and hearing prison chaplains offer advice to those on death row on ‘how to die well’.

The Huntsville Unit, which houses the Texas execution chamber
The Huntsville Unit, which houses the Texas execution chamber

She explained there is a central room with a gurney in it, where the inmates lie, and two witnesses rooms divided by a wall. One for the prisoner’s family – up to five witnesses – where they sit at his feet so he can look down and see them.

The head of the gurney is where the victim’s family sit, and he can see them if he turns his head. The wall ensures the two groups never meet.

The death row visiting booth where she would talk with the condemned
The death row visiting booth where she would talk with the condemned

When everything is ready, prison officials come and inform the warden to proceed and the warden gives the inmate the opportunity to make a last statement.

Michelle said: “Most of them don’t talk for very long – there was one execution that I witnessed [the 2000 execution of Gary Graham], it was over 20 minutes he spoke.

“They don’t allow that usually. Usually, the warden will allow them to talk for about two minutes.”

Michelle's first execution was when she worked as a journalist
Michelle’s first execution was when she worked as a journalist

Some may choose to apologise for their crimes, others take their own route, she explained.

She added: “Then, you had some that would just do outlandish stuff. We had one guy that was telling jokes, we had another that was referencing a song – it’s called ‘The Road Goes On Forever And The Party Never Ends’ – it’s by a Texas songwriter and the lyrics very closely mirrored his tastes.

“Then, you had some that didn’t speak at all, and I found that unsettling.”

But others were hard to forget because it would turn ugly.

Michelle wrote about her experiences in a new book
Michelle wrote about her experiences in a new book

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She explained: “We had two guys in one night, and the first had a really ugly statement where he was telling the victims’ families, ‘I hope y’all get in a crash and die on your way home,’ and he said, ‘You can kiss my ass,’ and a whole bunch of stuff.

“It really stood out that night because it was so ugly, but then the second execution afterwards, the guy was so apologetic and was crying and telling the victim’s family, ‘I am so sorry I did this to you.’

“It was just such a crazy contrast to see in the space of 30 minutes, and it stuck with me.”

After leaving the TDCJ, she penned a book about her experiences, Death Row: The Final Minutes.





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FTSE 100 powers through 7000 mark for first time in a year

FTSE 100 powers through 7000 mark for first time in a year


FTSE 100 powers through 7000 mark for first time in more than a year as optimism rises about a global economic recovery

  • The last time the blue-chip index was above 7000 was in late February 2020 
  • A month later it had fallen below the 5000 mark after weeks of panic selling 
  • The turnaround has been driven by the vaccine rollout which continues at pace

The FTSE 100 has powered through the 7000 mark for the first time in more than a year as optimism rises about a global economic recovery. 

The last time the blue-chip index was above that milestone was in late February 2020 as investors were gauging the full magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A month later it had fallen below the 5000 mark after weeks of panic selling. 

But yesterday it finished up 0.5 per cent, or 36.03 points, at 7019.53 while The FTSE 250 rose to a record high as it gained 0.2 per cent, or 50.14 points, to 22,522.18. 

The turnaround has been driven by the vaccine rollout which continues at pace. 

As a result there is increasingly positive talk about the future state of the economy. 

Investors are once again seeing opportunity rather than threat in UK shares. 

Russ Mould, director at AJ Bell, said: ‘This represents a massive milestone in recovering from the terrible pandemic and shows how investors’ confidence has completely changed since just over a year ago. 

‘The market was understandably shocked as coronavirus gripped the world but in true investor style it has quickly focused on the future and the ability for corporate earnings to recover.’ 

Major gains were made by miners that were boosted by strong economic data from China and rising oil prices. 

Brent Crude has risen 7 per cent this week to $67 per barrel. Rio Tinto added 1.2 per cent, or 70p, at 6054p and Anglo American climbed 1.6 per cent, or 50p, to 3199p. The re-opening of bars, restaurants and retailers this week has been a boost and Wetherspoons was up 1.1 per cent, or 15p, at 1384p and Restaurant Group gained 1 per cent, or 1.2p, to 123p. 

