HC Deb 23 February 1888 vol 322 cc1238-9
MR. HANBURY (Preston)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether a free pardon has lately been granted to the convict, George Beaseley; whether he was sentenced to death for murder in 1872, and on account of the insufficient evidence against him was reprieved and condemned instead to penal servitude for life; and, whether he has now been released with a free pardon on the ground that he was innocent, or for what other reason?


No, Sir; it is not the fact that a free pardon has been granted to the convict Beaseley. In 1872 he was, with three other men, concerned in a murderous affray and sentenced to death. The Secretary of State at that time, with the concurrence of the learned Judge who tried the prisoners, commuted the sentences of Beaseley and of a prisoner named Rice to penal servitude for life, on the ground that one of them was only 18 and the other was not sober, and neither of them, although aiding and abetting in the affray, had taken so active a part in it as the other two men who were executed. Beaseley and Rice have now been released on licence at a period somewhat earlier than is usual in commuted life sentences; their own good conduct in prison, and the improved state of the district in respect of crimes of violence, having led me to think that this course was consistent with the ends of justice.