UK > Police, Justice, Law
Trial > Jury > Verdict > Conviction > Guilty
conviction rate for rape
return a gross
negligence manslaughter conviction
verdict direction issued to the jury
reach a verdict
fail to reach a
deliver its verdict
return a verdict
lawful killing / unlawful killing
jury > verdict > convict
/ found N
guilty of N
Jeremy Bamber conviction
"these convictions are
be convicted of 35 indecent assaults
and one count of
be convicted of
N / be found guilty of
be convicted of sexually exploiting teenage girls
be convicted of
be convicted of
guilty of murder and
conspiracy to rob
guilty of N
be found guilty (...)
of 12 counts of
perverting the course of justice
and one of fraud
be found guilty
eight charges of indecent assault
against women and girls
be found guilty
murder, rape, false imprisonment and kidnap
guilty of murder
guilty of manslaughter
"You have been
convicted of a truly evil murder
- one of the most appalling crimes
that any of us can
and you will rightly be
regarded as wicked"
in torture murder trial
2 December 2003
A jury in the trial of three teenagers
accused of murdering a schoolboy who was savagely beaten before he was strangled
and his body chopped into pieces is to continue considering its verdicts.
Adam Morrell, 14, was left with more than 280
injuries to his body as a gang of friends tortured him for up to three hours
until he was almost unrecognisable.
His body was then hacked up with a saw in the
bathroom of the house where he was staying in Loughborough, Leicestershire, and
dumped in and around a canal in an effort to hide the evidence.
Headline and first §§, PA,
Sells for $21.3M in New York
December 19, 2007
Filed at 6:57 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK (AP) -- A 710-year-old copy of the declaration of human rights known
as the Magna Carta -- the version that became part of English law -- was
auctioned for $21.3 million, a Sotheby's spokeswoman said.
The document, which had been expected to draw bids of $30 million or higher, was
bought Tuesday by David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm,
the spokeswoman said.
Sotheby's vice chairman David Redden called the old but durable parchment ''the
most important document in the world, the birth certificate of freedom.''
The document was owned by the Perot Foundation, created by Texas billionaire H.
Ross Perot, since the early 1980s. It had been on exhibit at the auction house
for the past 11 days.
Bearing the seal of King Edward I and dated 1297, it is one of 17 known copies
of the historic tract that defined human rights as the foundation for liberty
and democracy as it is known today. It is one of two that exist outside Britain;
the other is in Australia.
The Perot Foundation bought its copy from a British family for $1.5 million.
From 1988 until earlier this year it was on loan to the National Archives in
Washington, sharing space with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S.
Constitution, two documents that drew on its principles.
''Over those years,'' Redden said, ''it may have been seen by 40 to 50 million
people, certainly the most viewed version of the Magna Carta anywhere.''
The Magna Carta came into existence when a group of English barons demanded that
King John affix his seal to a list of protections at Runnymede in 1215. Those
edicts were not fulfilled, but subsequent versions of the document followed for
the next 80 years, until 1297, when it was codified into law.
Tuesday's sale price included the auction house's commission.
Magna Carta Sells for
$21.3M in New York, NYT, 19.12.2007,
'Madame Cyn' strains court-room
12 February 1987
From The Guardian archive
The severe calm of an English
court was sorely tried by the "Madame Cyn" case. But the law proved as
unshakable in its stays as the nobly constrained form of Mrs Cynthia Payne
The Inner London Crown Court, where Mrs Payne was cleared yesterday of
controlling prostitutes, took it all: accounts of Mrs Payne's style of home
entertaining in Ambleside Avenue, Streatham, and the tumultu ous scenes when a
police raid brought the party to an end – a great final fling of bedroom doors,
revealing prodigies of corsetry and of sexual energy among the elderly infirm.
Judge Brian Pryor, who conducted the trial, sat in his wig and calf-length gown
as a constable described his party-time encounter with a gent in curly grey wig
and evening frock who introduced himself as Amanda. During a lesbian floor show,
of course. Cynthia Payne has always thrown that sort of party.
Day one (January 22) opened with colourful events at No 32 and the denouement as
the police crashed in. One man was in Mrs Payne's bathroom sitting on the rim of
the bath, with a woman at his knee. When the police burst in she sprang to her
feet. The gent toppled backwards into the tub, legs in the air and trousers
around his ankles. Mrs Payne could hardly be blamed for his predicament. A sign
on the door asked visitors not to fornicate in the bathroom "by order".
