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Volume 648: debated on Thursday 9 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murders there have been since the recent Homicide Act; and how many there were in the same period before the Act.

In the four-year period from 21st March, 1957. when the Homicide Act came into force, the number of murders known to the police in England and Wales, adjusted so as to exclude offences since found not to be murder, was 559. The corresponding number for the four-year period ended 20th March, 1957, was 548.The figures for the two periods are not strictly comparable because the Act changed the definition of murder. The principal change was the introduction in Section 2 of the defence of diminished responsibility. In the four-year period after the Act, 106 offences were reduced to manslaughter on that ground.