British Airways owner IAG was also in positive territory as UK holidaymakers hope they can be given the green light to go away this summer. IAG was up 0.6 per cent, or 1.3p, at 208p. 

Time for take-off? British Airways owner IAG was also in positive territory as UK holidaymakers hope they can be given the green light to go away this summer

Time for take-off? British Airways owner IAG was also in positive territory as UK holidaymakers hope they can be given the green light to go away this summer

Although having broken the psychologically important 7000 barrier, the FTSE 100 remains more than 500 points below its level at the start of last year and has lagged behind several other major markets. 

The Footsie’s record high was close to 7900 in 2018. Analysts said London’s problem during the pandemic has been not enough big technology companies that have ridden the wave of an investment boom in New York. 

Steve Clayton, fund manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, said ‘The UK market has much bigger exposure to commodities and banking than Wall Street or Frankfurt, so the performance of those sectors will be key to the UK’s relative performance in the years ahead.’ 

Markets around the globe were also on the charge and in Paris the Cac 40 rose 52.94 points at 6287.07 and the Dax in Germany gained 204.42 at 15,459.75. 

In the US there were fresh record highs as the S&P and Dow Jones continued to climb. 

Koichi Fujishiro, economist at Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life, said ‘The US recovery looks really strong. And now that restaurants and hotels, both of which are labour intensive, are reopening, we could see sharp gains in payrolls in coming month.’

CHINA SPRINGS BACK TO LIFE 

China’s economy grew at the fastest pace on record at the start of the year as it continued its recovery from the pandemic. 

Official figures showed output jumped 18.3 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 – the strongest performance since records began in 1992. The world’s second largest economy has bounced back from the economic shock caused by Covid. 

The figures were skewed after a plunge in economic activity in the same period last year when the country went into lockdown.



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Reason why Meghan Markle isn’t with Harry at Prince Philip’s funeral

Reason why Meghan Markle isn’t with Harry at Prince Philip’s funeral


Prince Philip passed away on April 9, and his funeral will take place today, Saturday, April 17.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s grandson, Prince Harry, is one of the 30 guests in attendance.

He was able to travel from the US and attend the funeral after only self isolating for five days on “compassionate grounds”.

Prince Harry will be attending the funeral today at 3pm without his wife Meghan Markle by his side.

The reason for this is that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant with their second child, and has been advised by her doctor not to travel.

It is thought that Meghan made “every effort” to attend, but she didn’t receive medical clearance from her physician, according to Royal correspondent Omid Scobie.



Prince Philip
Prince Philip passed away on April 9

She remains at their home in California.

Meghan’s exact due date is not known, but it is thought to be in early June, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The Duchess confirmed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she and Harry are expecting a girl.

She said the baby would be arriving sometime this summer.



Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan won’t be joining Harry at the funeral

This will be Prince Harry’s first reunion with his family since the explosive TV interview.

The Duchess made a series of bombshell claims against the Royal Family during the interview.

Earlier in the week Harry paid tribute to his grandfather, who he described as the “master of the barbecue and legend of the banter”, and said he was “cheeky right ’til the end”.



Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Harry was able to travel from the US, but Meghan was advised against it due to being pregnant

In a statement issued through his foundation Archewell, he said: “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm-and also because you never knew what he might say next.

“He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke.

“But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”

At the end of the tribute, he said that he, Meghan, Archie and his future great-granddaughter would “always hold a special place” for him in their hearts.





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NHS worker fired after using spy-cam to film patients and own family in toilet

NHS worker fired after using spy-cam to film patients and own family in toilet


An NHS consultant has been sacked after secretly recording patients, colleagues and members of his own family in the toilet.

Dr Mark McClure used hidden mobile phones in a hospital, a private clinic and his own home so he could watch people get undressed.

