THE KILLING OF CONSTABLE LINNELL: THE IMPACT OF XENOPHOBIA AND OF ELITE CONNECTIONS ON EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY JUSTICE

Drew Gray, Peter J R King

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Using one uniquely well-documented murder case from a small Northamptonshire village, this article explores two themes. First it analyses the genesis of the case in the local context and uses it to assess the potential impact of local xenophobia on the eighteenth-century criminal justice system. The village community pushed for a murder charge. The defence portrayed the accused as a victimised newcomer and argued for justifiable homicide. The victory of the former provides a revealing case study of the power of local xenophobia. The second part of the article then develops a top down perspective. Since the petitioners in this case included four highly prominent dukes and duchesses, it can be used to assess the ability of the aristocratic elite to obtain pardons and thus to control a central element in the criminal justice system - the death sentence. Although a constable had been killed, the evidence against the accused was highly problematic. Powerful aristocratic connections should therefore have been able to obtain a pardon but how effective were they in this situation?
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1
    Pages (from-to)3-31
    Number of pages29
    JournalFamily & Community History
    Volume16
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013

    Fingerprint

    xenophobia
    homicide
    eighteenth century
    elite
    justice
    accused
    village community
    village
    death
    ability
    evidence

    Keywords

    • murder
    • crime
    • criminal justice system
    • Pattishall
    • constable
    • local xenophobia

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Using one uniquely well-documented murder case from a small Northamptonshire village, this article explores two themes. First it analyses the genesis of the case in the local context and uses it to assess the potential impact of local xenophobia on the eighteenth-century criminal justice system. The village community pushed for a murder charge. The defence portrayed the accused as a victimised newcomer and argued for justifiable homicide. The victory of the former provides a revealing case study of the power of local xenophobia. The second part of the article then develops a top down perspective. Since the petitioners in this case included four highly prominent dukes and duchesses, it can be used to assess the ability of the aristocratic elite to obtain pardons and thus to control a central element in the criminal justice system - the death sentence. Although a constable had been killed, the evidence against the accused was highly problematic. Powerful aristocratic connections should therefore have been able to obtain a pardon but how effective were they in this situation?",
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    THE KILLING OF CONSTABLE LINNELL: THE IMPACT OF XENOPHOBIA AND OF ELITE CONNECTIONS ON EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY JUSTICE. / Gray, Drew; King, Peter J R.

    In: Family & Community History, Vol. 16, No. 1, 1, 01.04.2013, p. 3-31.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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