Letter: Innocence, justice, compassion and judicial killing

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sir: It must be a bitter blow for Derek Bentley's family that the Home Secretary has refused to grant a posthumous pardon. Like his predecessors, Mr Clarke prefers to leave such matters well alone.

But Derek Bentley's case is not unique. Edith Thompson was executed on 9 January 1923 for her (supposed) complicity in her husband's murder. Since then her innocence has been established so that it is hardly a matter of debate. Yet Edith Thompson, like Derek Bentley, officially remains as guilty now as when she was condemned to death.

I am sure that, knowing of similar cases, the Home Secretary has decided to play safe. In so doing, he ensures that these miscarriages of justice continue to blot our judicial record.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN CLARKE

Crookes, Sheffield

2 October

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