HC Deb 30 July 1964 vol 699 c401W
Mr. Loveys

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will take steps with the West German Government for the return of Brian Cowell to this country, in view of the report of a Rhine Army psychiatrist that he is suffering from a serious mental illness; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Mathew

Brian Cowell is serving a sentence of life imprisonment imposed in 1959 by a German Court for murder in the course of robbery with extreme violence committed in the Federal Republic of Germany. Any question of his release and deportation is therefore subject to German law, and the decision is one for the German authorities.

Cowell was detained in a prison for long-term prisoners until April, 1963 when, after a fight with warders, he was transferred to a prison hospital for psychiatric obervation. Since that time, he has remained in psychiatric care.

At our request, the German authorities agreed to arrangements being made for Cowell to be seen by a British Army consultant psychiatrist. This was done in April last. Thereafter, Cowell was moved to a second hospital for further study of his mental condition. The doctors have just made their report. Her Majesty's Consul-General in Stuttgart has asked to be informed as soon as possible of any decision that may be taken by the judicial authorities. Her Majesty's Government will consider in the light of this decision whether further action should be taken on Cowell's behalf. In this matter we must of course have regard to the public interest as well as to the health of the prisoner.