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Shooting Incident, Itchen Stoke

Volume 439: debated on Monday 23 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Agriculture under what process of law George Raymond Walden, Borough Farm, Itchen Stoke, Hants, was shot dead while defending his home; whether the police who shot him were acting under the authority of a legal warrant or under what other authority; and what action he is taking in the matter.

In 1940 on account of the poor state of Mr. Walden's farm and his failure to comply with Cultivation Orders, it became necessary for the Hampshire War Agricultural Executive Committee to take possession of the holding. Mr. Walden refused to leave and shot at, seriously injuring, an unarmed policeman sent to see that there was no breach of the peace when the Committee took possession. He then shut himself in the house and shot at anyone approaching. Altogether he injured with gun shots four policemen before he was killed—it is thought—by a gun discharged by one of the policemen trying to arrest him for attempted murder. A coroner's jury returned the verdict that the man died from gunshot wounds inflicted by a police officer in the proper execution of his duty, and that it was, therefore, justifiable homicide. No warrant is necessary in law for the arrest of a man who has committed the felony of attempted murder. If an officer of justice is resisted in the legal execution of his duty, he may use force, and should he kill the person resisting him it is justifiable homicide. This very regrettable incident was fully investigated at the time. In view of the verdict at the inquest and the passage of seven years, I see no reason why I should take any action in the matter, or that I could usefully do so.