It’s December 1993 and Labour is looking for ways to attack the Government over crime. Perhaps there’s an issue of the length of sentences for murder?
Let’s turn to Hansard, the official record of what is said in Parliament, and find out:
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the shortest sentence served for murder in the last 30 years; and what were the circumstances.
Mr. Peter Lloyd: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the director general of the prison service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from A. J. Butler to Ms Barbara Roche, dated 10 December 1993: Shortest sentence served for murder in the last 30 years
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the shortest sentence served for murder in the last 30 years and what the circumstances were. The shortest sentence served was one day. This occurred in two unrelated cases where the inmates died one day after reception.
One I suspect to file in the “Drat! I didn’t think there might be that sort of answer” category.
The standard of record keeping seems to have declined since, for this is what the government said when asked a similar question in 2012:
What the shortest sentence served by a convicted murderer before their release from prison was in the last 15 years?…
Data on the shortest sentence served by a convicted murderer before release in the last 15 years are not in a readily accessible electronic format. In order to answer the question precisely, it would be necessary to retrieve and search manual files for this information. This would exceed cost limits.
Liked this story? Find other gems from Hansard on my archive page for this series of posts.