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Introduction

The case of Arthur Beard is important as it concerned a judge's comments about a murder committed when the murderer was drunk.

The Case Details

Arthur Beard was drunk when he suffocated 13 year old Ivy Lydia Wood while raping her. His plea was heard at the Court of Criminal Appeal, which changed the original finding from one of murder to manslaughter on the grounds that as Beard was drunk at the time of the assault he was not capable of acting with malice aforethought.

The case went to England's highest court the House of Lords. The Lord Chancellor ruled that while Beard may have been too drunk to form the intention to kill, he was able to form the intention to commit a crime, namely the girl's rape. The charge of murder was reimposed, although Arthur Beard was reprieved.

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