HC Deb 17 May 1878 vol 240 cc157-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he will state for what reason he has ad- vised Her Majesty to set at large one George Broomfield, a prisoner convicted of murder at Winchester in 1865; and, if he would lay upon the Table of the House Copies of any Communications made to him, or to the Under Secretary of State, with reference to the said prisoner prior to his release?


in reply, said, that he had followed, in dealing with the case, the ordinary course pursued by his Predecessors in similar instances. George Broomfield had been convicted of murder at Winchester in July, 1865, and was afterwards examined by an eminent medical man, who reported that he was of unsound mind, and the sentence was commuted to one of penal servitude for life. On the 9th of July, 1866, an application was made for the removal of the prisoner from Millbank Prison to Broadmoor Asylum, and on the 11th of November, 1877, his wife applied for his release. A special Report as to his condition was made to the Secretary of State, the general effect of which was that there was no risk in discharging him, provided some person would take the responsibility of taking care of him, and of reporting at once any tendency to relapse into his former state of mind which he might exhibit. A competent person was found to undertake this duty; and, following the usual course, he was allowed, on the recommendation of the authorities at Broad-moor that he was fit to be permitted to be at large, to take his discharge. All the communications made to the Secretary of State in the matter were, he might add, of a confidential character; therefore, he could not consent to produce them.