Famous last words
Coburg, Victoria, Australia
February 3, 1967
“God bless you, please make it quick.”
Ryan was convicted of shooting and killing a police officer during an escape. He claimed innocence of the murder until his death, and many believed he was innocent of this crime. He garnered nationwide support, many attempting to repeal his execution if only to turn it to a life sentence.
During the time at which Ryan was scheduled to hang, his supporters held a three minute long silence nationwide. The amount of public outcry helped bring about a temporary end to execution in Australia, as no one was executed again for the 20 years after Ryan’s death before the death penalty was abolished in 1985.