HC Deb 23 March 1888 vol 324 c184
SIR EDMUND LECHMERE (Worcestershire, Bewdley)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the proceedings of James Berry, the executioner employed to hang two men at Hereford on the 20th of March last, who is reported in the local papers to have been Fêted at a smoking concert at one of the hotels in Hereford on the evening preceding the execution, Berry himself being a performer; and, whether, if such a report be true, he will take steps to prevent the repetition of such proceedings on the part of the officer charged with the duty of carrying into effect the extreme penalty of the law?


Yes, Sir; I have seen a report in the local papers to the effect stated in the Question. The hon. Baronet is aware that the executioner is appointed by the Sheriff; and neither the Prison Commissioners nor the Secretary of State have any control over him or his movements. In 1885 the Governors of Prisons were instructed by the Secretary of State to inform the Sheriff that it was desirable that the executioner should be required to reside and sleep in the prison. I will consider whether, by additional instructions, I can prevent a repetition of such proceedings as the hon. Baronet has referred to.