HC Deb 17 May 1888 vol 326 cc523-4
MR. BOORD (Greenwich)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a report published in the Sydney newspapers of 13th and 14th of March, to the effect that a labourer named Michael Carroll had on the previous Sunday (11th March) confessed to the murder of Jane Maria Clousen in Kidbrooke Lane on the 25th of April, 1871, giving at the same time particulars sufficient to show that he was well acquainted with the locality and the circumstances connected with the commission of the crime, and stating that he had served in the British Army, from whence he had twice deserted; whether it is true that Carroll was discharged from custody on receipt of a telegraphic message from the Police Authorities in London that there was "not the slightest ground for his confession," and that he was "not the murderer;" and, if so, whether he can say by what means the London police were enabled to arrive at so prompt and definite a conclusion without having seen the prisoner, or having received fuller particulars than could be given in a telegraphic communication; and, whether he will inquire into the circumstances of the case, considering that the late Lord Chief Justice Bovill rebuked the police for withholding important evidence which conflicted with their theory of the murder?


I have seen a newspaper report of the confession of Carroll on March 11. In reply to telegram from the Sydney police, asking whether the man should be detained, the Scotland Yard Authorities replied that they did not consider this man to be Clousen's murderer, and that he might be liberated after his statement had been recorded, and they asked that the statement might be forwarded. This statement has been since received, and in the opinion of the police is not reliable. The police were not aware of any evidence or suspicion which would have warranted the detention of Carroll. With regard to the strictures passed on the police concerned in the case by the late Lord Chief Justice Bovill, I must refer my hon. Friend to a statement made in this House by Mr. Secretary Bruce on July 31, 1871.