A BUS driver with a macabre hobby has set about cataloguing Britain’s grisly history of capital punishment.
Tim Leech, who works for First in Halifax, is embarking on a mammoth project to compile a list of 3,500 death sentences in Britain between 1868 and 1965.
Murder and the macabre hold a grim fascination for Tim, who dedicates as many as 20 hours a week to his interest.
The 60-year-old, who worked for 27 years as a prison officer, said: “I’d always been interested but it really started when I was at Armley jail and we found a big safe with a drawer in the bottom containing the prison execution registers. I couldn’t believe it.”
He began researching each case and that led to a writing career after a prison service posting took him to London, where publishers beckoned.
Hundreds of his stories have been published since and his two books, A Date with the Hangman and Diary of a Hangman, have sold tens of thousands of copies.
Mr Leech has met five of the country’s foremost executioners as part of his research, including the renowned Yorkshire hangman Albert Pierrepoint.
He has also amassed 2,000 murder case files which he stores in his study along with 2,000 bound copies of current and vintage detective magazines.
Mr Leech, who is married with four children, said: “It’s totally absorbing.”
• Do you have an unusual hobby? Email firstname.lastname@example.org