Day four: Inspector Colin White described an exchange with Mrs Payne – who said
that she used to be a prostitute "until I got someone else to do the work... I
prefer to enjoy the parties these days. Anyway, the hostess can't keep
disappearing all night."
Day five: Items taken from the house were displayed in court, including a large,
green luncheon vouchers sign, contraceptive pills, and a wooden bead necklace.
Judge Pryor: "It is notorious that judges have always led sheltered lives but I
cannot, for the moment, see the significance of the bead necklace."
February 3: Mrs Payne, with some dignity, explained from the witness box that
she never indulged in sex at her parties. "I know it does make people happy, but
to me it is just like having a cup of tea," she said.
February 9: Mr Spens, defending, sympathised with the jury who must be feeling
"punch drunk" after hearing from a policeman who infiltrated three parties. His
version of events amounted to "a sort of sexual marathon not even a Mars bar a
day could possibly sustain". Judge Pryor, summing up, warned that the case was a
criminal trial, not a form of entertainment.
'Madame Cyn' strains court-room
calm, G, 12 February 1987,
republished 12.2.2009, p. 34,
On This Day - May 28, 1980
From The Times Archive
The inquest into the death of Blair Peach
was one of the longest in legal history, with 84 witnesses going before the
court. During the hearing it emerged that there had been an internal
investigation into the death by the Complaints Investigation Bureau. The jury
heard how items such as crowbars, sledgehammers and coshes were found in the
lockers of members of the Special Patrol Group
BLAIR PEACH, aged 33, the teacher from New
Zealand, who was fatally injured during the demonstration against the National
Front at Southall, London, in April last year, died by misadventure, the jury at
the inquest at Hammersmith into his death decided unanimously yesterday.
The jury, of five men and four women, which retired for four hours and 40
minutes to consider its verdict, added riders calling for more control of the
special patrol group by its officers and for more liaison between the group and
ordinary police. It also recommended that “no unauthorised weapons or implements
should be available in police stations and that regular inspections should be
The verdict was welcomed by the Police Federation as a proper one. It said the
jury had taken “a very sensible view of the case”. The verdict was bitterly
attacked, however, by Mrs Celia Stubbs, the woman with whom Mr Peach lived, and
by the Anti-Nazi League, which organised the demonstration.
Sir David McNee, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said the police had
already taken action on a number of points raised in the riders, after the
inquiry into the functions of the SPG by Mr Patrick Kavanagh, the deputy
commissioner. “The remainder will receive careful consideration”, he added.
Sir David said he wished to point out that all the facts known to the police
were put before the inquest. His statement added: “The Commissioner hopes that
the community and the police in Southall will now work together to re-establish
a peaceful, harmonious, and law-abiding society.”
Mr Paul Holborrow, of the Anti-Nazi League, said that the verdict established
beyond reasonable doubt that a policeman killed Blair Peach, but with the riders
it indicated “that the SPG is an uncontrolled private army and that the police
at the moment have a licence to kill”.
The Times Archive > On This Day -
May 28, 1980, The Times, 28.5.2005,
August 12, 1889
idleness of long legal holidays
From the Guardian archive
Monday August 12, 1889
Tomorrow the lawyers enter upon the Long
Vacation. From August 13 to October 24 - that is, ten weeks and two days - is in
these busy and bustling days a goodly holiday.
Since idleness brings its own punishment in
most cases, no one probably would be very much concerned with the liberal views
which the legal profession take of the "refreshers" which in one form or another
their colossal labours deserve.
But, unfortunately the lawyers make holiday in more ways than one at the expense
of the public. The "close time" which is so jealously preserved does not by any
means relieve litigants from the enormous expense that still attends any form of
Apart altogether from the mere delay and suspense which are occasioned by the
recurrence of this annual period of stagnation - and these are in themselves a
serious hardship - the fact that an action must be hung up for such a long time
involves a by no means inconsiderable addition to the bill of costs.
"Applications" and "steps" innumerable turn out to be necessary in consequence
of the Long Vacation, and these do nothing to expedite a settlement of the
matter in dispute.
