HC Deb 17 June 1948 vol 452 cc648-51
44. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murders have occurred in Great Britain since 1st January, 1948; for these how many persons were tried and convicted and sentenced, respectively; what were the sentences; and how do all these figures compare with the corresponding figures for the years 1945, 1946 and 1947, respectively.

The Secretary of State to the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

As the answer includes a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hughes

In the view of the right hon. Gentleman, were this year's figures affected by the recent decision of this House to suspend the death penalty? Will he consider issuing a White Paper for the guidance of Members in the forthcoming Debate?

Mr. Ede

The latest figures I can give are those for the first three months of the year. Therefore, the consideration mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend would not affect them.

Mr. Rankin

In his statement will my right hon. Friend give the corresponding figures for Scotland? Is it a fact that since the death penalty was suspended there have been no murders in Scotland at all?

1945. 1946. 1947. 1948.
Murders known to the police 69 39 47 41
Persons for Trial 11 18 23 20
How Dealt With
Insane on arraignment 1 4 5 4
Acquitted 2 5 2 1
Guilty but insane 4 4 4 1
Detained during His Majesty's Pleasure (Children and Young Persons Act). 1 5
Sentenced to Death 3 5 7 5
Executed 1 2 3
Reprieved and sentence commuted to penal servitude for life. 1 3 2 5
Removed to Broadmoor as a criminal lunatic. 1 2
Awaiting trial 9

Mr. Ede

The statement I make will include the figures for Scotland.

Mr. Hughes

In view of the very great importance of this matter in relation to the forthcoming Debate, will my right hon. Friend collect the recent figures and embody them in a White Paper for the guidance of hon. Members?

Mr. Ede

I doubt if by the time any fresh Debate takes place I shall have the figures for April and May.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that in any case this suspension did not apply to Scotland?

Mr. Ede

I would not agree.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

But it did not.

Mrs. Manning

Are the murders which take place in this country so extensive that my right hon. Friend cannot get the figures? It is not a matter of hundreds and thousands but of perhaps a dozen, is it not?

Hon. Members


Following are the particulars:

The returns for April and May of crimes known to the police are not yet available. The tables below give particulars of cases from the period 1st January to 31st March, 1948, with figures for the same three months in 1945, 1946 and 1947.

1945. 1946. 1947. 1948.
Murders known to the police 3* 4* 5 5
Persons for Trial 2 2 2 3
How Dealt With
Insane and placed at His Majesty's disposal 2 1
Sentenced to Death 2 1
Executed 1
Reprieved and sentence commuted to penal servitude for life. 1 1
Awaiting trial 3
* One committed on the high seas.