The 52 year old radiologist admitted to recording people for his own sexual gratification as he positioned cameras in air vents, using wet toilet paper to secure them.

The creepy doc, whp was caught carrying out the covert recordings twice has been slammed by the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS) for ‘abusing his position of trust’ as a highly regarded consultant.



Silhouette of a man by a window.
Creepy doc, Mark McClure has now been struck off after filming people in the loo

McClure secretly recorded people on the toilet in several locations in Northern Ireland including Craigavon Area Hospital, where he worked for the NHS, Hillsborough Private Clinic, where he worked as a private doctor, his own home, and hotels.

At Hillsborough Private Clinic, McClure put his phone in the air vent of a unisex toilet which was used by both staff and patients.

The disgraced doctor positioned his phone pointing towards the toilet, securing it in place by using wet toilet paper, and left it on record.

McClure’s actions in 2015 were discovered by the nursing staff at the clinic and he was later arrested then convicted in court in 2017, escaping jail at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court in Northern Ireland with a probation order.



Hillsborough private clinic
Hillsborough private clinic – where the doctor practised for private patients

However, following subsequent searches of McClure’s devices, it emerged he had more recordings of victims at other locations from 2014, before his original offences.

Last year McClure was jailed for nine months in light of the discovery of the older recordings.

At the MPTS hearing, tribunal chair Chitra Karve said his behaviour was ‘premeditated,’ ‘calculated’ and had ‘breached the fundamental tenets of the medical profession.’

Ms Karve added: “In the circumstances, the tribunal determined that the only appropriate sanction, in this case, was one of erasure.



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“The Tribunal was of the view that Dr McClure’s actions had the potential for an adverse impact on the standing of the medical profession as a whole.

“Specifically, Dr McClure had abused his position of trust in recording and/or attempting to record victims in a clinical environment.”

Ms Karve also said she was ‘concerned’ that some of the recordings were in a hospital environment in which patients could have been recorded.

McClure admitted during the tribunal that he would be sexually aroused seeing some of the victims undressed.

The defendant pleaded to keep his job saying that he would only work from home as a doctor and not in a hospital.

McClure provided the tribunal with evidence of his record of good practice and claimed he offended during a stressful time but had since learnt better coping strategies.

But the tribunal was ‘concerned’ by this as the allegations he faced were not linked to his clinical practice and the tribunal found it to be ‘further evidence of his lack of insight into his offending behaviour.’





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Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot to fly back from Australia

Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot to fly back from Australia


Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot will fly back from Australia before the end of the month as he prepares to face disgruntled shareholders

Astrazeneca’s boss will jet back from Australia before the end of the month as he prepares to face disgruntled shareholders. 

Pascal Soriot, who has spent much of the pandemic at his family home Down Under, has irked investors and even some board members by refusing to come back to the UK since Christmas. 

During that time, Astra became embroiled in a row with the EU over supplies of its Covid jab, and has been put under intense regulatory scrutiny amid fears that its vaccine is causing rare blood clots. 

Homeward bound: Pascal Soriot has spent much of the pandemic at his family home Down Under

Homeward bound: Pascal Soriot has spent much of the pandemic at his family home Down Under

While the company has stated that Soriot is managing the company effectively from afar, critics claim that boss would have a better grasp of the problems – and how to resolve them – if he was back in the country and in the same time zone as most of his colleagues. 

Under pressure from investors, the Mail understands Soriot, 61, is preparing to fly back to the UK in time for Astra’s online shareholder meeting on April 30. 

Edentree Investment Management, which has a stake in Astra, said last week that Soriot’s absence ‘did not give the right signal or message’. 

Ketan Patel, an Edentree fund manager, added: ‘If we were grading the PR effort, they could do better. If you look at the data, and see that the chances of getting a blood clot with this vaccine is about four in one million, compared to four in 10,000 for the contraceptive pill, that perspective needs to be highlighted. 

‘Perhaps it is right to say, where is the chief executive in terms of articulating the healthcare benefits? He hasn’t been that public and being halfway around the world doesn’t give the right signal or message.’ 

