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Pleas Ignored, Briton Hanged in Malaysia

July 22, 1989|From United Press International

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A 39-year-old Briton caught seven years ago trying to smuggle heroin out of the country in his boots and underwear was hanged at dawn Friday, his last plea for help to Queen Elizabeth II unanswered.

Derrick Gregory, of Surrey in southern England, walked out of his grim cell at Kajang Prison to the gallows at 6 a.m. local time, leaving behind a photograph of his 7-year-old daughter he had kept with him constantly in his final days.

"The sentence was carried out," a prison official said curtly afterward.

Gregory, in a last-ditch attempt to save his life, had sent a message to Queen Elizabeth asking her to intervene on his behalf. A spokesman at Buckingham Palace said she did not.

Thatcher's Pleas Ignored

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher earlier made two appeals to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed but was unable to persuade the Malay government to alter the death sentence.

"The British government had hoped that the representations made at all levels to the Malaysian authorities making a plea for commutation of the death sentence on humanitarian grounds would succeed," said a statement from the British High Commission.

"We are disappointed that they have not and offer our sympathies" to Gregory's family, it said.

After the hanging, Gregory's body was taken from the prison to a nearby hospital, and the British High Commission completed arrangements for it to be flown back to England accompanied by Gregory's brother, Paul.

Gregory's parents and his brother were granted a three-hour final visit with him Thursday.

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