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R v Betts and Ridley (1930) 22 Cr App R 148 is a landmark case in English criminal law from 1930, which established that to be convicted of a crime under the doctrine of Common purpose, it was not necessary for an accessory to actually be present when the offence was carried out.[1]



Victor Betts and Herbert Ridley agreed to rob a man, William Thomas Andrews, as he was on his way to the bank. Their plan was that Betts would push the individual to the ground and snatch his bag. Meanwhile Ridley would be waiting around the corner in a getaway car. However, Betts struck Andrews with such force that he died as a result of the blow.


Both were subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to death. An appeal against the murder conviction by both men was dismissed. However, the Home Secretary advised the King to respite the capital sentence in the case of Ridley to penal servitude for life.

Despite a petition with 12,000 signatures, Betts was hanged at Birmingham Prison on 3 January 1931 by Thomas Pierrepoint.[2] A crowd of several hundred people gathered as a nearby factory sounded its whistle to mark the fateful hour.[3]

See alsoEdit


  • Jefferson, Michael (2006). Criminal law. Foundation studies in law (7th ed.). Pearson Education. p. 171. ISBN 1-4058-1225-7.


  1. ^ Slapper, Gary (23 June 2008). "The cases that changed Britain: 1917-1954". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  2. ^ "English & Welsh executions 1900 - 1931". Capital Punishment U.K.
  3. ^ Cato, Charles. "Foresight of Murder and Complicity in Unlawful Joint Enterprises Where Death Results" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 1, 2008.

External linksEdit