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

Seal, Lizzie (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. ISSN 1759-0043

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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
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology
Depositing User: Lizzie Seal
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 16:00
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 02:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41536

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