Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/Craig & Bentley 1952 Police Murders


exiledins wrote at 2008-08-05 11:51:29
I worked with Chris in Hitchin in 1973. A nice, quiet man, he was married with a couple of very young daughters and lived in a village in the Luton area.

sj wrote at 2010-05-31 08:33:08
Derek Bentley would not have been convicted of murder today, to be convicted of murder a defendant must have actus reas (the guilty act, and mens rea, (the guitly mind).

Rob wrote at 2012-07-21 09:00:14
No mention was made of Derek Bentley's mental condition, leaving the jury in total ignorance that they were sending to the gallows a man with the mind of a child.

On 29 July 1993, Bentley was granted a royal pardon in respect of the sentence of death passed upon him and carried out. However in English law this did not quash his conviction for murder.  Eventually, on 30 July 1998, the Court of Appeal quashed Bentley's conviction for murder

Lord Bingham said in the court's judgment, the summing-up in the case by the original trial judge, Lord Chief Justice Goddard, "was such as to deny the appellant that fair trial which is the birthright of every British Citizen.

It is highly unlikely that Bentley would have been convicted on the evidence if he were tried today.

Bungalow Bill wrote at 2012-08-26 14:01:48
As far as I knew about him right up until 1982, he had remained local to the Croydon area and was a regular at a pub in Coulsdon.  The last time I saw him on TV, was giving an interview just after Derek Bentley was posthumously pardoned in the late 90s.  Now, in 2012, he would be 76 years old.  

Bungalow Bill wrote at 2012-08-26 14:12:32
The reason that Bentley was condemned, was a political one.  It was thought at the time that hanging was a deterrent and if he had not been hanged, gangs of villains would employ their younger siblings to use the guns.  During the shoot-out, Craig taunted the police by shouting that he was too young to hang.  

viv wrote at 2014-03-29 19:00:27
How was he charged,accused and hanged for this when he had been arrested for 15 minits and was with police before Craig fired the shot??

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Mark Smith


I can answer questions on British murders between 1850 and 1965, especially those that resulted in an execution. If it`s a well documented case I can give an answer quickly, otherwise it may take a little longer to research the case.


Life long interest in classic British murders.

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