It seems as if, notwithstanding the boasted reform of our legal system, the
lawyers had purposely arranged not only for a holiday of enormous length, but
that they should draw their expenses from the pockets of their luckless clients.
It is, then, not to be wondered at that every year the cry for a drastic change
should make itself heard.
Of course it is only natural that the lawyers have hitherto succeeded in
maintaining the Long Vacation in spite of the long outcry for its abolition. In
1875 it was cut down by a few weeks, and it has since been again curtailed
[from] the old three months and more.
But the question which is once more being asked is whether there is any real
necessity for any wholesale legal holiday at all. Why should all the judges go
away at the same time?
If they were granted a month or two's leave of absence in rotation, they could
recruit themselves as other people have to do, and without seriously interfering
with the progress of legal business.
To the rank and file of the bar the Long Vacation is a melancholy interval of
enforced idleness which exists for the protection of the more fortunate members
of the profession.
the Guardian archive > August 12, 1889 >
The idleness of long legal holidays, G,
February 1, 1873
Law reform and how to get it
From the Guardian archive
On this day in 1873 campaigners
an overhaul of the law.
Saturday February 1, 1873
An Oxford Fellow used to say that a college
would be a paradise if only it contained no undergraduates. The Inns of Court
some years ago nearly fulfilled his ideal. The Temple and Lincoln's Inn are law
colleges where the Fellows, termed "benchers" for centuries, eat good dinners
and possess emoluments, whilst they did nothing for the undergraduates, but
compelled them to eat a number of very bad dinners and pay a number of heavy
fees. The Inns of Court were, in short, and for most practical purposes still
are, places of education which educate nobody.
Of course such a splendid abuse as this could
not flourish on absolutely untouched. At last the benchers, terrified by the
thought that Lord Selborne was coming into power, have made up their minds to do
something which shall at any rate look vigorous.
They have made it necessary for every man in future called to go through some
sort of examination. The most conservative members of the most conservative
profession have admitted the necessity for a revolution.
The true objects of reform are twofold. By far the most important is to get
systematic legal instruction. The law has been a science which could be picked
up by practice but which could not be learnt, for the very simple reason that
there was nobody to teach it. Now of this "practical instruction in chambers" I
would always speak in the very highest terms. It is absolutely essential as one
element, and a main element, in legal training; but it cannot be, from its very
nature, a substitute for the methodical instruction which would be given by any
teacher or professor of law, who really understood his business.
The experience in chambers has been more than half wasted since it is impossible
to understand what a practitioner does unless some one will explain to you why
he does it; to study in chambers whilst receiving no teaching is like walking
the hospital without getting any instruction in medicine. If ever there is to be
a legal university, out of the Inns of Court and their funds this must be
formed. We have overhauled the church, the universities, there is no reason why
we should show any special deference to the Inns. We need an Inns of Court
reform bill, like the Oxford or Cambridge University reform bill. We need a
commission empowered not to report, but to act.
· This is from one of a series
of long Condition of England articles the
carried in the 1870s, often in the guise of letters to the editor
reform and how to get it, original article Saturday February 1, 1873,
Draper's bell tolls for a bed tick thief
From the Guardian archive
January 25 1864
The Manchester Guardian
Novel thief catching. John Paul was
charged at the Salford Town Hall yesterday with having stolen a bed tick
[mattress case] from the shop door of Mr. Henry Boardman, draper, Chapel-street.
The prosecutor displays some of his goods on strings, and fastens a bell to them
to give an alarm in case they are disturbed. On the 18th, he heard the bell
ring, and on going to the door he discovered the prisoner running away with a
bed tick. He followed him, and took him into custody. It was stated that the
bell had been the means of apprehending several other thieves. The prisoner was
summarily committed for three months.
Theft of tea. Yesterday, at the City
Police Court, Joseph Eastwood, and Sarah Ann Redfern were charged with
attempting to steal a chest of tea worth £4.10s. from the shop of Mr. John
Brady, Julia-street, Strangeways. Mrs. Brady said that on Monday evening Redfern
came into the shop and asked for a halfpenny-worth of toffy [sic], and while
attending to her she saw Eastwood removing a chest of tea from behind the door.
