Oh, Snap! (kutsuwamushi) wrote in little_details,
Oh, Snap!

[ANON POST] Legal Fate of Schizophrenic Accessory to Murder

Setting: Late 1870s London

Story: Sherlock Holmes AU involving superpowers.

In my AU, I have one of Holmes' pre-Watson cases involving a traveling circus which has been getting away with murder. One of the adult children of the circus family is a young male schizophrenic with clairvoyant abilities, who is aware of the murders but neither took part in any of them nor did anything to stop them, though he may have actively helped in covering up one or two. This young man ends up helping Holmes' investigation into the murders, and Holmes puts most of the family behind bars.

The young man's schizophrenia is severe enough that it is impossible for him to live on his own -- he has been cared for until now by his family, who despite their homicidal tendencies were plenty loving and protective. He is generally non-violent, friendly, and has fewer problems if he's kept mentally occupied.

Holmes, wishing to keep the young man nearby so as to make use of his clairvoyant abilities, would be willing to put some of his family's money toward ensuring that the man is treated well.

My questions: What would be the young schizophrenic's fate? Would his helping Holmes make up for the multiple Accessory counts, and by how much? And how would his schizophrenia (undiagnosed, but demonstrable under observation) effect the ruling? Would he be considered criminally insane or merely insane?

I would like for him to end up in a low-security asylum of some kind, preferably in or near London so Holmes has easy access to him, for story purposes, but asylums at the time seem to have had a very poor reputation (other than the York Retreat, which was, well, in York). Are there any that would be better-suited, where he would be taken care of but not poorly treated in an attempted 'cure', or is private care pretty much the only option available?

Search Attempts: "accessory to murder", "circus murders", "history of criminal insanity", "M'Naghten Rules", a couple different iterations of 'victorian era', 'insanity', 'insanity defence', 'accessory'. Some scouring of VictorianWeb. Some attempts at searching out an appropriate asylum, but most of the period information that comes up is Bethlem.
Tags: 1870-1879, uk: government: law enforcement, uk: history: victorian era, ~psychology & psychiatry: historical, ~psychology & psychiatry: schizophrenia

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