To face a trial for murder must be a terrifying prospect,
Miscarriages of Justice
To face a trial for murder must be a terrifying prospect, all the more so when you know that you are innocent of the charge. How much more horrific must it be then, when you know that should you be found guilty, the sentence must be that you will lose your life at the end of a rope?
All of the cases reviewed in this book involved one or more individuals who were put on trial for taking the life of a fellow human being. The stories involve the eventual execution by hanging of nine men and one woman. To date, two of those men have been reprieved; too late for them and their families of course but, nevertheless, the state had admitted that it was wrong. What of the others?
What of Louisa Masset, the first person to be hanged in the twentieth century? Did she really murder the son she apparently loved so much? What of Frederick Seddon who went to the gallows still protesting that he was innocent of the murder of his lodger? And what of Harry Armstrong, hanged for murdering his fiancée on New Year’s Day 1939?
The cases in this book all took place in London. Read the stories for yourself and remember that the law states that if there is a reasonable doubt, then it is the jury’s duty to acquit. Was there not a reasonable doubt in some of the cases detailed here? Put yourself onto those juries and decide whether you would have still been prepared to stand in court and announce that dreaded word: ‘Guilty!’