Seeing he was observed, Eastwood ran away, leaving the chest in the shop. She
then charged the girl with being an accomplice, and gave her into custody. At
the station Redfern said that Eastwood and a man named Turner took the chest. A
boy named Robert Baird, who informed Mrs. Brady of the attempted robbery, said
he saw Eastwood and another standing at the door. The prisoners were remanded to
Five years for stealing cheese. A boy, 15-years-old, named Martin Judson,
was charged at the City Police Court, yesterday, with stealing several pounds of
cheese from the shop of Mr. John Markendale, Berkeley-street, Strangeways. The
prosecutor's wife heard a noise in the shop on Monday night, and on going to see
what was the cause, she saw the prisoner running from the house, and at the same
time she missed the stolen cheese; which the prisoner threw at a girl who spoke
to him as he was passing. He was shortly afterwards apprehended. The boy's
father, who stated that he was a working optician, said his son had of late been
led into bad company.
He begged the magistrates to dismiss the case, and promised he would answer for
his good behaviour in future. Mr. Boss (the presiding magistrate) said the
prisoner had already been convicted of attempting to pick pockets and the
offence could not be overlooked. He ordered that he be sent to prison for a
month and afterwards to a reformatory for five years.
Draper's bell tolls for a bed tick thief, G, January 25 1864,
Wednesday January 25, 2006,
May 18, 1857
Why is only the murderer's life
From the Guardian archive
On this day in 1857 the Manchester Guardian
discussed a parliamentary debate
on capital punishment.
Monday May 18, 1857
We hear a good deal said of the improved feeling of the present generation in
regard to the sacredness of human life. We are accustomed to commend ourselves
as being " far better than our fathers" who hanged men for stealing half a
guinea, and sent boys and girls to the gallows by scores for taking part in
Those who consider themselves to hold the
foremost place among the philanthropists and reformers of the day are agitating,
declaiming, and writing vehemently in favour of the total and immediate
abolition of capital punishment, as unworthy of a civilised age and a Christian
country. But when we come to look below the surface of things,- to turn from our
statute book to the police reports of the newspapers, and from the smooth
humanity-mongers of philanthropic meetings to our streets and our towns, we
shall be inclined to think this boasted advancement,this self-laudatory
humanity, virtues extremely perverted in their application.
We shall find that, while Mr. Ewart [the reforming liberal MP William Ewart] is
labouring to prove to the House of Commons that it is an abomination and a crime
to hang a scoundrel for murdering his friend, a servant for poisoning her master
and mistress, an infanticide for strangling her helpless child, that some three
or four innocent persons have been butchered by the wretches whom Mr. Ewart is
so anxious to protect, and whom his conduct serves to encourage.
In one column of a provincial journal may be read a long report of the discourse
of the county member.The next [column]contains an account of atrocious murder
committed the same evening, within a few hundred yards of the platform on which
the orator held forth. The lives of assassins only are to be held sacred,while
those of old men and helpless women and children are to be ruthlessly sacrificed
to the false morality, the weak,if not wicked sentimentality which shrinks from
the idea of hanging those who have not shrunk from murdering their
The extreme reluctance displayed by juries to find a verdict of guilty on a
capital charge; the equally foolish and far more criminal lenity of the Home
Office, which appears as if actuated by a desire to effect, by gradual steps,
the complete disuse of capital punishment, - so far from being proofs of an
enlightened humanity and an intense respect for the sanctity of life, are really
indications of gross and obstinate short-sightedness. We are inclined to believe
that excessive tenderness for murderers has had the effect of rendering
criminals far more reckless of shedding blood than would otherwise be the case.
the Guardian archive > May 18, 1857 >
Why is only the murderer's life held
A lad's life of prison and whippings
From the Guardian archive
Saturday July 13, 1850
On Wednesday, a little lad named John Johnson,
stated to be 13 years of age, though he did not appear to be more than ten, was
brought before Mr. Hodgson, at the Borough Court, charged with stealing two pies
from the window of a small pie shop in Jersey-street, Ancoats, kept by a man
named Edward Hayes.
On the previous afternoon, he was seen by a
neighbour looking in at the window, and immediately afterwards he passed her
house door with two pies. It was subsequently ascertained that the window had
been opened, and two pies stolen out.
The prisoner, in answer to the charge, protested several times that he found the
pies on the ground, and did not take them out of the window.
