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Friday, July 31, 1998 Published at 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK


Judgement placed at Bentley's grave

Maria Bentley-Dingwall placing the 52-page ruling

Derek Bentley's niece has placed the Court of Appeal judgement quashing the hanged teenager's conviction for murder at his graveside.

Maria Dingwall-Bentley fulfilled her mother's dying wish by taking the 52-page ruling to the London cemetery where Derek Bentley, who was hanged in 1953, is buried.

[ image: Derek Bentley's conviction was quashed]
Derek Bentley's conviction was quashed
Mr Bentley lies with his parents and his sister Iris - Ms Dingwall-Bentley's mother, who died of cancer last year.

Ms Dingwall-Bentley said: "My mother, 42 years ago, always said she would take the pardon with her.

"She wasn't here to do that but at least I can try to fulfil part of her promise to Derek by bringing the judgement to the grave, and it will be staying here for ever and ever.

"It is a very sad day for me because my mum would have been here and she would have been laying flowers, but at last we have justice."

Mr Bentley, who was 19 when he died but who had the mental age of an 11-year-old, was hanged for his part in a robbery in which his 16-year-old accomplice, Christopher Craig, fired multiple shots, killing PC Sydney Miles.

[ image: Craig fired the gun]
Craig fired the gun
Mr Bentley was convicted on the basis of the words "Let him have it, Chris" - which he uttered some 15 minutes before the bullet struck PC Miles.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, delivered a Court of Appeal judgement quashing the conviction on Thursday.

It included an unprecedented attack on his predecessor, Lord Goddard, who presided at Mr Bentley's trial.

A law scholarship in the Bentley name is to be set up and a donation made to an animal welfare group such as the Born Free Trust in note of the tragic teenager's love of animals, Mr Bentley's niece said.

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