Olga Hepnarová, the last woman to ever be executed by the Czechoslovakian government, was put to death for killing 8 people with a truck on July 10th, 1973.
Olga Hepnarová was born on June 30, 1951, to a middle-class family in Prague. Her father was a bank clerk, her mother a dentist. She did quite well at school but as she grew older she found it hard to communicate with her parents and classmates.
Later she claimed that she could hardly approach people and that the world was her enemy. In 1964, at the age of 13, she attempted suicide by taking an overdose and spent a year in a psychiatric hospital.
The rest of her teens passed without incident, but, as a young adult, she became obsessed by feelings of hatred for both her family and society as a whole, and was reported to have heard voices, according to several sources.
Prior to the murder, on June 7th, 1973, Olga had sent a letter to two newspapers explaining her action as revenge for all the perceived hatred against her by her family and the world. But due to the slowness of the postal system, the letter was received two days after the murder.
.. I am a loner. A destroyed man. A man destroyed by people… I have a choice – to kill myself or to kill others. I choose – TO REVENGE MY HATERS. It would be too easy to leave this world as an unknown suicide. Society is too indifferent, rightly so. My verdict is: I, Olga Hepnarová, the victim of your bestiality, sentence you to the death penalty.
On 10th July 1973, Olga rented this truck and spent nearly half an hour circling a busy tram stop waiting for a satisfactory number of people to gather there. When some 25 people were present nearby Strossmayerovo namesti, she drove the lorry straight into them at speed.
Three of her victims died at the scene, two more later that day, and another three died within days of the attack. Six more were badly injured and a further six slightly.
Ironically the street on which the crime occurred has since been re-named after another hanged woman, Milada Horakova, now a Czech heroine.
Arrest and trial.
When police arrived, Olga was just sitting behind the wheel waiting to go to jail with her luggage. Earlier in the day, she had mailed a letter explaining what she had done.
During her trial, Olga confirmed she committed the murder completely on purpose, and stated that it wasn’t because of her mental illness, it was because society left her with no voice. Her lawyer kept trying to say that she was schizophrenic but she kept denying it and the argument went nowhere. The courts decided she had a personality disorder but was of sound enough mind to be responsible for her actions.
Interviewed in prison, Olga told reporters that “I am not affraid of the death sentence, I do accept it”. She was 23 years, 8 months and 10 days old.
On April 6th, she was convicted of her crimes, and on the 12th of March, 1975, she was hanged in Pankrac Prison.