The four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case spent a restless and sleepless night before they were hanged to death early Friday morning at Tihar Jail here, authorities said.
Till late on Thursday night the convicts were hanging on to a glimmer of hope that their last plea would be heard in court. However, a last hour hearing in the Supreme Court and midnight hearing in Delhi High Court, both refused to stay the execution.
All four convicts - Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Mukesh Singh - were hanged to death at 5:30 am this morning.
All four were asked to go to sleep early Thursday night ahead of their execution but they remained wide awake till late. They were asked to take a bath but none of them did. All of them were served their last meal but one of them refused breakfast before being taken to the gallows, an official said.
According to officials, the convicts even started to behave hysterically and misbehaved with the police personnel keeping an eye on them.
Prior to the hanging, the executioner, who woke up at around 4 am held a meeting with prison authorities. The executioner had already inspected the gallows the night before.
The convicts were escorted to the scaffold with their faces covered in black cloth and the executioner put the noose around the neck one by one.
At the scheduled time, the jail superintendent waved his hand to signal the hangings, which were then conducted simultaneously.
Their bodies were kept hanging for 30 minutes as per the protocol in Delhi Prison Rule, following which a doctor declared them dead. The bodies will be disposed of as per their religion.
Meanwhile, outside the jail people had gathered ahead of the execution and after chants to the countdown celebrated the hangings by distributing sweets.
During the seven years of incarceration, Vinay Sharma received 11 punishments for not following rules. The other convicts Pawan Gupta got 8, Akshay Singh Thakur got 1 and Mukesh Singh, 3.
During their term in prison, they had also earned labour wages. Vinay got Rs 39,000, Pawan was paid Rs 29,000 and Akshay earned Rs 69,000.
Mukesh Singh, on the other hand, refused to engage in any labour work during his time in prison. Vinay had earlier in February attempted to hurt himself by banging his head against a wall in his cell.
The Supreme Court even denied permission for Akshay's eight-year-old son to meet him ahead of the execution saying it is better for the child not to see this.
The case pertains to the brutal gang-rape and killing of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people including a juvenile in the national capital. The woman had died at a Singapore hospital a few days later.
One of the adults accused had allegedly committed suicide in the prison during the trial, while the juvenile was released from a correction home after a period of three years.