HC Deb 22 March 1847 vol 91 c269

said, it appeared by the newspapers that the execution of two men took place at Morpeth on Wednesday last, when by the excessive bungling of the executioner, a most horrible scene occurred that greatly added to the barbarity of capital punishments. He wished to ask the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he had made any inquiry into the circumstances, and whether he had taken any steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future? He also begged to ask the right hon. Baronet, whether he had received from any of the Judges an intimation that there was, and had been recently, an increasing indisposition on the part of juries to return a verdict of guilty in cases where capital punishment was likely to be inflicted? He asked this question in consequence of the recent acquittal of three men, for what was called the Barnard Castle Murder, and their subsequent conviction for robbing the person who was murdered.


had received no information whatever respecting the circumstance alleged to have taken place at Morpeth; but he would make inquiry on the subject. Neither had he received any information from any of the Judges with regard to the indisposition of juries to convict in cases where capital punishment might be inflicted. But he observed, that in the Barnard Castle case, the learned Judge passed the severest punishment the law allowed on the persons convicted.