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MURDRUM, old Eng. law. During the times of the Danes, and afterwards till the reign of Edward III, murdrum was the killing of a man in a secret manner, and in that it differed from simple homicide.
     2. When a man was thus killed, and he was unknown, by the laws of Canute he was presumed to be a Dane, and the vill was compelled to pay forty marks for his death. After the conquest, a similar law was made in favor of Frenchmen, which was abolished by 3 Edw. III.
     3. By murdrum was also understood the fine formerly imposed in England upon a person who had committed homicide perinfortunium or se defendendo. Prin. Pen. 219, note r.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Normans reacted violently 'with various refinements of torture' and finally had recourse to that standby of brutal law everywhere, the punishment of whole neighbourhoods: for the unsolved murders of Frenchmen, they inflicted a particularly punitive version of the long-lasting murdrum fine, its size depending on circumstances but described by one who should know, the Treasurer of the Exchequer, as an 'enormous penalty' enormis iactura.