Murder Act 1751

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Murder Act 1751[a]
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act for better preventing the horrid Crime of Murder.
Citation25 Geo. 2. c. 37
Royal assent26 March 1752
Repealed18 July 1973[b]
Other legislation
Repealed byStatute Law (Repeals) Act 1973, s.1(1) & Sch.1, Pt.V.[1]
Status: Repealed

The Murder Act 1751 (25 Geo. 2. c. 37), sometimes referred to as the Murder Act 1752,[2] was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain.


The Act included the provision "for better preventing the horrid crime of murder"[3] "that some further terror and peculiar mark of infamy be added to the punishment",[4][5] and that "in no case whatsoever shall the body of any murderer be suffered to be buried",[3] by mandating either public dissection or "hanging in chains" of the cadaver.[6] The Act also stipulated that a person found guilty of murder should be executed two days after being sentenced unless the third day was a Sunday, in which case the execution would take place on the following Monday.[7]

On 1 July 1828, this Act was repealed, as to England, by section 1 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1828 (9 Geo 4 c 31), except so far as it related to rescues and attempts to rescue. The corresponding marginal note to that section says that effect of this was to repeal the whole Act, except for sections 9 and 10.

Section 1[edit]

This section was repealed by section 1 of, and the Schedule to, the Statute Law Revision Act 1871.

Section 9[edit]

This section provided that any person who, by force, set at liberty or rescued, or who attempted to set at liberty or rescue, any person out of prison who was committed for, or convicted of, murder, or who rescued or attempted to rescue, any person convicted of murder, going to execution or during execution, was guilty of felony, and was to suffer death without benefit of clergy. This death penalty was reduced to transportation for life by the Punishment of Offences Act 1837.

Section 11[edit]

This section was repealed by section 1 of, and the Schedule to, the Statute Law Revision Act 1871.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This short title was conferred by the Short Titles Act 1896, section 1 and the first schedule. Some sources refer to the Act as the Murder Act 1752, this being the year in which it was passed.
  2. ^ The repealing provision came into force on the date of royal assent because the contrary was not specified.
  1. ^ Law Commission 2005, p. 52.
  2. ^ Leon Radzinowicz. A History of English Criminal Law and Its Administration from 1750. Macmillan Company. 1948. Volume 1. Page 801.
  3. ^ a b Johnson 2006, Introductory Anatomy.
  4. ^ Harrison 1983, p. 6.
  5. ^ Banner 2003, p. 77.
  6. ^ Woods 2002, p. 122.
  7. ^ Fielding 2008, p. 5


  • Banner, Stuart (2003), Death Penalty: An American History, Harvard University Press, p. 77
  • Fielding, Steve (2008), The Executioner's Bible: The Story of Every British Hangman of the Twentieth Century, John Blake Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84454-648-0
  • Harrison, Ross (1983), Bentham, Routledge, p. 6, ISBN 978-0-7100-9526-8
  • Johnson, D.R. (3 January 2006), Introductory Anatomy, Centre for Human Biology, (now renamed Faculty of Biological Sciences), Leeds University), archived from the original on 4 November 2008, retrieved 17 November 2008
  • Law Commission (January 2005), Criminal Law, Repeal Proposals (PDF), p. 52, archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2006
  • Woods, Gregory D. (2002), A History of Criminal Law in New South Wales: The Colonial Period, 1788-1900, Federation Press, p. 122, ISBN 978-1-86287-439-8

Further reading[edit]

  • Marks, Alfred (1908). Tyburn tree : its history and annals, London : Brown, Langham pp. 247–48