Murdered by Sydney Silverman

Robert Cusworth - Killer

Robert Cusworth - Sick and Callous killer

Chef stabbed to death teaching assistant ‘because he was in a bad mood’ | Mail Online

 

A chef today admitted murdering an innocent teaching assistant because he was ‘in a bad mood.’

A poor innocent woman, who’d just nipped out to walk her dog, something that millions of Britons do each day, brutally murdered for no reason whatsoever.

One can only imagine the sheer horror that the unfortunate Mrs Sally Garwood must have experienced when a complete stranger grabbed her and decided to end her life.

Robert Cusworth has offered no real explanation for doing what he did, other than that he was in a bad mood. One can only hope that upon reaching prison, he runs into lots of nasty people in similar bad moods.

Justice of sorts

Cusworth, the cowardly scum that he is, at least did one thing right, he admitted what he had done. Saving the witnesses, one of whom was just nine years old, the trauma of having to give evidence in court. Although he is likely to get a ‘life’ sentence, it is unlikely to give Mr Garwood, nor the family of his wife, the justice that they deserve. No matter how many years he gets, he’ll only serve half of them, and as I have mentioned previously, not necessarily in what most of us would term ‘a prison’.

Sally Garwood had planned on starting a family with her husband Simon, but a simple walk with the dog through her local park ended any such hopes for Sally. She’ll never now have children or do anything else again. She’d probably left her home that morning, like any one of us, planning her day, her future perhaps. Instead she spent her final moments in agonising terror because the sick and callous Robert Cusworth had felt a little down that day.

Cusworth, who’s 25 years old, will most likely be out of prison and getting on with his life before he reaches 40. Indeed he’ll most likely be out before he reaches 34, the same age that Sally Garwood reached before she was brutally slain by him.

Instead of picking his child up from primary school, Mr Garwood will most likely still be trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife by the time that Cusworth is released, most likely early, further adding to his continuing pain. For those that lose someone in such tragic and senseless circumstances, the pain doesn’t end until they too die.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue saying it. We have the abolitionists to thank for people like Robert Cusworth.

Capital punishment cuts re-offending rates

The very fact that a man would consider going out and harming someone, especially with a knife, is because we have no effective means of punishment in Britain. There are no decisions that can have drastic or life limiting consquences for people like Robert Cusworth. What matter was it to him if he hurt or killed someone? He’d be OK. At worst he’d served a decade or so in prison, most likely with Satellite television in his room, access to the latest games consoles and games, day releases for study or even shopping trips. Not to mention on site medical and dental care.

Yes, that’s the worst that he could face. At best he’d be declared mentally ill, and then be let out to do it again in just a few years.

For those that state that hanging is no deterrent – rubbish! The man clearly thinks often of his own well being, deciding against tackling a lone male jogger as he wasn’t an easy enough target. The nine year old school boy most likely has Sally Garwood to thank for being in front of him, otherwise he’d have most likely being the target of Cusworth’s ire.

Had Cusworth really been that down hearted and depressed, he’d have killed himself, but no, because he valued his own life so highly, and because society values the lives of innocent, law abiding citizens so cheaply, he had far less to lose by killing someone else.

The murder rate in Britain has tripled since 1965 when Sydney Silverman MP, a pacifist and conscientious objector finally got his wish and the death penalty was effectively abolished. Thank god there were not more like him during World War II.

Why Britain needs to bring back hanging

Prior to this the murder rate has been decreasing virtually year on year for nearly a century. The murder rate stood at 6.2 murders per million people in Britain in 1960 and began to rise when it became clear that the death penalty was to be abolished, since then it has barely looked back, topping 20.3 murders per million by 2002.

Robert Cusworth and people like him need to be hung, anyone callous enough to kill a total stranger for no other reason than they were in a bad mood deserves to lose the only thing that people like this truly value, their own life. Once, taking someone’s liberty would have been considered a serious punishment, but in modern Britain it has become laughable. The only real punishment is the same one that these kind of people dish out willy nilly, one that is irreversible and final. Death.

Judging by the trend in murder rates for the 100 years prior to the abolition, Sydney Silverman and his like minded liberal colleagues have been responsible for the needless deaths of more than 3000 innocent people, all to save the lives of a few hundred murderers.
What happens when three puerile homosexuals stumble across modern technology

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37 responses to “Murdered by Sydney Silverman

  1. God knows the US justice system is far from perfect but this is another story from across the Pond that just makes me go “Huh” ?
    I couldn’t accept someone like this getting out without doing a full and proper sentence. There doesn’t seem to be any haggling going on hat he deserves mental patient leniency so what’s going on?
    Add to this story my recent read up on the bail hostels controversy over there. What’s up with those things? I could see using them solely in the pre release setting or perhaps even as an alternative system for very low end offences. but being allowed to site them wherever and the complaints that come forth as well as the lack of supervision is kind of scary

    • Thanks for the comment Alfie. Cusworth still hasn’t been sentenced but at best I think he’ll get 15-20 years, but prisoners only ever serve half their sentence at the moment so he’ll be out in about 7-10 years. Probably sooner.

      It is a strange case, normally people that carry out such mindless acts have a history of mental illness, but not him. I think it really is just a case of him wanting to take his frustrations out on someone and not being scared of any punishment for it (he called the police himself).

      As for bail hostels, like the serving of half sentences, it is to do with trying to cut the prison population, which has quadrupled since the 1960s (despite the population rising by just 8 million). Prisoners are released early, regardless of their crime, stuck in these bail hostels, where staff have no chance of keeping an eye on them, and left to their own devices.

      In one case a few years ago, a paedophile took a three year old that he’d abducted back to his bail hostel and abused her in front of his fellow paedophiles that were also living there. Despite police knowing who he was, and where he was, he still managed to take her back there and abuse her.

      If the worst kind of criminals can commit their crimes in bail hostels, what use are they? Yet we still have them and as they keep the prison numbers down, no Government is likely to get rid of them!

  2. Your argument about higher murder rates since abolition fails because abolition was such a long time ago – many many other social changes have happened since. If you want CP to come back you have to have a credible plan about who exactly should be hanged. You say the rate increased “when it became clear that the death penalty was to be abolished” but it was not at all clear in 1960 that it would be, when there was still a Tory government – and certainly not clear to the less-than-average-intelligence types who form the bulk of the criminal fraternity.

    • Thanks for the comment Peter.

      Your argument about higher murder rates since abolition fails because abolition was such a long time ago – many many other social changes have happened since.

      I’m sorry Peter, but like what? It is just that it seems odd that in the previous 100 years, which witnessed some massive social changes, such as the end of the Victorian era, World War I, World War II and the Great Depression there was no real change in the slow decline of the murder rate. Yet we’ve had 50 years of ever increasing violence and murder since the abolition of the death penalty, but that is down to some other factor, and though it started virtually the same year as the abolition, it is unrelated?

      There’s only two big social changes that I can think of that happened around that time, the first is related. The abolition of the death penalty has led to a slippery slope in discipline and consequences. Once you killed someone, you lost your life. The death penalty was abolished, next we’ve lost all forms of corporal punishment in every area from schools, right through to the police force and even the army. As if that wasn’t bad enough we’ve continued down the slope and now all forms of physical punishment for children is outlawed. This has bred a callous disregard for the well being of others, the law, and punishment (the ridiculous notion that somehow removing privileges is a worthwhile punishment!). This for me is the biggest social change, that has turned our society from a polite and generally safe one, to a violent and fearful one.

      The second big social change is mass immigration, a change that has altered the whole of society pretty much beyond recognition, but as convenient as it would be to place the sky rocketing of the murder rate at the door of multiculturalism, it doesn’t make sense. We’d have to have been importing people from only the murder capitals of the world, or direct from prison to account for such a sky high rise.

      As for it being a long time ago; by 1975 the murder rate was 10.3, higher than it had been since the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign, that is in just over a decade, what massive social change happened from 1960-1975? It wasn’t so long ago then that it wasn’t worth considering, a 40% increase in just 15 years was unprecedented.

