§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is true that in the case of the convict, William Kearsley, who is now lying in prison under sentence of penal servitude for life for the alleged part he took in connection with the murder of Detective Kidd at Wigan some months ago, a petition, was presented to the Home Office on the 19th February 1896, signed by eight of the jurymen who tried the case, in addition to the foreman of the jury; and that in such petition the jurymen state that had they known the full facts of the case before they gave their verdict they would have found a verdict of not guilty against the prisoner Kearsley; and, whether it is a fact that Elijah Winstanley stated hefore his execution that Kearsley had nothing whatever to do with the crime; and, if so, whether the Secretary of State can see his way to re-consider the circumstances of this case?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
It is true that a petition 60 signed by the foreman and eight members of the jury was presented to me on the date mentioned through the prisoner's solicitor, but the grounds of the petition are not quite accurately stated in the question. The petition laid stress on the statement made by Winstanley immediately after the verdict and also on what he is reported to have said on the day before his execution. The conclusion I came to after carefully considering these statements and all the circumstances of the case, and after consulting the learned Judge who tried the prisoners, was that Kearsley had been rightly convicted; and although there were circumstances which justified me in advising the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, I see no ground for reconsideration of the case.