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Derek Bentley

Picture of Derek Bentley

Date of Birth: 06/30/1933

Age: 19

Citizenship: United Kingdom

Judicial error

Derek William Bentley was born on June 30 1933. He had a very difficult childhood. In April 1938, he fell out of the truck and went 4.5 meters, hitting his head on the pavement, and earned epilepsy. During World War II, a bomb exploded near his home, leaving Bentley serious head injury and concussion.

He entered the school Norbury (Norbury Secondary modern school) in 1944, after a failed eleven-plus exam qualifying. In March 1948, he and another man were arrested for theft. In September of the same year he was sentenced to 3 years of stay in a correctional school Kingswood (Kingswood approved school) for juvenile offenders located near Bristol (Bristol). This institution was established that his mental development stopped at around 11 years. In December 1948 Bentley scored an IQ test, 55 points, and in 1952 - 77 points (less than 70 points are often classified as mental retardation). At the time of his arrest in early November 1952, Derek did not know how to read and write.

Bentley released from reform school July 28th 1950, and the next six months he lived as a hermit. In March 1951, Derek found a job in the company on the Transport of furniture, but a year later injured his back - and left his job in March 1952. After that Bentley first settled dustman corporation `Croydon`, but two months later he was demoted to janitor ulits.Esche two months later, he was fired because he could not cope with the work.

February 11, 1952 Bentley was found unfit to carry military service because of low IQ and EEG readings. One of the electroencephalogram was made in November 1949, and the other - on 9 February 1950. Both confirmed that Derek was epileptic.

On the night of November 2, 1952 Christopher Craig and Bentley tried to enter the warehouse confectionary manufacturers and wholesalers `Barlow & Parker` at Tamworth Road, Croydon (Tamworth Road, Croydon, England). 21:15 In the nine-year old girl from the house across the road saw Chris and Derek climb over the gate and the drain pipe crawling on the roof of a warehouse. She told all parents; father went to the nearest phone booth and call the police.

When arrived, the police, one of the officers, Frederick Fairfax (Frederick Fairfax), climbed up on the drain pipe and grabbed Bentley. He broke away and, as stated in the testimony of most of the witnesses-policemen shouted Craig: `Let`s have it, Chris` (English `Let him have it, Chris`.!)!. And Craig and Bentley both denied that he had said these words.

Christopher, armed with a revolver, fired - and was Fairfax`s shoulder, which in this case could still delay the Bentley. Obviously, Derek was arrested and told that his friend has a lot of ammunition for his gun `Colt New Service` .455 caliber, who drank half of the barrel so that it fit within the pocket.

When help arrived, the capture team was sent to the roof. First climbed Police Constable Sidney Miles (Sidney Miles), which was immediately shot in the head. Having exhausted all their ammunition and once cornered, Craig jumped to a 9-meter roof, broke his back and his left hand on the landing at the greenhouse. He was arrested.

Craig escaped the death penalty because he was 18 years old at the time of the murder. The trial at the Old Bailey (Old Bailey), which lasted from 9 th to 11 th December 1952, headed by the Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Goddard (Lord Goddard). The best protection Bentley was the fact that he was under arrest, when Miles was killed. However, he reportedly said the phrase `Let`s have it, Chris! `Was perceived as a call to murder and Derek went accomplice.

The prosecution was not sure how many shots were made and by whom, as an expert in forensic ballistics expressed doubt about premeditation shot Craig, if any, on its part was all because the fatal bullet was not found.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Matheson (Matheson), referring to the psychiatric hospital Mawdsley (Maudsley Hospital), said that Bentley was illiterate and had low intelligence, almost on the border with mental retardation. Ivse same Mawdsley said at the time of the crime at the Bentley was not an epileptic seizure and was not `chelovekom` imbecile, so he must be brought to justice. The fact that the English law at the time did not recognize the concept of limited liability in connection with retarded development.

The jury took 75 minutes to recognize Craig and Bentley guilty of the murder of Miles. Bentley was sentenced to death for a pardon, and Craig spent 10 years in prison and was released in May 1963, after which he became a law-abiding citizen. Derek`s lawyers filed an appeal, highlighting the vagueness of ballistic evidence, Bentley mental age and the fact that he had not made the fatal shot. However, these efforts were to no avail, and the death penalty remained in force.

The Minister of the Interior, David Maxwell Fyfe (David Maxwell Fyfe) refused to seek pardon from the queen, despite a petition signed by more than 200 of his fellow deputies. And January 28, 1953, William Derek Bentley was hanged in prison Wandsworth (Wandsworth Prison) Pierpoint executioner Albert (Albert Pierrepoint).

For years, the Bentley family fought for his acquittal on murder charges. It was only after 45 years, in 1998, the court quashed the conviction. This incident was just one example of a miscarriage of justice in the history of the British and world justice.