Inspector Livingston, in reply to a question put by Mr. Hodgson, said the
prisoner had been in prison several times. He then read the following list of
his convictions: - One month, three months and whipped, one month and whipped,
three months and whipped, two months and whipped, six months.
When asked how long he had been out of prison, the prisoner replied since last
week but one. He again said he did not take the pies out of the window, and
urged that no one saw him.
Mr. Hodgson said that if any one had seen him, he (Mr. Hodgson) would have
committed him to the sessions, and the probability was that he would then have
been got rid of [deported]; as it was, he should summarily commit him for three
Plucking Flowers: - On Saturday afternoon, a man named James McCorquodale was
caught plucking flowers in Queen's Park. The park keeper asked him if he could
read, as there are boards in the park, warning visitors not to touch flowers and
shrubs, and he replied that he could.
On Monday the prisoner was brought up at the Borough Court, before Mr. John
Sharp, the sitting magistrate. Councillor Ashmore, one of the members of the
park committee, said that the committee were desirous that an example should be
made of the prisoner.
Persons who had been found plucking flowers had been brought before the park
committee and reprimanded, but that appeared to have no effect.
They had provided a board on which to publish the names of persons offending,
and how they were delt [sic] with, a plan similar to that adopted in Kensington
The prisoner admitted plucking the flowers, but expressed his sorrow. He was
ordered to pay the value of the flowers, and 4s. 6d. costs, or be committed to
hard labour for 14 days.
the Guardian archive > July 13, 1850 >
A lad's life of prison and whippings, G,
Life and death
a prison chaplain reports
From the Guardian archive
Wednesday April 12, 1843
In consequence of the unusual influx of prisoners, occasioned by the late
unfortunate riots in the manufacturing districts, I have been obliged to read
prayers twice every morning in the chapel. With respect to the conduct of the
prisoners in the chapel, I may certainly once more speak in terms of the highest
It is melancholy to reflect on the alarming
increase in the number of delinquents throughout the country, and their apparent
indifference to the system of good discipline, as exhibited by their repeated
returns to prison. I confess that it does appear to me that much improvement
might be adopted with regard to the punishment of young offenders, and that it
is well worthy of consideration whether it would not be better, in many
instances, to flog them soundly and discharge them at once, or to give them a
few days' solitary confinement, than, as at present, to keep them for months in
one another's infectious society, and giving them as much food as the strongest
adult in the building.
Total number in school from October 20th, 1841, to October 20th, 1842, 301.
Could not tell their letters when admitted, 57; could spell only, 78; could read
imperfectly, 75; could read, 28; could read and write, 63; 301. For trial at
assizes, 20; for trial at the sessions, 56; various convictions, 224; for bail,
I; total, 301. Age of the youngest boy, 9; the eldest, 22; the average age, 14.
Of 1,538 prisoners, there were 200 under 15 years of age.
The last year has been painfully marked by the first execution that has taken
place during my chaplaincy - that of Francis Bradley, for the deliberate murder
of his wife in Manchester by repeated doses of arsenic. He persisted in denying
his guilt to the last day, when he acknowledged the justice of his sentence.
Persons executed at Lancaster Castle, commencing in 1804: 171.
I look forward to the time when the exertions now directed at the scriptural
education of this too long neglected class have effected moral reformation; and
then may we reasonably hope that we shall cease to deplore, year after year, the
steady increase of crime in our calendars and hail with delight the gradual
disappearance of those demoralising habits which are at present so great a
national curse, and to which is most certainly attributable no inconsiderable
part of that distress which has prevailed throughout the country.
The gaol has been remarkably healthy during the whole year, and only eight
deaths have occurred during that period.
the Guardian archive >
Life and death inside: a prison chaplain reports, G,
Wednesday April 12, 1843,
January 16, 1824
The execution of an officer and gentleman
From the Guardian archive
From the archive:
On this day in 1824 the
reported on the execution of 30-year-old John Thurtell.
