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Saturday, 30 May 2020

Leslie Hylton Cricketer


Many of you might not be familiar with the name Lesley Hilton. He was a West Indies fast bowler who was unfortunately, the first cricketer to be hanged to death. Lesley Hilton's life was not a bed of roses. He had to overcome many difficulties in his life to achieve the status of a cricketer. He never saw his father and mother died at the age of three. He was brought up by his sister. But he lost her too, when he was young. He was deprived of education and good living conditions. Poverty was the  main issue. In addition, the  Jamaican had to face many apartheid issues also due to his colour. But he fought against all these odds and obstacles, and managed to reach the West Indies cricket team. In early days he tried his luck in a tailoring shop, but failed. He switched to cricket. He couldn't afford a coaching circle, so he sticked to the bowling department. He had good pace and it was recognised by the cricket team authorities. He was selected to the West Indies team, just days before his 30th birthday. His debut match was against England in 1935 at Barbados. He had a great debut as he picked three English wickets in first innings conceding just 8 runs. He was the top scorer in West Indies' second innings. Hilton played 6 tests in total picking up 16 wickets and scoring 70 runs.

After getting into the West Indies cricket team, life changed for Hylton. He got a job in Civil Service. He married, Lerline Rose, who was the daughter of a Police Officer. They had fell in love with each other and married, despite the objections from Lerline's family. They married in 1942. They were blessed with a baby boy after 5 years of marriage. Rose became a fashion designer and spent many years in New York.




In 1954 Hylton received an anonymous letter from New York, which informed him about his wife's extramarital affairs with Roy Francis. An enraged Hylton summoned his wife at once. Once, Rose handed over a letter to her helper to be despatched at post office. Hylton reached the post office to read the letter but he had to return dismayed. He couldn't read the letter, but lied to his wife that he had seen the contents and that he was now well aware of her affairs with Roy Francis. At first Rose tried to deny the accusations , but later she admitted that she was in an affair with Roy. Hylton, in the rage, killed his wife, shot by a revolver. It was later claimed that Rose had said that Hylton was not fit for her standards.

Later in the courtroom Hylton said that Rose fired at him using the revolver and he snatched the revolver from her and fired back. It was argued that the killing was result of a sudden tension and provocation. But it was found that seven bullets had been fired on Rose using a revolver having six bullets. That meant that, Hylton had fired on Rose after reloading the revolver after one complete round. On October 20, 1954, the court order came to hang Hylton. On May 17,1955 the former West Indies pace bowler was hanged to death.

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