Last Australian hanged to be exhumed, laid to rest

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SYDNEY, Oct 29 (Reuters) The body of the last Australian hanged for murder 40 years ago will be exhumed from an anonymous grave and cremated by his family.

Ronald Ryan's unmarked grave was only located in February 2007 after Pentridge Prison in Melbourne, the jail in which he was hanged, was closed and became a residential development.

Former Pentridge Prison chaplain Peter Norden said the trauma of Ryan's execution in 1967 had stayed with his daughters for life and his reburial would bring ''the terrible saga of capital punishment to a close''.

''It shows, as a society, that we've grown a lot since we used to put a rope around someone's neck and kill them. We're now a more humane and civilised society,'' Norden told local media today.

Australia abolished the death penalty after Ryan's execution for killing a prison warden in a jailbreak.

REUTERS SZ PM0600

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