HC Deb 12 July 1983 vol 45 cc293-4W
Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons sent to special hospitals for murder and subsequently discharged are known to have committed a second murder; and how many committed a second murder while in a special hospital, in each case in each of the last 30 years.

Mr. Mellor

In England and Wales during the last 30 years, three persons charged with murder—one found insane on arraignment and two found guilty but insane —and ordered to be detained in a special hospital were subsequently convicted of manslaughter after being discharged from hospital. Two persons were convicted of manslaughter for the second time while detained in a special hospital.

Mr. Shersby

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report details of the number of cases during the past five years where convicted murderers, having been sentenced to terms of imprisonment, have subsequently been found to be wrongly convicted and where they have been released.

Mr. Mellor

The conviction for murder of Mr. Albert Edward Taylor in April 1974 was quashed by the Court of Appeal in March 1979, the case having been referred to the court under section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, and he was released from prison.

I should perhaps also mention the case of Mr. David Cooper and Mr. Michael Graham McMahon, although they were not found to have been wrongly convicted. Together with Mr. Patrick Murphy, whose conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1973 on a reference under section 17 of the 1968 Act, they were convicted in March 1970 of the murder of a Luton sub-postmaster and sentenced to life imprisonment. In July 1980 my noble Friend, then Home Secretary, having regard to the widely felt sense of unease about the case, recommended the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy to effect the remission of the remainder of their sentences.

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