Executions · Famous Last Words · Religion · Scotland

Reverend hanged for murder of wife

October 4, 1570
Spott, Scotland
Rev. John Kello is hanged for the murder of his wife

Rev. Kello’s finances from the church were not enough to keep himself in a status he desired, nor were they enough to keep his mistress happy. He decided the best course of action would be to kill his wife, stage it to look like a suicide, then marry a wealthy lord’s daughter.

On September 24, 1570, the reverend snuck behind his wife as she prayed and quickly brought a towel under and around her neck, strangling her. He placed a rope around a crossbeam, ate breakfast, prepared for his sermon, ensured his wife’s heart had stopped, hanged her, placed a stool next to her body to simulate a suicide, performed his sermon, and mentioned to his flock that his wife was feeling ill.

After services, the congregation decided to pay Mrs. Kello a visit to bring her into better spirits. Finding the door locked from the inside, the reverend went to a lesser-used door, insisting on checking on his wife alone. His wails brought the others to his side and he performed the part of the grieving widower fairly well. However, guilt or the fear of God convinced him to turn himself in.

Rev. Kello was hanged on October 4, with his Last Words being: “Measoure not the treuth of Godis word altogether be the lyvis of sic as are apointed pastouris ower you, for thei beir the self same fleshe of corruptioune that ye doe, and the moir godlie the charge is whairunto thai are called, the readier the Enemie to draw thame bak from Godis obedience.”

Book reproduction from Kingcraft in Scotland and Other Essays and Sketches by Peter Ross.

Other reference: The Stockbridge Baby-Farmer and Other Scottish Murder Stories by Molly Whittington-Egan

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