Bentley and Craig - Ralph McTell

(punctuation, grammar and dates are all Ralph's)

In 1952 in Croydon

There was bomb sites still around from the war

November that year food was scarcely off the ration

Two boys went out to rob a store.

Craig he was just about sixteen years old

Bentley he was nineteen

But Craig had a shooter stuck in his pocket

Mad him feel more like a man.

Out on the roof of Barlow and Parker

Somebody saw them there

In a matter of minutes the police had arrived

And when they saw them you can bet those boys were scared.

Craig he shouted that he had a gun

And he thought about the movies that he'd seen

Back at Fell Road they signed the rifles out

And arrived very quick back on the scene.

Some of the police got onto the rooftop

Bentley knew that he could not escape

So he gave himself up and they put him under arrest

And he begged his young friend Chris won't you do the same.

Give me the gun the sergeant cried

Let him have it Chris poor Bentley said

But a shot rang out well it tore the night in half

Well the poor policeman was lying there dead.

Some people said it was a bullet from Craig's gun

That laid that policeman away

Some people said it was a police marksman's bullet

Some people said it could be a ricochet.

Both was found guilty of murder Craig he was too young not yet a man

Though he was under arrest when the fatal shot was fired

Derek Bentley was judged old enough to hang

Bentley he was judged to be a man.

Twenty three of January in Wandsworth prison

When they took poor Bentley's life

Some people shouted and some people prayed

Some people just hung their heads and cried.

Oh you men on our behalf who sanctioned that boy's death

There's still one thing left to do

You can pardon Derek Bentley who never took a life

For Derek Bentley cannot pardon you

Derek Bentley cannot pardon you.

©Misty River Music 1982

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Last updated 20-Feb-97