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Introduction

This letter was sent by the Director of Public Prosecutions to the Prison Commissioners regarding their handling of several high profile capital punishment cases. The letter was written after the executions of John Amery, William Joyce and Theodore Schurch.

Also the trials of Thomas Cooper and Walter Purdy aroused a lot of interest. Although found guilty of treason and sentenced to death, Cooper and Purdy were reprieved and their sentences commuted to terms of imprisonment.

The Letter

Director of Public Prosecutions, Devonshire House (East Entrance),

Mayfair Place, Piccadilly, London W1.

20 February 1946.

Dear Fox,

Now that what I trust is the last case of high treason arising out of the war is finished, I would like to express to all the Prison Officers concerned my sincere appreciation of their work in dealing with these prisoners.

I know enough of the difficulties of the Prison Commissioners and their staff at the present time to realise that the addition of five special and difficult capital cases to the normal complement must have thrown a considerable strain on your resources and involved the officers concerned in a great deal of extra work.

I was particularly anxious in view of what has been happening elsewhere, that these trials in this country should be conducted with the dignity and efficiency that we consider to be characteristic of our criminal procedure. My expectations have been realised to the full, and I am indeed grateful to all concerned who can rightly be proud of their share in what I consider to be a not unworthy chapter of our legal history.

Yours sincerely,

Theobald Mathews.

L.W. Fox, Esq, MC

Prison Commissioners, Kensington Mansions, Trebovir Road, SW5.

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