Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 18 May
1736: Witchcraft statutes were repealed in England.
1804: Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor of the French.
1827: The Red Barn murder took place at Polstead, Suffolk, when Maria Marten was slain by one of her lovers, William Corder. He buried her beneath the barn floor, and she lay there until her stepmother dreamed of the happenings and her father dug up the floor and discovered Maria’s body. Corder was hanged.
1830: Edwin Budding, of Stroud, Gloucestershire signed an agreement for the manufacture of his invention, the lawnmower. The first customer was Regent’s Park Zoo, London.
1843: The Disruption, when more than 400 ministers and many elders left the established Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland.
1912: First automatic telephone exchange opened in Britain at Epsom.
1936: Jasmine Bligh and Elizabeth Cowell became the BBC’s first women announcers.
1944: Monte Cassino monastery in Italy was taken from Germans by Polish troops.
1960: Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 at Hampden Park, Glasgow, to win European Cup for the fifth year in succession.
1967: United Nations agreed to Egyptian demand to withdraw UN forces from Gaza Strip.
1972: Four bomb-disposal experts parachuted into Atlantic from RAF plane and boarded liner QE2 after bomb threat for ransom.
1974: India exploded its first nuclear bomb.
1990: A treaty was signed in Bonn to introduce economic and monetary union between East and West Germany from 1 July, 1990.
1991: Helen Sharman became Britain’s first woman in space when she was sent into orbit aboard Soyuz spacecraft to spend a week on space station Mir with two Soviet cosmonauts.
1992: An inquest jury returned “unlawful killing” verdicts on nine British soldiers killed by American “friendly fire” in the Gulf War.
2006: The government passed a landmark bill curtailing the power of the monarchy and making Nepal a secular country.
2009: The LTTE was defeated by the Sri Lankan government, ending almost 26 years of fighting between the two sides.
Dario Franchitti, Scottish racing driver, 40; Holly Aird, British actress, 44; Rodger Davis, Australian golfer, 62; Brian Fletcher, British former jockey, 66; John Higgins MBE, Scottish snooker champion, 38; Ray Lonnen, British actor, 73; Professor Malcolm Longair, professor of natural philosophy, Cambridge, astronomer royal for Scotland 1980-90, 72; Miriam Margolyes OBE, British actress, 72; Martika, singer and actress, 44; Norbert (Nobby) Stiles MBE, English footballer, 71; Rick Wakeman, British rock musician (Yes) and composer, 64; Toyah Willcox, singer and actress, 55; Chow Yun-Fat, actor, 58.
Births: 1868 Nicholas II, last Tsar of Russia; 1872 Bertrand Russell, philosopher and mathematician; 1897 Frank Capra, writer and film director; 1909 Fred Perry, Wimbledon tennis champion; 1912 Perry Como, singer; 1919 Dame Margot Fonteyn, prima ballerina; 1920 Pope John Paul II.
Deaths: 1909 George Meredith, novelist; 1911 Gustav Mahler, composer; 1932 Harry Randall, music hall entertainer; 1949 James Adams, historian; 1981 William Saroyan, author; 1990 Jill Ireland, actress.