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Wadhurst Murderer's Reprieve

Volume 166: debated on Wednesday 28 November 1906

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Stevens, who was sentenced to death for the murder of his mother at Wadhurst, was reprieved owing to extenuating circumstances or owing to insufficiency of evidence; if the former, what were the extenuating circumstances; if the latter, on what grounds the prisoner is detained in penal servitude. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) It would not be in accordance with constitutional practice that I should state the grounds on which I advised His Majesty to respite the capital sentence in this case and to commute it to penal servitude for life, but I may say that after the sentence had been respited I instituted certain further inquiries, which I could not make before, into facts of the case, and when these inquiries were completed I carefully revised the whole of the case in consultation with the Judge. In the end, I came to the conclusion that there was no doubt whatever as to the prisoner's guilt, and that I could advise no further commutation of sentence.