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The case of the Stauntons was tried in September, 1877, at the Old Bailey. There were four people on trial, Louis Staunton, his brother, Patrick Staunton, Mrs. Patrick Staunton, and Alice Rhodes, a sister of Mrs. Patrick Staunton. They were charged with the murder of Mrs. Louis Staunton by starvation and were all found guilty and sentenced to death.
Strong representations were made to the Home Secretary by the leaders of the medical profession in favour of the hypothesis of natural disease and the prisoners were reprieved, though only on the day before the date fixed for their execution. Alice Rhodes, against whom there was practically no evidence of anything but adultery, was at once released; the Stauntons were sentenced to long terms of penal servitude.