Astrazeneca declined to comment but sources said Soriot’s plans were ‘still up in the air’. Soriot will be keen to nip any shareholder unease in the bud at this month’s online event, as it precedes the annual general meeting in May when investors will vote on his re-election to the board and the company’s executive pay. 

Last year, Soriot received £15.4million, up from £15.3million in 2019, including £13.4million in bonuses and incentives. Though shareholders will not be able to meet Soriot in person at this month’s online meeting, due to the pandemic, they will be able to ask questions on the live video call. 

Flying back: Under pressure from investors, the Mail understands Soriot, 61, is preparing to fly back to the UK in time for Astra's online shareholder meeting on April 30

Flying back: Under pressure from investors, the Mail understands Soriot, 61, is preparing to fly back to the UK in time for Astra’s online shareholder meeting on April 30

But many will feel comforted if he is back in the country, within easy reach of his colleagues at the Cambridge head office and with his focus squarely on the job. 

Soriot, a French-born businessman who has made his career in pharmaceuticals, moved to Australia with his family in 1990, where he is now a citizen. 

Insiders have said that Soriot is working ‘European business hours’ – despite Sydney being nine hours ahead of the UK – and his ability to communicate with his colleagues has not been hampered.



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Why Xinjiang is central to US cold war on China

Why Xinjiang is central to US cold war on China


On March 22, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized sanctions against Wang Junzheng, the secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).

These sanctions, Blinken said, were because Wang and Chen are accused of being party to “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.” The US Treasury Department followed suit with its own sanctions.

Wang and Mingguo responded by condemning these sanctions, which were not only imposed by the US but also by Canada, the UK and the European Union. Wang called the sanctions “a gross slander,” while Chen said he was “very proud of being sanctioned by these countries.”

In October 2011, then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton announced a “pivot to Asia,” with China at the center of the new alignment. Clinton said many times – including in Hawaii in November 2011 – that the administration of former president Barack Obama wanted to develop “a positive and cooperative relationship with China,” the US military buildup along Asia’s coastline told a different story.

The 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review noted “China’s growing presence and influence in regional and global economic and security affairs” and called it “one of the most consequential aspects of the evolving strategic landscape.” In 2016, US Navy Admiral Harry Harris, head of the Pacific Command, said the United States was ready to “confront China,” a statement given strength by the US military buildup around China.



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Cheeky dogs who prefer sleeping in their owners’ beds to their own

Cheeky dogs who prefer sleeping in their owners’ beds to their own


No matter how much we dog-lovers spend on expensive beds for their pets, somehow they always seem to end up in our beds by the morning.

That’s fair enough, why would they want to sleep in their own bed when they can snuggle up in a warm cosy bed with us?

But even though we’re big fans of cuddles with our furbabies, they can take up a huge amount of space and often sprawl themselves in the most awkward of positions leaving little room for us, the people who actually own the beds.

But how can we be cross with our fluffy little bundles of joy? They’re just too cute!



Two-year-old Golden Retriever, Letty, is a big fan of lying in bed. According to her owners, she lets them join her in bed too sometimes, if she’s feeling generous.
Two-year-old Golden Retriever, Letty, is a big fan of lying in bed. According to her owners, she lets them join her in bed too sometimes, if she’s feeling generous.


Join our brand new sister website TeamDogs today!

It’s a place where you can share a picture of your dog in our Top Dogs feed and share your doggy advice.

It seems we’re not alone – pet owners everywhere understand our frustrations with lots of people sharing photos of their sleepy pets.

Online bed and mattress retailer, Bed SOS, which specialises in next day delivery, wanted to see just how many pets love to snooze in their human’s beds, so challenged the nation to send in pictures.

Offering the prize of a free bed worth £200, Bed SOS was inundated with entries from all manner of pets, who like nothing better than to tuck themselves into bed after a long day.



