17th May 1984

Jersey’s last ever death sentence is passed

Denis James Boreham, then 24, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death on 17 May 1984. This caused an uproar on the mainland, which would have to conduct the execution on Jersey’s behalf if it wasn’t rescinded.

The Guardian quoted Labour MP George Foulkes, who declared, “Jersey is not a paradise island but a parasite island, because it lives off the United Kingdom with low taxation yet we provide services, which in this case could be the gallows.”

In Parliament, on 4 June 1984, Foulkes asked Conservative minister David Mellor what his policy was on mercy for convicts sentenced to death in the Channel Islands. As recorded in Hansard, Mellor answered, “the practice of my right hon. and learned Friend [the Home Secretary] in respect of a sentence of death passed in Jersey or the Isle of Man, like that of his predecessors in recent years, has been to advise Her Majesty the Queen to commute the sentence to one of life imprisonment” and that, therefore, “the sentence of death recently imposed in Jersey on Denis James Boreham has been so commuted.”


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