List of people who were beheaded

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The following is a list of notable people who were beheaded, arranged alphabetically by country or region and with date of decapitation. Special sections on "Religious figures" and "Fictional characters" are also appended.

These individuals may have lost their heads either accidentally or intentionally (as a form of execution or posthumously).

Salome and the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, by Titian
The Beheading of Saint Paul. Painting by Enrique Simonet in 1887



  • Jordão da Silva Cantanhede (2013) – a Brazilian amateur football referee,[1] was lynched, quartered and beheaded by football spectators after he stabbed a player in a match he officiated on June 30, 2013. Spectators then put his head on a stake in the middle of the pitch. A viral video later surfaced of medical officials reassembling his body.[2][3][4]
  • João Rodrigo Silva Santos (2013) – Brazilian football player


  • Tim McLean (2008) – murdered and decapitated on Greyhound bus
  • Fribjon Bjornson (2012) – severed head found on the Nak'azdli reserve near Fort St. James [5]





For English beheadings after 1707, see § Great Britain.
The heads of famous English traitors were customarily spiked on London Bridge
Piers Gaveston at the feet of the Earl of Warwick, 1312
Execution of Hugh Despenser the younger, 1326
The execution of Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset at Tewkesbury, 1471
Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1587
Raleigh just before being beheaded in 1618– an illustration from c. 1860
This contemporary German print depicts Charles I's decapitation in 1649.
Execution of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth by Jack Ketch on Tower Hill, 15 July 1685 (O.S), in a popular print.

European New World colonies[edit]

For beheadings after the respective dates of independence, see the respective country headings.
Blackbeard's severed head hanging from Maynard's bowsprit
Execution of Diego de Almagro

British North America[edit]

  • Wingina (1586) – Roanoke Indian chief executed by first English settlers in the New World[16]
  • Wituwamat (1623) – Neponset warrior killed and beheaded by the Plymouth Colony Pilgrim/soldier Miles Standish
  • Metacomet (1676) – New England Indian chief "King Philip" executed for resisting white settlement
  • Blackbeard (1718) – Famous pirate beheaded after capture at Ocracoke Island



  • Dutty Boukman (1791) – Executed by the French for promoting a slave rebellion


  • Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (Tiradentes) (1792) – the body was quartered after his hanging for revolutionary activity






Ancien Régime[edit]

French Revolution[edit]

Note: some estimates place the number of persons executed by the guillotine, particularly during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), at 40,000.

The execution of Robespierre

French First Republic[edit]


French Republic[edit]



Pre-20th century[edit]

Execution of Pirates in Hamburg, 1573

Weimar Republic[edit]

  • Fritz Haarmann (1925) – The Butcher (or Vampire) of Hanover – Guillotined in Hanover for murder
  • Peter Kürten (1931) – The Vampire of Düsseldorf – Guillotined in Cologne for murder

Nazi Germany[edit]

Jeremiah Brandreth's head, 1817

Great Britain[edit]

For beheadings before the Union of 1707, see § England, § Scotland, and § Wales.



  • Guru Tegh Bahadur (1675) – Ninth guru of Sikhs executed in Delhi by order of Mogul emperor Aurangzeb
  • Saint John de Brito (1693) – executed in India for preaching Christianity
  • Raja Dahir (712) – executed on command of Muhammad bin Qasim after Dahir's kingdom of Sindh was defeated.
  • 2013 India–Pakistan border skirmishes- Two Indian soldiers, Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh were killed and their bodies were apparently found mutilated, with one decapitated by Pakistan Army.



Ancient Mesopotamia[edit]





The Execution of Marino Faliero, Eugène Delacroix, 1827.

Ancient Rome[edit]

Medieval Italy[edit]

Later Italy[edit]

Giovanni Battista Bugatti, executioner of the Papal States between 1796 and 1865, carried out 516 executions


Head of Kim Okgyun, 1894

Home islands[edit]

Sergeant Siffleet's execution at Aitape, 1943

Japanese-occupied territories (20th century)[edit]



Beheading of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

Ottoman Empire[edit]

  • Ali Pasha of Yanina (1822) – Shot and beheaded by order of Sultan Mahmud II
  • Bajo Pivljanin (1685), Serb hajduk in Venetian service, beheaded and head sent to Sultan Mehmed IV


  • Northwest India before 1947
Raja Dahir (712) – executed on command of Muhammad bin Qasim after Dahir's empire was defeated.
  • Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Daniel Pearl (2002) – American journalist killed by terrorists


Papua New Guinea[edit]




  • Nicolae Labiş (1956) – fell off of a tram while going to a friend's house and was decapitated when his head hit the pavement between the two trams


Saudi Arabia[edit]


For Scottish beheadings after 1707, see § Great Britain.
The Scottish Maiden on display at the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

South Africa[edit]

  • Peter Revson (1974) – racing driver decapitated in testing crash
  • Tom Pryce (1977) – racing driver partially decapitated by chin strap


Sri Lanka[edit]


Execution of Anna Månsdotter. The executioner Dalman stands to the far left, hiding his axe behind his back.



