HC Deb 27 May 1897 vol 49 c1421
SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether application has been made to him to consider the case of Isabella Hewson, committed to the York Assizes in May 1885 on u charge of manslaughter, who, having at a time when her mind was unbalanced taken the life of her illegitimate child, was ordered, in consequence of the medical evidence, to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure, and has been in custody 12 years, and is now detained at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum; (2) will he explain why the prisoner is still detained, in view of his reply on 6th April to an application made by her sister for her release, in which he declined to authorise her discharge, and stated that it should be understood that her continued detention in the asylum is not for the purpose of punishing her for a crime committed when she was not responsible; and (3) whether he has ordered, or is prepared to order, a special inquiry into her mental condition, with the object of ascertaining whether she can be discharged and committed to the care of her relatives?


Yes; I received such an application last March, and being satisfied, after a careful inquiry into the case, that the woman could not safely be discharged, directed the answer to be sent to which the hon. Member alludes in the second paragpraph of his Question. I have made fresh inquiry since the hon. Member gave notice of his Question, and regret that her condition remain unchanged, and that discharge is impossible at present.