Angel, a 13-year-old Staffordshire cross breed, and Indie, a three-month-old English Bull Terrier pup, are an unlikely pair of best friends. Little and large, they love a cuddle under the duvet.
Angel, a 13-year-old Staffordshire cross breed, and Indie, a three-month-old English Bull Terrier pup, are an unlikely pair of best friends. Little and large, they love a cuddle under the duvet.

And while the winner was Susannah Flood from Chelmsford whose two cats, Paddy and Ollie, both demanded their space on the bed, there were also lots of adorable dog entries who we think deserve a special mention.

Skyla, a Husky and Rottweiler cross, looks absolutely fuming that her owner is disturbing her nap. Do you mind? A little privacy, please.

Karen from Glasgow can barely get any room in her bed thanks to the bevy of pets who’ve taken over. With two cats and two dogs, she said: “If you don’t get in first, you don’t get a space!”



Karen from Glasgow can barely get any room in her bed thanks to the bevy of pets who’ve taken over. With two cats and two dogs, she said: “If you don’t get in first, you don’t get a space!”
Karen from Glasgow can barely get any room in her bed thanks to the bevy of pets who’ve taken over. With two cats and two dogs, she said: “If you don’t get in first, you don’t get a space!”


Skyla, a Husky and Rottweiler cross, looks absolutely fuming that her owner is disturbing her nap. Do you mind? A little privacy, please.
Skyla, a Husky and Rottweiler cross, is hoping no-one notices she’s in there

A big fan of minimalism, Herbie the French Bulldog loves being wrapped up in a freshly washed white duvet.

Crossbreed Ziggy was picked up by his owners as a stray, but has wasted no time in making himself comfortable, taking over the bed like he owns the place.

Oakley is a 10-week old Pug puppy who not only loves to take over the bed, but the games console too!



An 18 month-old Dogue de Bordeaux, Roxy’s owner told of how she ate her last bed, so it’s no wonder she gets her beauty sleep elsewhere!
An 18 month-old Dogue de Bordeaux, Roxy’s owner told of how she ate her last bed, so it’s no wonder she gets her beauty sleep elsewhere!

An 18 month-old Dogue de Bordeaux, Roxy’s owner told of how she ate her last bed, so it’s no wonder she gets her beauty sleep elsewhere!

Tucked up nice and cosy, Marshall the Dalmatian makes sure he always gets his eight hours of beauty sleep.

Bambi’s owner says she’s a total diva who’s completely spoiled but very much loved. Having dealt with bad owners and health issues in the past before she was rescued by her current family, we reckon she deserves to put her feet up.



A big fan of minimalism, Herbie the French Bulldog loves being wrapped up in a freshly washed white duvet.
Herbie the French Bulldog loves getting cosied up in a freshly washed white duvet


Oakley is a 10-week old Pug puppy who not only loves to take over the bed, but the games console too!
Oakley is a 10-week old Pug puppy who not only loves to take over the bed, but the games console too!

Six-year-old Sasha is a cross breed rescue dog who loves to snuggle up in the blankets. When she’s not napping, she also enjoys rummaging in the bin, much to the dismay of her owners.

Angel, a 13-year-old Staffordshire cross breed, and Indie, a three-month-old English Bull Terrier pup, are an unlikely pair of best friends. Little and large, they love a cuddle under the duvet.

Poppy the Bichon Frise’s owners suspect she might be half human with the way she perfectly tucks herself into bed.



Two-year-old English Bulldog, Bruce, loves a duvet day, whether his owner’s in bed or not!
Two-year-old English Bulldog, Bruce, loves a duvet day, whether his owner’s in bed or not!

Two-year-old Golden Retriever, Letty, is a big fan of lying in bed. According to her owners, she lets them join her in bed too sometimes, if she’s feeling generous.

Japanese Spitz and Jack Russell mix, Charlie, has clearly had a long day as evidenced by his big yawn!

Two-year-old English Bulldog, Bruce, loves a duvet day, whether his owner’s in bed or not!





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