      Another big change that should have impacted the figures is medical care. You just have to look at Iraq and Afghanistan to see what amazing things can be done with modern medical care. Gunshot wounds and knife wounds that would have been fatal in the 1950s an 60s can now just become nasty scars with quick medical care. Ergo more people are probably surviving murder attempts than ever before, yet the murder rate has still tripled!

      If you want CP to come back you have to have a credible plan about who exactly should be hanged.

      The murderers, it can’t be more straight forward than that. Anyone who wilfully takes the life of another, and not in self defence, should be hung by the neck until dead.

      You say the rate increased “when it became clear that the death penalty was to be abolished” but it was not at all clear in 1960 that it would be, when there was still a Tory government – and certainly not clear to the less-than-average-intelligence types who form the bulk of the criminal fraternity.

      No it was not clear cut  in 1960, but the murder rate was still declining in 1960, by 1965 it had risen for the first time in almost a century (discounting the two slight rises following the World Wars), somewhere between 1960-1965 it rose and I believe that the reason is obvious.

      The abolition movement had been gaining momentum since Timothy Evans (who was certainly guilty of something) in 1950 and Derek Bentley in 1953, who incidentally I don’t believe should have been hung, but only because he didn’t fire the fatal shot, but I also don’t believe that he should have been pardoned.

      In 1956 a bill was passed through Parliament with a 2:1 majority on the abolition of the death penalty, but was defeated in the House of Lords, this despite a Conservative Government. The writing was clearly on the wall from that point, but as you say, it will have taken time to have filtered down to the criminal world, about 5-10 years.

  3. hi Charlie – great to be in an interesting online argument. I would dispute your claim that abolition actually “led” to the other things that you mention – rightly or wrongly, they all reflect liberalization of UK society that also saw the decline of religion, sexual freedom for gays, more opportunities for women and minorities, a huge increase in media and communication, and so on – these were the changes I meant. Whether they are good or bad, who can say? My own hunch is that is sort of swings and roundabouts/baby and bathwater (by the way, I am old enough to remember the pre-abolition era, and it is impossible to assign a simple causes and effects analysis to one specific change).

    I would have to check more on the rates that you quote before taking issue with you on this point – from my own recollection of the late 1960s, there was no increase in murder rates though violent crimes in general continued to rise. I am not sure that life was really that good back then in the age of George Dixon – police forces are now known to have been corrupt and brutal, often framing suspects – and of course they were extremely racist, as was most of white society (by the way, I am white and “straight” as well as oldish).

    You probably know that pre-abolition, not all murderers could be hanged. I think this a problem for you, despite the certainty of how you replied on this point. For instance, a woman who premeditatedly kills her husband after a lifetime of abuse from him would strictly be a murderer, but I imagine you not wish
    her to be hanged.

    I hope my terse previous message does not appear to lack sympathy for victims of the sort you describe – I think many abolitionists are concerned about murderers who get out too early.

    Peter

    • Thanks again for the comments Peter.

      I would dispute your claim that abolition actually “led” to the other things that you mention – rightly or wrongly, they all reflect liberalization of UK society

      Agreed that abolition may not have been the start, but it was certainly a major stepping stone in the erosion of our values and community. Liberalisation is one word for it, I’d say that it was a breakdown in boundaries and discipline, which, whilst on the surface seemed a good idea (decline of religion, opportunities for women/minorities etc) the liberal attitude went far, far too far. Presumably to do with the fact that those in charge believed that everyone was made up of the same moral fibre as they were, and that give the right motivation and opportunities they’d think like them too, and that criminals need help and understanding, rather than punishment. This epic blunder has in turn forced successive Governments to create more and more laws to keep the population in check, criminalising, well just about everything, rather than abandon the liberal crusade. And we now live in a society of mass punishment for everyone to keep the minority in check, rather than harsh punishments for the minority to keep only them in check.

      (by the way, I am old enough to remember the pre-abolition era, and it is impossible to assign a simple causes and effects analysis to one specific change)

      The irony of that statement is that abolitionists have used the ‘capital punishment has no effect on murder rates’ for years, yet when it is pointed out that the only time in British recorded history Capital Punishment was taken away as a punishment, it led to an almost instant surge in the murder rate, it is put down to coincidence! I think that many abolitionists try to smoke screen it, overcomplicate it (or flat out refuse to even consider it, as it contradicts their world view) and state that society has changed so much that comparisons are impossible. Yet, do they really think that any person with even a modicum of intelligence would really believe that between 1960 and 1970 there was some massive change that accounted for the start of this unending rise in the murder rates, that saw an unprecedented decade rise of 23% in the murder rate, and that it had nothing to do with the abolition?

      If the murder rate had been in decline for more than 100 years prior to the abolition of the death penalty, at which point it increased it would be a more than reasonable assumption that the abolition has something to do with it. Only a fool would discount it, kind of like saying you saw a man fly, you’re not sure how he did it, but you’re pretty sure it had nothing to do with the large billowing white thing that flew down with him.

      It may well be only the largest of many contributing factors, but the way that abolitionists disregard it entirely, is indicative of the ‘I’m right morally ergo cannot be wrong’ mentally that many seem to have.

      I would have to check more on the rates that you quote before taking issue with you on this point – from my own recollection of the late 1960s, there was no increase in murder rates though violent crimes in general continued to rise.

      I thought I had linked to it previously, but I apologise I haven’t. I write many Capital Punishment posts, most of which I don’t post, so I sometimes forget what I was going to post, and what I actually did. The statistics are in a research report produced for Parliament entitled a Century of Change, looking at Britain from 1900-2000. Well worth looking at and not just for the murder rates.

      For instance, a woman who premeditatedly kills her husband after a lifetime of abuse from him would strictly be a murderer, but I imagine you not wish
      her to be hanged.

      No, on the contrary, I would. Pre-abolition admittedly things may  have been different, but killing her husband rather than picking up the phone, walking into a police station or just walking into a women’s refuge is murder plain and simple. I worked in a women’s refuge many years ago, the help is there and a lot of money is spent on it. I am not sure how any woman would see murder as her only option. Harriet Harman is apparently trying to bring in a law that ensures that women do not face murder charges for precisely this kind of thing and I whole heartedly disagree with it. 

      Self defence of course is another matter.

      I think many abolitionists are concerned about murderers who get out too early.

      But then why oppose the death penalty. A good example is Viva Leroy Nash, who recently died on death row aged 94. A ripe old age that his three victims never saw. Had he been executed in 1947 for the killing of a police officer (if anything demonstrated he was a dangerous callous killer it was that), then two people and their families would have been able to live out their lives in full. But he avoided execution, and again for the killing in 1977 to murder his final victim in 1982. Two life sentences, yet two more people were killed.

      Taking a life to save a life is surely justified? What about two?

  4. Charlie – last point – I think you are being somehat naive about this issue; many of these cases concern women in groups which are not especially aware of these (fairly recent) support institutions (they are probably uneducated, and are maybe in ethnic minorities which are unfortunately often sexist). I do not dispute that such actions are in principle murder, but the point is that some murders/murderers are much, much worse than others. As I said, from my own recollections I do not think in fact that there was a huge surge in the murder rate when the DP was suspended in 1965 – otherwise, abolition would not have been confirmed been a few years later, I suppose. I did a bit of research on the subject after one of our exchanges, and the impression I got was that the DP itself died slowly, as successive home secretaries commuted so many death sentences, and lost confidence in the reliability/fairness of the punishment (following dubious cases like Craig/Bentley, Hanratty, and Evans) that the punishment seemed to become meaningless. I know this will not convince you that that it SHOULD not be used; I think that your ideas would lead to a huge number of death penalties being carried out. Well, this might or might not deter some murderers, but it would also lead to many unjustified deaths – for instance, cases like Stefan Kiszko, the Birmingham 4 etc. I would also point to violent US states like Texas, which have lots of murders AND lots of DP – the latter does not seem to deter the former (statistically it could be argued to encourage it), and maybe it just creates a climate where killing is part of daily life – I would not want this for Britain.

