Michael Manning (murderer)

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Michael Manning was an Irish murderer who became the last person to be executed in the Republic of Ireland.

Manning, a 25-year-old carter from Limerick, was found guilty of the rape and murder of Catherine Cooper, a 65-year-old nurse, who worked at Barrington's Hospital in the city in February 1953.[1]

The execution by hanging was carried out on 20 April 1954 in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin by Albert Pierrepoint, who had traveled from Britain where he was one of three Senior Executioners. A fellow inmate of Manning's recalled later, Friends of mine who worked with me, I was serving my time at the time, went up to visit him on the Sunday before he was hanged. And they went to mass and holy communion together and they played a game of handball that day. He couldn't have been more normal.

Manning's body was buried in an unmarked grave in a yard at Mountjoy Prison.


The death penalty was abolished in 1964 for all but the murder of gardaí, diplomats and prison officers. It was abolished by statute for these remaining offences in 1990 and was finally expunged from the Constitution of Ireland by a referendum in 2001.

The hanging of Michael Manning inspired a play by Ciaran Creagh. Creagh's father, Timothy, was one of the two prison officers who stayed with Michael Manning on his last night and Last Call is loosely based on what happened. It was shown in Mountjoy Prison's theatre for three nights in June 2006.


  1. Executions in Ireland