Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

9/12/2013

The execution of children and juveniles.

Some books convey the impression that large numbers of children were hanged for minor crimes such as theft during the 18th and 19th centuries, but the surviving records, e.g. the Ordinary’s Reports from Newgate, do not support this. However, the laws of the time did not accept the concept that children and teenagers did not know the difference between right and wrong and the age of criminal responsibility was just seven years. There was also a strong presumption against those who committed murder for gain, murder by poisoning or brutal murders, especially of their children or their superiors. Mandatory death sentences had to be passed on 7 -13 year olds convicted of felonies but equally routinely commuted. Girls were typically hanged only for the most serious crimes whereas teenage boys were executed for a wide range of felonies. for more click here

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