  5. The other point I would make is that an attempt to reintroduce largescale execution of convicted murderers in contemporary Britain might risk many of them being acquitted, given that many people oppose the death penalty; this would surely be the worst possible outcome. I believe that jurors in US death penalty states are excluded from service if they oppose the DP, but this presupposes that they answer the question honestly.

    • Hi Peter.

      …many of these cases concern women in groups which are not especially aware of these (fairly recent) support institutions (they are probably uneducated, and are maybe in ethnic minorities which are unfortunately often sexist)

      These kinds of facilities have been going for years, at least 30 or more and the facilities and budgets get better every year. People are aware of them, in my time the overwhelming majority of residents were young women, usually from poor backgrounds and they were all well aware of the help they were entitled too. Besides, the support network is designed so that they don’t have to know anything, a mere mention to their GP, a police officer, or any Government worker of their problem will get the ball rolling.

      The help is there and I don’t think that cultural differences or anything else can be used as an excuse for premeditated murder.

      but the point is that some murders/murderers are much, much worse than others.

      I understand what you are saying, but you are missing the point, in all instances the victim ends up dead, and in all instances this is permanent. To the victim, the only person that really counts, all murders are the same. Taking the life of another person should only ever be done in extreme circumstances, when there is no other option, i.e. in self defence or when the person has shown no regard for the lives of others.

      As I said, from my own recollections I do not think in fact that there was a huge surge in the murder rate when the DP was suspended in 1965 – otherwise, abolition would not have been confirmed been a few years later, I suppose.

      Well, the Governments own statistics are there for all to see. The rise is there, and the rise is clear. Like today, once it was gone, no party wanted to be the one that brought back hanging. Gordon Brown himself has recently stated that there will be no discussion on the death penalty, regardless of public opinion. They know what is best for us, even if we do not.

      It became fashionable to want to end the death penalty, as you mentioned earlier, as part of the liberalisation of Britain. But let’s be clear, the population was always overwhelmingly in favour of the death penalty, it was abolished pretty much against the will of the people.

      Well, this might or might not deter some murderers, but it would also lead to many unjustified deaths…

      An often used excuse for not bringing back the death penalty, but in this day and age it does not make sense. Forensic science has never been so thorough, add to that DNA and a robust criminal justice system and miscarriages of justice should rarely, if ever, happen and the execution of innocents never.

      You mentioned Evans, Hanratty, Craig and Bentley. The anti death penalty lobby lapped up the protestations of men like Hanratty and became their champions. Hanratty was innocent according to them, and has been held up for years as an example of a man wrongfully hanged. However recent DNA evidence has shown that he was the man that shot Michael Gregsten in the head and then raped Valerie Storie over Gregsten’s corpse before shooting her and leaving her for dead. Despite the many twists, lies, downright optimistic conjecture, Hanratty’s semen on was found in Valerie Storie’s underwear and his phlegm on the handkerchief that the gun was wrapped in. Obviously in the 60s he could claim his innocence and never really be disproved, he wiped the gun clean, there could be doubt over Storie’s description, and he almost got away with it. Thankfully he did not. Capital punishment may not stop all murder, but it certainly stopped a callous killer like James Hanratty from doing it again. Indeed, Hanratty has in fact turned out to be a good example of why we need the death penalty. People like Hanratty are able to wrap the well intentioned, naive do-gooders and vocal human rights campaigners around their fingers and effectively bend them to their will. Even today, many people still believe that Hanratty was innocent! Who knows how many lives Hanratty would have destroyed had he been freed, either in the 60s or in the 80s. A man that can rape a woman over the sanguineous corpse of her boyfriend is not going to be rehabilitated by a short spell inside, or any spell inside. Failure to adequately deal with someone like Hanratty is a crime in its self.

      Evans, as I mentioned before, confessed several times to killing his wife and daughter, lots can be said about the case and the fact that the story changed so much but at the end of the day the first the police knew about it was when Evans went to them to confess to killing his wife. Christie may have also been a murderer, but it is assumed that he killed the wife and daughter of Evans, there is no evidence of it. Either way Evans was involved somehow, he didn’t go the police stating ‘my neighbour has killed my wife and daughter’, but that he had. If anything it was his stupidity, dishonesty and callousness that saw him hanged.

      Personally I think that Craig should have been executed and not Bentley, after all only one person can hold a gun, but like all the others that the abolitionists championed and held up as an example of injustice, Bentley was not innocent. He wasn’t some law abiding, tax paying gentleman in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was there because he was a criminal and although he didn’t pull the trigger himself, he was involved in the shooting of two police officers and he knew about the gun and didn’t seem concerned that his friend was taking pot shots at the police.

      I would also point to violent US states like Texas, which have lots of murders AND lots of DP – the latter does not seem to deter the former (statistically it could be argued to encourage it)

      How so? Is Texas more or less violent because of the death penalty? The only way to know for sure would be to abolish it and see what happens and judging by the Britain, it would sky rocket. I could be wrong but I believe that the murder rate in Texas has remained the same for the past 20-30 years by and large, unlike Britain. The fact that the death penalty is in place, and the murder rate has not risen significantly, like it has in most European states over the same period (none of which have the death penalty), would indicate that it does have an impact. The only way to know for sure would be to abolish it and wait to see what happens.

      Of course if it were to be abolished in Texas and the murder rate increases, I presume the same thing would happen there as here. For the first 5-10 years it would be ‘too early’ to tell what impact the abolition has had on the murder rate. Then, after 10 years, the rise would be put down to other factors, before at 15 years it would finally be stated that after such a long period, comparisons are impossible.

      What emerges is ironically a very similar situation to global warming, where the activists are right regardless of the statistics, facts or evidence and will continue to assert their view as fact because they wholeheartedly believe that they are right.

      After 45 years of the abolition, I just wonder precisely what has to happen before the ‘capital punishment has no effect on murder rates’ myth is exploded. The only way we can be sure is to re-institute the death penalty for a decade or two and see what impact it has.

      I do think that the executions were carried out a little too swiftly in the 60s, there should be at least five years from conviction to execution to give plenty of time for those wrongly or unjustly convicted to prove their innocence.

      I would make is that an attempt to reintroduce largescale execution of convicted murderers in contemporary Britain might risk many of them being acquitted, given that many people oppose the death penalty;

      I think that is unlikely. The death penalty isn’t as popular as it once was, but that is what 45 years of pro-abolition propaganda will do, particularly to the young. However still around two third of people are pro capital punishment.

      Besides, any idiot that feels that a murderer should walk free, merely because they oppose the death penalty should be strung up with them. What kind of a callous, narrow minded individual would really believe that a killer should be freed to take another life, because taking the life of a killer is against their principles?

      But we managed it before the abolition, I am sure that we can again.

      …and maybe it just creates a climate where killing is part of daily life – I would not want this for Britain.

      This of course is the ultimate irony. Violence and killings have been removed in all forms from state punishments, and yet we live in the most violent times this nation has ever seen in modern times, perhaps ever. Violence begets violence is a myth. Inaction and half hearted punishments breeds violence, people only do what they believe they can get away with, and what they believe is worth the consequences.

      Killing is part of daily life in modern Britain, perhaps not for the political elite, nor the well off, but for many people the threat of violence and murder is never far away. What’s more, both the victims and perpetrators of the worse crime of all, are getting younger and younger.

  6. Hi Charlie – about murderers getting away with it because of the DP – I really do think this is a strong argument against it. You say that jurors who let murderers off should be strung up with them, but I don’t think you mean this. Despite the undoubted advances in forensic science, there will be many trials (given your wish that ALL murderers face the DP) in which there is a lot of doubt, and what I was trying to say was that many people will simply be too “chicken” (probably that is how you would view them) to in effect take a man’s life by voting “Guilty”. Hanratty – yes I know he does now seem to have been guilty after all, but the point is that there was doubt at the time. What about the other cases I mention, eg S. Kiszko and the several cases of supposed IRA bombers who weren’t? The SK case is especially chilling, as his effing useless defence lawyer, David Waddington (who later became a Tory minister) and the police officers involved, were later soundly criticised for their behaviour, and I think there was talk of legal action against them. An interesting scenario: if SK had in fact been hanged and later found to be innocent, would the police who suppressed defence evidence be liable to be hanged themselves?