Execution of Greifensee garrison

United States[edit]

For beheadings before 1776, see § European New World colonies.
  • At least 21 insurgent black slaves executed (1811) after the German Coast Uprising near New Orleans, Louisiana. Their heads were displayed on pikes and gates as a warning
  • Isaac N. Ebey (1857) – Washington state pioneer murdered by Haida Indians
  • Pearl Bryan (1896) – Murdered in Fort Thomas, Kentucky
  • Tom Ketchum (1901) – accidentally decapitated in New Mexico Territory in botched hanging for train robbery
  • Gordon Reid and Ruby Ellen Shaffer (1952) – decapitated in racing car crash[citation needed]
  • Denny Keith (1964) – decapitated in racing car crash
  • Charles Bassett (1966) – decapitated in crash of jet aircraft
  • Les Ritchey (1966) – decapitated in drag racing crash
  • Ken Kotalac (1969) – decapitated in drag bike racing crash
  • François Cevert (1973) – cut in pieces in racing car crash
  • Helmuth Koinigg (1974) – decapitated in racing car crash
  • 16 Victims of Jeffrey Dahmer (1978-1991)
  • Boris Sagal (1981) – partially decapitated by helicopter
  • Gordon Smiley (1982) – partially decapitated in racing car crash
  • Vic Morrow and Myca Dinh Le (1982) – decapitated by crashing helicopter during film shoot
  • Christa Hoyt (1990) – decapitated by serial killer Danny Rolling
  • Russell Phillips (1995) – decapitated in racing car crash
  • Robert Lees (2004) – decapitated by murderer
  • Randy Fry (2004) – decapitated by a great white shark[27]
  • Katie Flynn (2005) – decapitated in car crash [28]
  • Aasiya Zubair (2009) – decapitated in New York state by murderer/husband Muzzammil Hassan
  • Hanny Tawadros and Amgad Konds (2013) – decapitated posthumously, allegedly by murderer Yusef Ibrahim [29]
  • Patricia Ward (2014) – decapitated in her son's apartment in New York City by her deranged son then dragged to the street. Witness initially thought it was a part of a Halloween display. The son then committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.[30]
  • Colleen Hufford (2014) - 54-year-old woman was decapitated in Oklahoma by a 30-year-old pro-Jihad, Islamist, Jah'Keem Yisrael, formerly Alton Alexander Nolen. Jah'Keem reportedly began a second beheading and sliced the neck of Tracey Johnson. Jah'Keem was ultimately stopped by Vaughn Foods employee who privately kept a gun for protection.


Execution of Pierre Dumoulin-Borie


For Welsh beheadings after 1707, see § Great Britain.

Religious figures[edit]

Biblical figures[edit]

Judith Beheading Holofernes (Caravaggio)

Catholic saints[edit]

The martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian by Fra Angelico (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
The martyrdom of St Nicasius

Greek mythology[edit]


Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fans decapitate soccer referee after he stabs, kills player:police". NY Daily News. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Brazil referee decapitated after stabbing player". BBC News. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Brazilian Referee Beheaded by Fans for Killing Player". International Business Times. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Brazilian Soccer Fans Decapitate Ref After He Stabs, Kills Player". Deadspin. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Northern B.C. homicide witnesses silenced by gang fears". Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp "Confirmed executions at Tower Hill". Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Thomas Mowbray". Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Martyrdom of Archbishop Richard Scrope". The Catholic University of America. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Thomas Pennant Wybunbury to Darlaston Excerpt From Chester to London (1780), at
  10. ^ "Richard III (DNB00)". DNB. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hungerford, Walter (1503-1540) (DNB00)". Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Fane, Ralph (DNB00)". Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Foxe's Book of Martyrs". Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Danvers, Sir Charles (c.1568–1601), soldier and conspirator". Oxford DNB. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Gregory Clement, Regicide, 1594-1660". Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Oberg, Michael Leroy (2010), The Head in Edward Nugent's Hand: Roanoke's Forgotten Indians (Series: Early American Studies), University of Pennsylvania Press
  17. ^ "Earl of Strafford Killed; Decapitated by an Express Train at a Railroad". New York Times. 17 May 1899. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  18. ^ Life for head-on-beach murderers BBC NEWS, 6 March 2009
  19. ^ "Businessman uses Aston Martin to decapitate himself in horrific suicide as revenge against his ex-wife". 8 August 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  20. ^ Deréktól hiányzik Kádár János – többen őrzik a sírkertet Lánchíd Rádió, cs, 2007-05-03 17:40
  21. ^ "Indonesia: Crocodile Eats Farmer – but Leaves the Head". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  22. ^ The Pacy and the Levant. Google Books. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  23. ^ "Boy, 11, eaten by crocodile in Papua New Guinea". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  24. ^ catches-largest-crocodile-record
  25. ^ "Why Bernard Then was beheaded". Asiaone. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "5. Randy Fry – HowStuffWorks". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  28. ^ "THE ISLAND – A Wedding, A Crash, A Family's Pain –". 1 October 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "Yusuf Ibrahim, Of Jersey City, Indicted In 2013 Beheadings". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  30. ^ "Derek Ward who beheaded his mother and kicked it along New York street pictured – Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  31. ^ Acts of the Apostles: Commentary
  32. ^ The Apostle Saul (Paul) at