Derek William Bentley was a British teenager hanged for the murder of a police officer in 1953. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley's, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the murder, by the English law principle of common criminal purpose "joint enterprise". This created a cause célèbre and led to a 45-year-long campaign to win Derek Bentley a posthumous pardon, which was granted in 1998.

Derek William Bentley was a British teenager hanged for the murder of a police officer in 1953. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley's, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the murder, by the English law principle of common criminal purpose "joint enterprise". This created a cause célèbre and led to a 45-year-long campaign to win Derek Bentley a posthumous pardon, which was granted in 1998.

Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig

Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig

Today in history: Derek Bentley controversially hanged in 1958.  Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig

Today in history: Derek Bentley controversially hanged in 1958. Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig

Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig

Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig

In one of the most famous court cases in twentieth century Britain, Derek Bentley received the death sentence and was hanged.

Christopher Craig, who had actually committed the murder Derek Bentley was hanged for, was also found guilty of the murder but was only 16 years old so could not be given the death sentence. He served ten years in prison before being released.

Christopher Craig, who had actually committed the murder Derek Bentley was hanged for, was also found guilty of the murder but was only 16 years old so could not be given the death sentence. He served ten years in prison before being released.

Albert Pierrepoint ran the "Help the poor struggler" pub in Oldham. He was Britain's last executioner and was responsible for the deaths of over 450 people including over 200 Nazi war criminals and a number of notorious killers including John Christie and John George Haigh. He also executed Derek Bentley and Ruth Ellis.

Albert Pierrepoint ran the "Help the poor struggler" pub in Oldham. He was Britain's last executioner and was responsible for the deaths of over 450 people including over 200 Nazi war criminals and a number of notorious killers including John Christie and John George Haigh. He also executed Derek Bentley and Ruth Ellis.

Derek Bentley - ballad about 18 year old hanged for involvement in the shooting of a policeman in Croydon - sung by Ewan Maccoll

Derek Bentley - ballad about 18 year old hanged for involvement in the shooting of a policeman in Croydon - sung by Ewan Maccoll

The grave stone says it all! "Here lies Derek Bentley - A victim of British justice" Bentley was executed for the murder of a policeman on November 2nd 1952. He was hung in 1953. He did not fire the bullet that killed the policeman and was under arrest, standing beside a police officer when Christopher Craig fired the fatal shot.

The grave stone says it all! "Here lies Derek Bentley - A victim of British justice" Bentley was executed for the murder of a policeman on November 2nd 1952. He was hung in 1953. He did not fire the bullet that killed the policeman and was under arrest, standing beside a police officer when Christopher Craig fired the fatal shot.

The Last Words of Derek Bentley - Hanged at just 19 for a crime he did not commit - YouTube

The Last Words of Derek Bentley - Hanged at just 19 for a crime he did not commit - YouTube

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