    • Hi Charlie – about murderers getting away with it because of the DP – I really do think this is a strong argument against it. You say that jurors who let murderers off should be strung up with them, but I don’t think you mean this.

      I was going to say that it is ridiculous that someone would allow a murderer to walk free, rather than take the chance that they may be hanged and compromise their principles and that no one would ever do it. Then I realised that you are right, it could very well happen.

      Hanratty – yes I know he does now seem to have been guilty after all, but the point is that there was doubt at the time.

      There was no doubt, the police didn’t doubt his guilt, nor did Valerie Storie, nor did the Jury. The only doubt was that which was whipped up by the anti Capital Punishment lobby, who I think didn’t really care whether he was innocent or not, they just wanted to create enough doubt to ensure that he got off. So I think that you are right, there may very well be those who’d rather allow a murderer to walk free, and perhaps murder again, than take the chance that a man would be hanged (innocent or not).

      …many people will simply be too “chicken” (probably that is how you would view them) to in effect take a man’s life by voting “Guilty”

      But the law is the law. At the end of the day they are not the ones to decide whether a man is hanged or not, they would merely determine his guilt. They should be objective and if they believe him guilty, they should find him so. It is up to a Judge to pass sentence and order an execution. If anyone had such strong views, chances are they would not make the selection for Jury service in such a trial, and if they did, it would most likely end up a mis trial.

      Such people would only restrict the justice of the people they were intending to help as it may well end up having only pro captial punishment jurors in such trials, which I don’t believe is right, but at least generally, it seems that those that are pro the death penalty seem to be more impartial than those that oppose it, and may well actually weigh up the decision more carefully.

      Besides, and I believe that we are currently looking at this anyway, we could use the US style of degrees of murder. If the Jury were in any doubt that it was pre-meditated, then they could find them guilty of a lesser charge. This happens now, with some murderers found guilty of manslaughter, e.g. Khyra Ishaq’s parent/guardian were found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder (as if starving someone of food is different from starving them from oxygen).

      But I also believe that appeals should work both ways, i.e. if someone is convicted of third degree murder, and subsequent evidence, like with Hanratty, proves they were guilty of first degree murder they should be found guilty of the more serious charge and hanged.

      As for it being a strong argument against the death penalty, I don’t think so. Many people believe that prison is a waste of time and that it only develops criminal tendancies, the current 60-70% re-offending rate demonstrates this, yet juries still send people to prison.

      Again, Stefan Kiszko was not innocent, he had been exposing himself to young girls in the area for quite some time (which is why he was the main suspect), and if nothing else, that kind of behaviour should have put him behind bars anyway. He was convicted by a 10-2 majority, so clearly there was some doubt (Hanratty was unanimous) despite his poor defence, and ironic that the incompetent idiot defending him become Home Secretary.

      But this case, and the IRA cases were 35 years ago, things like this do not happen now. There are strict procedures in place, and even very strong cases can be thrown out on a minor technicality. Kiszko was unlucky in respect that he was a sexual offender, a sexual predator who harboured sexual feelings for young children, and when a young girl was stabbed and assaulted on his usual flashing ground, it is no surprise that the police picked him up and fancied him for it. He did confess, but the police seemed to have continued with this long after it was clear he didn’t kill the girl, but he was far from innocent. His defence team were also appalling, but he was released on appeal.

      I do believe that being sentenced to execution is not something that should be taken lightly. These people should have fast tracked appeals, and a proper defence team and defence reviews. I am no legal expert, but I am fairly sure that having a couple of appeals would ensure no innocents are hanged, or even no one innocent of the murder.

      For every miscarriage of justice, there are ten examples of murderers who upon their release, kill again. Weighing up an innocent man being deprived of part of their life, or an innocent person being permanently deprived of their lives, I know which I’d prefer.

      An interesting scenario: if SK had in fact been hanged and later found to be innocent, would the police who suppressed defence evidence be liable to be hanged themselves?

      It is unlikely he would have been hung. The sperm evidence, his ankle injury, his alibi and several other things alone would have gotten him off. I think that the police should have some leeway in this sort of case, an 11 year old girl was murdered, and you can’t blame them for trying to keep this paedophile off the streets, but by framing him, knowing he was innocent, they let the actual murder walk free. They should certainly have been convicted of perverting the course of justice, but even if he has been hanged, they could never really be convicted of murder.

      It is also worth nothing, that although he did not kill the girl, the loner with serious mental issues and sexual deviant was only several steps behind Ronald Castree on the deviant scale. Flashing invariably leads to other behaviour, assault, then rape and then murder. I am not saying that the police were right, but when you have a man you believe to be guilty of murderering an eleven year old girl, but can’t prove it, what do you do?

  7. Charlie – picking up some of your other points. About the refuges for women, obviously the women who attended them were aware of them, or else they would not be there, but I am still concerned that many disadvantaged women do not know that help is apparently so easy to find. You say that the only relevant fact is that the victim is dead, but in that case maybe we should be hanging careless/drunken drivers too – there surely is some sort of moral continuum between the callous killers whom we both detest and those who have killed but with some extenuating circumstance. As you say, cultural differences are not an excuse for murder, but they may be a cause for mitigation. By the way, one area I do wish for MORE not less stringent punishment for murderers is honour killings, and I am disgusted by the misguided past attempts of judges trying to be PC and multicultural; I believe this is now changing, and such coldly and cowardly misogynist crimes should be stamped out by whatever means necessary.

    • Charlie – picking up some of your other points. About the refuges for women, obviously the women who attended them were aware of them, or else they would not be there, but I am still concerned that many disadvantaged women do not know that help is apparently so easy to find…

      I am sure that most women are, and even those that are not would surely mention it to a friend, or family member who is. I am sorry, but I just don’t think that plunging a knife into a sleeping husband, or poisoning him, is in anyway excused by the fact that he was abusive. There are laws to protect people, claiming ignorance and then committing murder to me just looks like getting away with murder.

      Would you still think it OK if it were a man who was abused for years, and then killed his partner whilst she slept?

      You say that the only relevant fact is that the victim is dead, but in that case maybe we should be hanging careless/drunken drivers too

      Admittedly this is a tricky area, but it isn’t premeditated murder and so not, in my view, a capital offence. That said, sentences should be far harsher for these kinds of crimes.

      there surely is some sort of moral continuum between the callous killers whom we both detest and those who have killed but with some extenuating circumstance.

      I do agree that there are extenuating circumstances, but premeditated murder is still murder. I think it should be up to a jury to decide, and another reason for us to have degrees of murder, callous killers should not be treated the same as say a father that kills the man who raped/murdered his child.

      By the way, one area I do wish for MORE not less stringent punishment for murderers is honour killings, and I am disgusted by the misguided past attempts of judges trying to be PC and multicultural; I believe this is now changing, and such coldly and cowardly misogynist crimes should be stamped out by whatever means necessary.

      Agreed. Anyone who can do that sort of thing to their own daughter, has no place in society.

  8. sorry, me again! I have just searched Google for “does murder rate rise after abolition” and got some interesting but conflicting results. My personal hunch about the absence of a UK soar after suspension of the DP in 1965 was confirmed by a BBC report on the permanent abolition of the DP for murder in 1969, where Parliament was told that the yearly rates were “remarkably stable” despite the end of the DP. The USA, which is the only Western country to still use the DP, is a curious and complex case: one study showed that states which do not use the DP have consistently lower, not higher, murder rates than those which do use it; on the other hand, a different study did show some negative correlation between murder rates and executions during the mid 1970s, when executions virtually stopped because of the Supreme Court ruling. Finally, a study of Canada showed that abolition has not led to an increase in murders. Your comment about violence not leading to violence: some studies have in fact shown this “brutalization” effect, though obviously we can argue till the cows come home about how important it is.

