§ MR. LEWIS FRY (Bristol, N.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he had had under consideration the case of John Withey, now under sentence of death in Horfield Gaol, Bristol, for the murder of his wife on the 11th of February last; whether he was aware that the jury stated in giving their verdict that there was no premeditation on the part of the prisoner, and recommended him to mercy on that ground, and on that 1387 of previous good character; whether ten of the jury had since forwarded to the Home Office a memorial stating that there was no direct or positive evidence that Withey killed his wife, nor any evidence of premeditation, and strongly repeating their recommendation to mercy; and whether, under the circumstances of the case, the finding of the jury was equivalent in law to a verdict of manslaughter only, and not of wilful murder?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS,) Birmingham, E.
My answer to the first three paragraphs of the question of the hon. Member is in the affirmative; and to the last in the negative. The matter is engaging my most earnest attention, and I am in communication with the learned Judge with regard to it.