A Case of Child Murder : Law and Science in Nineteenth-century Tuscany
Between 1873 and 1875 four children disappeared without trace from a small village in Tuscany. Finally, the mystery was solved: Carlo Grandi, a 24-year-old cartwright living in the village, was caught while beating a young boy, apparently on the point of killing him. The corpses of the four children were later found buried in Grandi's workshop. In this book, Guarnieri examines in detail the ensuing murder trial: the brief investigation leading quickly to the confession of the alleged killer and his indictment; the course of the "insanity trial" leading up to the verdict; and the immediate medical, legal and public reactions to the conviction. The author argues that this trial is historically important because it marks one of the first appearances in court of scientists debating the state of mental illness or sanity of the defendant, and his responsibility for the crime. Guarnieri describes how the trial became a battleground for different definitions of madness: between, on the one hand, the conception of mental illness as a lack of any intellectual and rational faculty and, on the other, the more modern idea of "moral insanity" which implied uncontrolled and unmotivated behaviour.
- Hardback | 220 pages
- 147.32 x 226.06 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
- 01 Dec 1993
- Polity Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
Table of contents
Events and enquiry; Carlino and public opinion; the trial; the psychiatric case.