    • My personal hunch about the absence of a UK soar after suspension of the DP in 1965 was confirmed by a BBC report on the permanent abolition of the DP for murder in 1969, where Parliament was told that the yearly rates were “remarkably stable” despite the end of the DP.

      I’m sure they did, but it isn’t true. There own statistics show that in 1965 the murder rate was 6.8 murders per million, in 1970 it was 8.1 murders per million. That works out at about 100 murders a year more than before the death penalty and the first time the murder rate rose since Victorian times. The murder rate DID increase, at least according to the Governments own statistics.

      That’s a rise of 1.3, it went up by 0.4 after WWII and the Great Depression (and then down again by 1.6) and up by 0.2 after WWI. I’m no statistical expert, but I’d say a rise of 1.3 (20%) was statistically significant. Your guess is as good as mine as to why Parliament was told the rates were ‘remarkably stable’, perhaps they just hoped they’d settle down. But just to once again clarify this:

      In 1960 there were approximately 332 murders.

      In 1965 there were approximately 360 murders.

      In 1970 there were approximately 453 murders.

      In 1975 there were approximately 576 murders (almost exactly 150 more murders than 1960, 75% higher).

      In 1980 there were approximately 704 murders, more than double 1960.

      In 1997 there were approximately 832 murders.

      In 2007 there were approximately 1218 murders.

      It seems that either the Government at the time didn’t want the expense of reintroducing it or admitting that they’d made a mistake right before an election year.

      The USA, which is the only Western country to still use the DP, is a curious and complex case: one study showed that states which do not use the DP have consistently lower, not higher, murder rates than those which do use it; on the other hand, a different study did show some negative correlation between murder rates and executions during the mid 1970s, when executions virtually stopped because of the Supreme Court ruling.

      Agreed the US is a tricky example, no doubt due to its different laws in different states, including gun laws, gang culture etc. Better examples are Canada and Australia, both of which have abolished the death penalty.

      Finally, a study of Canada showed that abolition has not led to an increase in murders.

      I am not really sure why you’d say that. The death penalty was abolished effectively in Canada in 1963 (after the Government stated that it would not execute anyone), a moratorium in 1967, before final abolition in 1976. The last man hanged was in 1962.

      In 1961 the murder rate stood at about 13 murders per million people (almost double the UK’s figure at the time), by 1969 it stood at 18 murders per million, reaching a peak in about 1975 of about 31 murders per million. But I am sure that the study you mentioned took the abolition start date from 1976, at which point the murder rate declines! A little creative accounting, all death sentences were commuted from 1963 until the moratorium in 67. Despite the decline, the murder rate has never reach the pre-abolition low, its lowest being about 18 murder per million.

      As you can see in both cases, Britain and Canada, there was an immediate rise in murders after the end of capital punishment in both cases. It is interesting that in Canada there was a decline, albeit 15 years after the abolition, then a rise followed by a pretty consistent decline. The same hasn’t happened in Britain.

      In Australia the murder rate stood at 13 per million in 1967, when it was effectively abolished, by 1970 it had risen to about 18 murder per million, and it rose steadily until about 1988 when it hit a high of 24 murders per million. It did decline after that and stands at about 12 murders per million today. Most studies citing Australia probably take 1984 as the abolition date, as that is when the last state removed it, although no one has been executed since 1967.

      It is worth noting that in both cases of Australia and Britain (I couldn’t find any pre-1961 information for Canada) there is a steady decline in the homicide rate right up until the death penalty is removed, then it rises sharply.

      As far as the studies go, I have read many of them and the only consistency I have found is that they are all biased. The pro capital punishment ones, and anti capital punishment studies alike seem to cherry pick their information, miss out bits that do not make sense or follow their theory and generally just bear out the authors views.

      But the stats don’t lie, nor does simple logic. A dead murderer does not kill again. In all honesty, and even though I do believe it is, it doesn’t matter to me whether it is a deterrent or not,  it is a suitable punishment for the most heinous of crimes. Even if it does not give the knife carrying, gun toting miscreants of our society pause for thought, it certainly gives the rest of society peace of mind.

      One day Ian Huntley will be released, undoubtedly with a new identity, and having spent the best part of his life behind bars, I don’t think that fear of prison will prevent him from re-offending. One day someone else will pay for society’s inability to deal with people like Huntley, and as always they will be the most innocent members of society.

      Your comment about violence not leading to violence: some studies have in fact shown this “brutalization” effect, though obviously we can argue till the cows come home about how important it is.

      The brutalization effect is a myth, based on a small study in New York, it strikes me as the same kind of theory as that of more murders around a full moon, or more murders in winter than in summer etc. If it were true, there would have been a large decrease in murders in every state in the world once the death penalty was abolished, yet this has never happened, anywhere in the Western world.

      Besides, most people are unaware of executions, other than the victims family or the perpetrators family other than in high profile cases, so it is unlikely to spark a killing spree.

      Properly administered punishments aren’t really seen as violence anyway (did you really see smacking or getting the cane as violence?), certainly not in the same vein as getting beaten up by a peer.

      I also don’t really see capital punishment as violence, it is justice.

  9. Charlie – again lots of points here. The UK statistics you quote are where we came in – they do not show a sudden surge after abolition but a gradual increase before and after abolition; abolition was a once-only event so it cannot account for these changes. Kiszko and Evans may not have been angels, but the point is that they did not commit the murders they were charged with; and I don’t know why you say that SK would not have been hanged – he would have been if the DP had been around, since the exonerating evidence came years after his conviction. Ian Huntley – I hope he is never released, no argument there, but his attempted sucides illustrate what are two misconceptions on the part of DP deterrence advocates: that murderers value saving their skins over all else, and that they are rational. Many murders are emotionally motivated, often occurring within families, and many murderers take or try to take their own lives when faced with the prospect of years behind bars. This is what makes me suspect any statistics (and there are very few if any, anyway) which show any link between murder and the DP: the case for it assumes far too much awareness of the issue on the part of potential murderers. You think that the DP, apart from any deterrent effect, makes society feel safer. How do you know? (Even I’m not old enough to have been really aware of whether we felt safe in the late 1950s). In fact if the DP came back to Britain, by some administrative sleight-of hand, it would be enormously disruptive and divisive, with constant media circuses about death row inmates, and probably rioting on the great day itself (especially if the verdict was at all doubtful and/or if the condemned man or woman was black or in some other minority group); maybe more deaths would be the result.

    • Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      In fact if the DP came back to Britain, by some administrative sleight-of hand, it would be enormously disruptive and divisive, with constant media circuses about death row inmates, and probably rioting on the great day itself (especially if the verdict was at all doubtful and/or if the condemned man or woman was black or in some other minority group); maybe more deaths would be the result.

      It is an enormously complex and emotive issue and there will always be those that will demonstrate about it, as they do in the US, even if it were to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is both a worthwhile punishment and deterrent. However I don’t believe that it should be used as an argument against capital punishment.

      There always seems to be a minority pressure group, who are extremely vocal, for every cause, and they nearly always seem to be get their own way, regardless of public opinion. Indeed this was how the Death Penalty came to be abolished in the first place.

      Personally I would not wish to see the Death Penalty re-instituted without a referendum. That way it would be clearly the will of the people, and democratic, moreover those pressure groups would not have a leg to stand on. We should never allow a minority’s morals or principles dictate what is good for everyone, we live in a democracy and by and large, British people are not fools, nor monsters.

      The UK statistics you quote are where we came in – they do not show a sudden surge after abolition but a gradual increase before and after abolition; abolition was a once-only event so it cannot account for these changes.

      Apart from slight increases after WWI and WWII, there are no increase whatsoever until 1965, the year of the abolition/moratorium. There is certainly no increase before abolition, gradual or otherwise, as can be seen on the graph. In 1950 the homicide rate stood at 7.9, in 1955 it was 6.3, in 1960 it was 6.2 and in 1965 it was 6.8. Again the first increase was in 1965.