Friday January 16, 1824
John Thurtell stepped up with a peculiarly
solemn but resolutely firm and manly step. He advanced, with a most deliberate
pace, and gave his hand to the undersheriff, who was at the extreme end of the
The executioner, now placing him on the spot assigned for him, proceeded to take
off his hat and white neckcloth. At this moment he looked at the crowd, and made
a slight inclination to a bow - a motion that had not been uncommon with him in
court. Instantly every head was uncovered, and many among the crowd muttered:
"What a gentleman!" His appearance at this moment was affecting beyond the power
The executioner next produced a very thin nightcap, with which he covered his
head; but it evidently did not obstruct his view. The undersheriff, the gaoler
and the turnkey shook him by the hand. There seemed to be great affection in his
manner of parting with them. Indeed, the feeling seemed to be reciprocal. In the
course of his defence on Wednesday, Mr Wilson shed tears, and the turnkey,
"albeit unused to the melting mood", sobbed and blubbered like a child.
After the executioner had fastened the rope round his neck, and while he was
fastening it to the beam, Thurtell turned towards him more than once. He was
understood to say: "There's hardly any fall." The executioner appeared to
explain to him that it was quite sufficient. He then resumed his position, and
stood unmoved as a rock till the tedious process of adjusting the rope was
finished. The scene was such as deeply affected every heart, and evidently
unmanned many. The executioner now left the drop, and went to his post below.
Mr Wilson, who was the only one now left with him, took him by the hand, and
Thurtell was heard distinctly, and in the most cordial manner, to say: "God
Almighty, bless you!"
At five minutes past twelve the drop fell, and the person of John Thurtell
dropped beneath the platform: a suppressed groan was heard from the multitude.
The executioner having immediately caught him by the legs, there appeared no
other movement. It was quite manifest that Thurtell's spirit continued unshaken,
till it left its earthly mansion for ever.
Thus terminated the life of John Thurtell, at the early age of thirty; a man
with great talents and who had enjoyed the education of a gentleman.
In one of the first cases intensively covered by newspapers, Thurtell, a former
naval officer, was jointly convicted of murdering a gambling associate. He
attracted wide public sympathy.
The Guardian archive > Friday January 16, 1824 >
The execution of an officer and
gentleman, G, 16.1.2006,
May 7 1822
Master's right to
correct his servant
From The Guardian archive
May 7 1822
Mr. John Thackeray, a respectable cotton spinner in this town, was indicted
for having on the 29th March severely flogged with a large birch rod a boy
between 12 and 13 years of age, named Michael Donovan, who was in his employ.
Mr. Ashworth contended to the jury that Mr Thackeray had been guilty of a
flagrant breach of the law. He admitted the right of a master reasonably to
correct his servant, but maintained that the chastisement inflicted on the boy
was by no means of that moderate nature which the law authorises.
From the testimony for the prosecution, it appeared Mr. Thackeray took the boy
into his counting house and gave him twenty or thirty stripes with a birch-rod;
that the boy had been severely beaten, that his flesh was marked with black and
red stripes to a width of about four inches, and that next morning he was so
unwell that it was with difficulty he was induced to get out of bed, and go to
On cross-examination, the prosecutor admitted various acts of misbehaviour
towards some of the girls employed in Mr. Thackeray's factory, and it also came
out, that the beating he had received was not so severe as to break his skin in
the slightest degree.
Mr. Coltman, for the defendants, insisted that the conduct of Mr. Thackeray was
clearly according to law, and cited various authorities to prove that a master
was justified in administering reasonable and proper correction to a servant
under age. There was no more proper instrument than a rod with which to inflict
it. It was said, indeed, "he who spares the rod spoils the child".
Witnesses for the defence proved that the boy had knocked them down, struck them
with a large whip [and] behaved with indecency. One girl had been so hurt in the
leg that she had to be carried to bed for three weeks.
The Chairman, in summing up, held that the evidence had fully justified the
conduct of Mr. Thackeray. Verdict of Not Guilty.
(Owing to a pressure of important parliamentary debates and of advertisements we
are compelled to omit several interesting trials. )
The following prisoners, have received sentence, in addition to those mentioned
in our last:
Transported Fourteen Years. John Saul, 33, for receiving two pieces of velvet,
knowing them to be stolen. James Smith, 17, for stealing the same, imprisoned
two years. Transported Seven Years. Daniel Herbert, 20, for stealing blankets,
From The Guardian
archive > May 7 1822 >
Master's right to correct his servant,
7.5.2007, p. 26,
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