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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.

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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. And yet everyone knew he was innocent of the crime.Why did he hang?


Based on a true story "Let Him Have It": In 1950s England, slow-witted Derek Bentley falls in with a group of petty criminals led by Chris Craig. Their friendship leads to a crime which would forever shake England's belief in capital punishment


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.


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.