      It may well have been a one off event, but it certainly had an impact in Britain, in Australia and in Canada. The dates may be different but removing the death penalty each time resulted in a rise in murders for the first time (in Australia and Britain at least) for decades. I can’t think of anything else that happened in Canada in 1962, Britain in 1965 and Australia in 1967 that would account for the rise and it is far too obvious to be mere coincidence and in Britain at least, that rise has continued apace.

      Kiszko and Evans may not have been angels, but the point is that they did not commit the murders they were charged with; and I don’t know why you say that SK would not have been hanged – he would have been if the DP had been around, since the exonerating evidence came years after his conviction.

      But Kiszko was cleared on his first appeal, when the evidence against him was shown up to be shambolic. I am not too sure on the legal issues previously (some murderers seem to have been hanged months after their conviction!), but I think that a convicted murderer should have the right of at least one appeal before their execution, preferably three. Keeping them incarcerated for 20+ years would have cost millions so I don’t see why we should spare any expense in allowing those on death row to clear their name.

      Again, if there is any doubt they could have their sentence reduced to second, or third degree murder, effectively taking them off death row until they clear their name. But I wouldn’t want a system like the US, whereby inmates can be on death row for decades.

      Ian Huntley – I hope he is never released, no argument there, but his attempted sucides illustrate what are two misconceptions on the part of DP deterrence advocates: that murderers value saving their skins over all else, and that they are rational.

      It would be interesting to see how well the anti-DP protests fare when someone like him is hung. Huntley is a lying manipulative individual, in neither cases was he seriously ill, taking an overdose whilst on suicide watch is just a sure fire way to get into the infirmary or hospital. He had no intention of succeeding. Do you really think that if seven prison officers went into Huntley’s cell with a stool and a noose he wouldn’t put up a fight? He does value his life, he knows that one day he will get out, he is just searching for sympathy and pity.

      Harold Shipman and Fred West are examples of those that intend to commit suicide, they hang themselves. Both selfish controlling individuals that exercised their last vestige of power by taking their own life, thus avoiding justice. But do you really think that they too, had they been sentenced to death, would not have appealed or fought tooth and claw against the death penalty?

      Must as I may dislike it used that way, the death penalty also allows a final bargaining tool against these sorts of people, a final confession and details of where the bodies are buried. Ian Brady for example initially refused to admit to just how many he’d killed, nor where they were buried. I am sure that he would have been far more helpful with a noose hanging over his head.

    • Hi Peter,

      Many murders are emotionally motivated, often occurring within families, and many murderers take or try to take their own lives when faced with the prospect of years behind bars.

      This is true but it is impossible to make a comparison as we do not currently have capital punishment, and therefore cannot know what effect that would have. One thing is for sure, these kinds of murders, indeed any kinds of murders, are far more prevalent than they were pre-1965.

      This is what makes me suspect any statistics (and there are very few if any, anyway) which show any link between murder and the DP: the case for it assumes far too much awareness of the issue on the part of potential murderers.

      Some murders are committed in the heat of the moment, but very few. Most, if not the overwhelming majority, are planned. After all, the murderer invariably needs a weapon. Which means finding one, having the forethought to carry it, or have it on hand etc. Despite what is often claimed in familial murders, most are premeditated. With the murderer either planning it in their heads for months, or even acting it out when alone. Perhaps the thought of hanging for it won’t deter them, perhaps they think they won’t get caught, I am not saying that everyone will be deterred, but I do know that in certain circumstance it certainly will.

      For example, the maximum sentence for armed robbery is life in prison, the maximum sentence for murder is also life imprisonment. You don’t have to be a criminal mastermind to understand that in prison terms, there is no difference, ergo a cornered armed robber would not think twice about blasting away a police officer or lone witness. A case in point being that of Gurmail Singh; armed robbery (which is just robbery with a weapon) or murder. It didn’t matter both carry the same sentence so the youths did not think twice about hitting Singh with a sledgehammer, live or die, it really didn’t matter. However had one too many hits meant the gallows, I find it hard to believe that at least one of them would not have thought twice.

      Abducting and raping a child carries a minimum sentence of eight years, a life sentence is a minimum of 14 years, again to a paedophile like Huntley, and others, it isn’t that much of a gap. Murdering the child means no witness, and no body means no crime. It a bit more of stretch from eight years, to dead. Roy Whiting (the man who killed Sara Payne) for example kidnapped and raped his first victim, he was caught, and so killed his second – Sara Payne.

      You think that the DP, apart from any deterrent effect, makes society feel safer. How do you know?

      I don’t think people will feel measurably safer, that is kind of like saying, ‘Do you remember when we paid less tax, didn’t you feel like you had more money?’ I don’t realistically believe that anyone will wake up the morning after the death penalty is re-instituted and feel any safer, however they will be safer. Dead murderers do not re-offend.

      …with constant media circuses about death row inmates, and probably rioting on the great day itself (especially if the verdict was at all doubtful and/or if the condemned man or woman was black or in some other minority group); maybe more deaths would be the result.

      Agreed. Hanratty has demonstrated that, as well as others of the same period. There are those who will pursue their viewpoint regardless of the facts, and there are always champions looking for a cause. It is also a good point about minorities, the recent honour killing in the US, where prosecutors dropped the death penalty so:

      “[there should be] no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim for racial, political, religious or cultural beliefs.”

      Demonstrates that it is a very real possibility. I am sure that we would hear something similar each time a minority prisoner faced the death penalty, but I don’t think that is a reason not to have the death penalty, on the contrary I think it all the more reason we should.

  10. Charlie – first, can you tell me where you got the UK statistics graph from? Canada – you are maybe changing the goalposts by making the base-year for comparison the early year rather than the year of abolition, since any deterrent effect would involve potential murderers knowing what the government had said about discontinuing executions – and this is even less likely than their knowing about formal abolition when it came. Australia – I get the impression from the web search that for most of the states there was no increase in murder rates after abolition, so maybe we are looking at different data. The Shipman and West cases – they sort of contradict your scepticism about Huntley’s suicide attempts and I am not sure what the relevance is of what you say: if they had faced the death penalty they would no doubt have killed themselves anwyay. I don’t think any of this disproves my point about frequent suicides. I am not disputing that many if not most murders are premeditated (otherwise I believe they count as manslaughter not murder), but they are often emotion-generated (whether this emotion is lust, anger, revenge, fear or desperation) rather than being a means to an end – as in the case of murder in the course of robbery or some other pecuniary-related crime. Even in the latter cases, murder is often committed by people who are on drugs or alcohol – this does not excuse the murderer in any way, but it does mean that such murderers are not going to logically weigh up the consequences (including execution) of their actions.

    • Hi Peter.

      Charlie – first, can you tell me where you got the UK statistics graph from?

      It’s just a graph generated using the five yearly murder rate figures, I created it myself from the information in this link.

      Canada – you are maybe changing the goalposts by making the base-year for comparison the early year rather than the year of abolition, since any deterrent effect would involve potential murderers knowing what the government had said about discontinuing executions – and this is even less likely than their knowing about formal abolition when it came.

      Quite right, I couldn’t find any information pre-1961 to make a wider comparison but you’ll note the increase sky rockets around 1967, the year of the moratorium, rather than 1963, the year the Government promised not to execute anyone. There could well have been other spikes before 1961, but going from the information on the Canadian Government statistics page, 31 murders per million seems to be the highest ever and that came right after abolition (or at the end of the spike following abolition). The murder rate was fairly stable from 1961-66, it can’t be coincidence that in Britain, Australia and Canada, the largest rise in murder rates comes right after the abolition of the death penalty.

      Australia – I get the impression from the web search that for most of the states there was no increase in murder rates after abolition

      The problem with web searches (as I have found myself many times) is that any idiot can set up a website and spout data and graphs (as I did!), without actually having to prove anything or provide links (something which I initially forgot to do).

      All the statistics I used were from official Government statistics, the Australian information coming from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (their equivalent of the ONS). I  haven’t edited the data in anyway, I just recounted it.

      The Shipman and West cases – they sort of contradict your scepticism about Huntley’s suicide attempts and I am not sure what the relevance is of what you say: if they had faced the death penalty they would no doubt have killed themselves anwyay.

