England · Executions · Newspaper clippings

9-year-old hanged for arson (1629)

February 23, 1629
Abingdon, England
John Dean (9) is hanged for arson

John Dean was an “infant between eight and nine years,” according to court documents, when he was tried and executed for setting fire to two barns in a nearby town. Though records do not show any injuries or deaths, the judge felt Dean showed “malice, revenge, craft and cunning” and denied leniency. At the time in England, the age in which a person was criminally responsible was 7, meaning a child as young as 7 was equally accountable for crimes as an adult.

Clipping source: “Historia Placitorum Coronae: The History of the Pleas of the Crown, Volume 1” By Sir Matthew Hale, page 24

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