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Public reactions to the case of Mary Wilson, the last woman to be sentenced to death in England and Wales.

Seal, L. (2008) 'Public reactions to the case of Mary Wilson, the last woman to be sentenced to death in England and Wales.', Papers from the British Criminology Conference., 8 . pp. 65-84.

Abstract

In 1958, 68 year old Mary Wilson became the last woman to be reprieved from the death penalty in England and Wales. She was convicted of the capital murders of two of her husbands, whom she poisoned. This article examines the discourses of capital punishment that were articulated in letters members of the public sent to Rab Butler, Home Secretary at the time, about Mary’s case. It identifies discourses both in support of the death penalty and against it, and places them within their mid twentieth‐century context. The article also explores how Mary’s identity as an older working class woman shaped people’s views regarding the acceptability of her punishment.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Death penalty, 1950s, Punishment, Discourse.
Full text:PDF - Published Version (393Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://www.britsoccrim.org/v8.htm
Publisher statement:2008 the author and British Society of Criminology.
Record Created:08 Apr 2010 02:50
Last Modified:27 Apr 2010 15:57

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