      I think you’re assuming that people who are suicidal don’t mind being killed, this isn’t the case. Had either Shipman or West been sentenced to death, I am sure both would have appealed, and probably still tried to kill themselves anyway. I am not saying that the death penalty would definitely have been a deterrent to either man anyway (both were pretty sure of never being caught, and almost weren’t), but saying that it wouldn’t have been a deterrent because neither man valued their own life is wrong, their lives only lost its value when they were caught and had lost everything else. They could never imagine that situation before being caught, but they of all people could imagine well being dead.

      Shipman and West were different people to Huntley, pills are not an effective means of suicide, especially not in prison.

      …but it does mean that such murderers are not going to logically weigh up the consequences (including execution) of their actions.

      Right, but we’d expect a drug addled mugger or would be murderer to be able to weigh up the pro and cons of attacking a rugby player or a lone woman? Yet you’re saying that they wouldn’t be able to weigh up the consequences of murder? I can see where you’re coming from, but even junkies pick house they think are empty, or that will contain expensive items. I don’t think their cognitive ability is as impaired as you think. I am sure they do weigh it up, and I am sure that even a junkie would give it more thought if it meant death rather than a stint in prison.

      …but they are often emotion-generated (whether this emotion is lust, anger, revenge, fear or desperation) rather than being a means to an end

      But that doesn’t really change anything, few murders are committed in the heat of the moment, emotions change and people calm down, those that continue on to murder do so because they have nothing to lose. A man may think twice about revenge if he thought that he too would end up dead. A woman would think twice about poisoning her cheating husband if she thought she may hang for it. Not all murderers will be dissuaded, obviously, but many will likely seek another option rather than risk death.

      It is an often used argument that murders are committed in the heat of the moment, therefore the death penalty is not a deterrent, but it isn’t true. Take the case of murdered Headmaster Philip Lawrence. His killer, Learco Chindamo, admittedly didn’t intend to kill Lawrence and it was a spur of the moment thing. However he had taken that knife to stab someone from a rival gang, he did intend to use it, and when Lawrence got in the way, he stabbed him instead. Had we had the death penalty then, would Learco Chindamo have still taken the knife? Would he still have pulled it out? Who knows, but I am fairly sure that the thought of possibly ending up killing someone would have weighed more heavily on his conscience had his own life been hanging in the balance.

  11. Charlie – the Kiszko case: I am not sure what you mean. His first appeal was thrown out in 1978, when he had already served several years, and he served 16 years before being released. Therefore he would have been executed before his innocence was shown.

    • Sorry Peter, I meant his first real appeal. The first appeal in 78 was thrown out, probably without having been looked at, but he had only served two years and clearly his defence team was no better.

      The first time the case was re-examined in the Appeal Court was in 1992, and that was when his conviction was overturned.

      I am not sure what his friends or family were doing in those 14 years, but even a man dragged off the street should have been able to get him off.

      As I said however, this would not be possible with a fast tracked appeal system, and I would expect the case to be re-examined at least once before a man is executed.

      Besides, had he been on death row, I am sure there would have been many groups falling over themselves to get the case re-opened.

  12. phew – I will put off looking again at the Aussie/Canuck stats for a bit. The UK stats – I think we dispute their interpretation partly because these are five-year mileposts and thus snapshots of the murder (actually homicide) rates at quite far-apart intervals. Thus you interpret the increase from 1960 to 1965 as occurring in the last year (when hanging was suspended) whereas I initially read the graph as a gradual increase starting well before this event. I don’t now think either view is justified – what we need is year-by-year figures for 1965 and the years soon after it.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thus you interpret the increase from 1960 to 1965 as occurring in the last year (when hanging was suspended) whereas I initially read the graph as a gradual increase starting well before this event.

      My original point was that the murder rate was decreasing consistently from about 1900 (and from what I understand well before) right up until sometime between 1961 and 1965, not well before the abolition, but just before it became clear the abolition was going to happen. 

      You did mention earlier that the abolition (or moratorium but it was effectively the abolition) happened in 1965, and therefore the murder rate wouldn’t have increased in exactly that year, it would have been more gradual, but I think this view fails to take into account the abolitionists first victory, the Homicide Act 1957. This effectively made murder a capital punishment in only a few instances. Personally, I think that accounts for the 0.5 rise in the murder rate from 1961-65. By this time the fact that murder no longer meant hanging had seeped into the nations psyche.

      At the earliest this rise began in 1961, which isn’t exactly well before, or 1965 at the latest, either way, as I said before the rise began when the abolition was clearly on the cards, sometime in between 1961 and the passing of the Abolition of the Death Penalty Act 1965.

      The fact that the rise was slight, relatively speaking, in 1965 shows that it had not fully sunken in, but by 1970 the rise almost three times larger.

      I can’t find any year by year stats, but I will keep looking, however what difference would it make to your argument if say, the rise began in 1965, or in 1961?

  13. Charlie – well to me it does make a difference as – to say it again – I think you have too high an opinion of the intellectual awareness of most potential murderers. I could just about believe in a deterrent effect if the murder rate rose in 1965 and 1966, say, but 1960 – no. The 1957 Act did of course weaken the DP and was an attempt to distinguish between professional criminals and the more emotive murderers (I think the Ruth Ellis case had alienated a lot of people, as well as miscarriages of justice like Evans); it is rightly ridiculed for making shooting a capital offence but stabbing not a capital offence, but one can see what the intention was. For a link between this Act and the murder rate one would have to assume that murderers knew of the complicated features of the Act; in addition to which, the type of murderer who would be most aware of the risk of execution – namely, the gangster or professional robber – would in fact still be subject to the DP. I would have thought that the US is a better argument for you than the UK, as there did seem to be an increase in murders in the mid-1970s. Indulging in some amateur sociology, what I have learnt from this exchange is that societies are very different: Britain is much less violent than the US, and the redneck parts of the latter are more violent than the rest of the country like New England. The murder rate is determined by many different factors which reflect these social differences, whereas the DP is one very specific and therefore limited factor in this rate. I think the fact that societies/US states with high murder rates are also those with lots of executions proves this: the DP cannot be the determining difference (or if it is, it must have a perverse effect of encouraging murder). However, if we look at changes over time in societies which have dropped the DP, the picture could be different, though at present I am agnostic about this for the three Commonwealth countries we’ve discussed. But since the US is violent, and since also Americans love to talk about their “constitootion” (we Brits don’t even have one) I am wondering that the Supreme Court decision outlawing the DP might have had quite an impact – even on the fairly uneducated opportunist criminals and gang members who commit many of the murders.

    • Hi Peter.

      You said:

      The murder rate is determined by many different factors which reflect these social differences, whereas the DP is one very specific and therefore limited factor in this rate. I think the fact that societies/US states with high murder rates are also those with lots of executions proves this: the DP cannot be the determining difference (or if it is, it must have a perverse effect of encouraging murder).

      But you’re missing your own point, the UK is about the same size as New England, so if you believe that the DP can have an effect on individual states, why not Britain?

      I think you have too high an opinion of the intellectual awareness of most potential murderers.

      And I think that you are over intellectualising a simple concept. A criminal, gangster or other potential murderer does not need to know the technical intricacies of the Act, they’d just need to see the headline – murder no longer means certain hanging.

      Regardless of how the Act works, or whom it is designed to stop from being hung, it means a loophole to the death penalty, an escape clause that a lawyer can exploit. There was from that point, quite literally, a method of getting away with murder.

      Add to that things like the James Hanratty case, and I am sure that many would-be killers had started to assume that they’d never be hanged, as no matter what, a campaign would be started to get them off the death penalty and the Government/Home Office would be under unbelievable pressure to take hanging off the table (as with Hanratty).

      I am wondering that the Supreme Court decision outlawing the DP might have had quite an impact – even on the fairly uneducated opportunist criminals and gang members who commit many of the murders.

      But as you said yourself, it did.

      In 1972, the murder rate stood at 90 murders per million, in the four years the death penalty was stopped, the murder rate rose to 94, 98 and then 96 in 1975, before dropping to 88 murder per million when the DP was resumed. As in every instance I can find where the death penalty was abolished, the murder rate increased almost instantly, the 1974 mark was the highest murder rate ever in the US.

      Once the DP was resumed the murder rate dropped dramatically and remained pretty stable until 1979.

      You also said that US states with the death penalty tend to have high murder rates, but that isn’t what I have found. The US State with the highest murder rate is the District of Columbia, with around 350 murders per million. It hasn’t had the DP for 30 years. Next is Louisiana (has DP but averages less than 1 execution a year since 1976) with 120, Maryland with 94 (has DP but averages 1 execution every six years since 1976, New Mexico with 89 (has DP technically but has only executed 1 person in 34 years) and Mississippi with 78 murder per million (Again has DP but executes only 1 person every 3 years).

      Contrast that will the likes of Texas who execute an average of about 13 killers a year, they have a murder rate of 61, Virginia (about 3 a year) murder rate of 51, Oklahoma (about 3 a year) has a murder rate of about 53. Alaska, New York, New Jersey and Michigan don’t have the DP but have a murder rate around the same as Virginia and Texas.

      This seems to show, to me at least, that having the death penalty isn’t enough, it has to be seen to be used in order to keep the murder rate in check. Half hearted measures don’t work,  something which I think the Homicide Act 1957 demonstrated in Britain.

  14. Charlie – first of all, can I just ask you for the source of the US figures? The statement I made about correlation between low murder rates and absence of DP is probably an exaggeration – I got it from a website, which you would probably dispute. I think I did not make myself clear about “wondering about the Supreme Court…” – I was actually meaning that I thought this decision did make an impact, simply judging from the figures I’ve seen. You say New England is the same size as England – not sure this is true, or if true relevant (do you mean population or what?) Of course, if abolition did affect murder rates in the US it COULD affect it in Britain – the question is, did it? (I have never claimed that execution is never a deterrent – I am sure it can be, and the questions are: how powerfully and at what cost?) When you refer to the “headline” about murder not necessarily entailing execution I assume you have not got a record of an actual headline like this – or have you? If you don’t, my point remains that most potential murderers are not constantly monitoring the state of DP legislation or – even less – the statistics regarding recent executions! You are way ahead of me in your research on this topic, but I remember seeing a few days ago a reference to the last murderers to be executed in England – this was in 1964 (when I was doing A Levels and blissfully unaware of such matters); this was a double execution which did show that the DP was still being used – maybe not that often, but it was still active. Going back a bit in your comments, your example of the woman killing her cheating husband – this is an interesting example of a type of murder which is premeditated and yet emotive rather than gain-related. Can I use it to get you to clarify what you really think about the type of murderer who should be executed? You seemed to say at the outset that all murderers should die, but your later mention of American distinctions between Murder 1 and Murder 2 suggest that in fact you do not think this. Sorry if I have forgotten things you have already said.

    • Hi Peter, my apologies I thought I had included the links. The US data can be found here. The other information can be found here. Clicking on the chart gives the statistics year by year. Again both are official US Government statistics.

      You say New England is the same size as England – not sure this is true, or if true relevant (do you mean population or what?)

      I meant in area, New England is something like 72,000 sq miles, the UK 94,000 sq miles. It is difficult comparing the US to the UK, but Britain is about the same size as most US states.

      Of course, if abolition did affect murder rates in the US it COULD affect it in Britain – the question is, did it?

      I believe so.

      When you refer to the “headline” about murder not necessarily entailing execution I assume you have not got a record of an actual headline like this – or have you?

      Unfortunately not, but it is a fair assumption, particularly as the death penalty was far more popular (if that is the right word) then, and newspapers haven’t really changed all that much in terms of headlines.

      If you don’t, my point remains that most potential murderers are not constantly monitoring the state of DP legislation or – even less – the statistics regarding recent executions!

      Then how do you explain the rise in almost every Western nation, any time there is any kind of moratorium or abolition? Coincidences? You’re probably thinking that today, in the information age, people are much better informed and much more likely to find out about such things. But back then there was only the newspaper, television (but still quite rare) and radio. If it were mentioned, it was heard about. I didn’t have to be an expert in nuclear technology or diplomacy to understand the implications of the agreements signed between Russia and the US recently, it was well explained in the press for even the dimmest of people to understand.

      I am sure that in 1957 it was well documented and discussed, besides, apart from lawyers and police, few people know the law better than criminals. Another example is the Human Rights Act, you don’t need to understand or be able to quote it to know that it can be used in myriad legal defences. Even immigrants seem to be more than clued up about it, even if they do not speak English.

      …the last murderers to be executed in England – this was in 1964

      Yes, but that was a robbery homicide and therefore one of the few capital crimes left under the Act, and a classic example of justice being swift, convicted in July 1964, dead by mid-August 1964. I think if one of them (I forget which) hadn’t admitted stealing the watch, they may have avoided the death penalty. But they were both young, and stupid.

      Can I use it to get you to clarify what you really think about the type of murderer who should be executed? You seemed to say at the outset that all murderers should die

      If I had my way, all of them. But I’d leave that up to a jury to decide. Personally I’d say anything pre-meditated, or through persistent violent action, for example if a man gets into a fight in a pub and with one punch floors his assailant and kills him. That shouldn’t, in my view, lead to the gallows. However if he’d then run over and began stamping on his head, it should.

      It really depends on the circumstances and it is impossible to say off hand what should and should not carry the death penalty, which is part of the reason why I do agree with having some form of degrees of murder.

      Self defence goes without saying, but I’d like to see ‘self defence’ extended to include self defence against intentions (people who you assume mean you harm) and ensure that people are better protected when they are forced to defend themselves. I don’t view killing to defend yourself,  your family or your property as murder.

      Also accidents happen and I don’t think it fair that someone who accidentally kills someone (and I don’t mean ‘I was aiming for their arm’) should hang for it. But again it is a case of proving it.

  15. Pingback: Charlie’s Space: Why is Charlie so much more manly and smarter than us? « The Muslim Question 2

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  17. Sydney Silverman was my great uncle – so leave hime alone!
    There are many reasons for the increase in the murder rate – hanging seemed to be a minor deterrent. It is possible to correlate almost any two events with each other. I personally think that the increased murder rate is due to global warming – or maybe the advent of heavy metal music.

    Neville Silverman

      • Thanks, interesting if an overly simplistic piece. If only one could explain why it is humane to the victims killed by murderers who are released and then went on to kill again.

    • Global warming didn’t start till the 80s and heavy metal music the 70s, but you are missing the point, they are not two random events, they are inextricably related and will always correlate! It is ironic, those that say the death penalty should be abolished say that it doesn’t work, it has no effect and doesn’t decrease the murder rate. When the opposite is found to be the case, then they cry that it must be for some other reason!

      You great uncle believed that even hanging one innocent man invalidates capital punishment. I believe the contrary, when one released murderer kills another innocent person, it invalidates the abolition.

    • Your great uncle was all for hanging when he sat as WJC representative at the Belsen trial listening to fellow WJC member “Ada Bimko” lie under oath in order to have Germans hanged.

      Was he not….

  18. Excellent post. I came across it by accident when researching my own post on the subject of the death penalty. I have met opposition from one of my readers who thinks it will solve nothing and make things worse. We should never have gotten rid of capitol punishment, if we hadn’t, the country would be a far safer place today.

  19. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18900384

    The number of murders and killings in England and Wales has fallen to the lowest level in nearly 30 years, Office for National Statistics figures show.

    What is the source for your graph?

    Trying to track the murder rate for the UK as a whole is a bad idea anyway. It does not actually get tracked nationally, it’s a England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland thing.

    Speaking of Scotland and Northern Ireland…. Maybe the destruction of communities all over the country the minor matter of a “civil war by another other name” drove the murder rate up? I notice how you fixate on the abolition of the death penalty in 1965 but ignore 40 years of military deployment in our own country from 1969. This is the danger of pretending there is such a thing as a “UK” murder rate.

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