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February 2013 travel news 59
‘White Mischief’ by James Fox published in 1982.
‘ White Roots in Africa’ by Frederick ‘Alf’ Smith published in 1997
‘Child of Happy Valley’ by Juanita Carberry with Nicola Tyrer published in 1999.
'The Life & Death of Lord Erroll’ by Errol Trzebinski published in 2000.
Feature article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of 11th May 2007 by Judith Woods.
'The Bolter’ by Frances Osborne published in 2008.
‘The Temptress’ by Paul Spicer published in 2010.
Feature articles in ‘Old Africa’ magazine, issues 42 & 43.
A further pointer to Broughton’s guilt came to light in a feature in Britain’s ‘Daily Telegraph’
of 11th May 2007 by Judith Woods in which author Christine Nicholls claims to have
had access to ‘extraordinary tapes from beyond the grave, together with fresh witness
accounts’, makes a compelling case for Broughton as the murderer. An important facet
casting doubt on his guilt had always been his claim to have a weak leg so, if he had
indeed hidden in the back of Erroll’s Buick early in the morning of that fateful day and
then fired two shots from the rear seat - one of which killed the Earl - how could he
have managed the three kilometer walk from the murder scene back to the house in
Marula Lane, unless he had an accomplice with a car to pick him up at a pre-arranged
Nicholls wrote there was just such an accomplice and named him as Dr Athan Philip, a
near neighbour of the Broughtons and a refugee from Bulgaria who had fallen on hard
times. In other words, he could have been cajoled into assisting Broughton in exchange
for cash or some other inducement for doing the pick-up without necessarily knowing
what was involved until after the event when he would have kept quiet for fear of arrest
as an accessory to murder.
It certainly fits nicely with the timing and the white scuff marks found on the rear seat of
the Buick which were probably made by a shoe whitening cream such as Meltonian on
the murderer’s plimsolls, which Juanita had seen burning on a bonfire in the Broughton’s
garden the next morning.
It was a re-reading of Juanita’s book Child of Happy Valley that really pushed me into
considering this feature, so before putting it to bed, I called her several times and among
other things requested permission to use the photo of her and her pet cheetah that
grace the front cover. She maintained that she did not want to discuss the Lord Erroll
murder but inevitably the subject came up and she told me she has never wavered from
her account of the confession made by Broughton to her at Seremai on 27th January
1941. It was then he also told Juanita that he had stopped in Thika en route to Nyeri to
toss the murder weapon into the Chania Falls. Furthermore, Juanita is dismissive of the
argument put forward by Erroll Trzebinski that Broughton’s suicide had been staged by
MI6 to shut him up, and sticks to the theory that he killed himself through a combination
of depression, guilt and to avoid the shame and scandal of a British police investigation
into insurance frauds involving a pearl necklace that went missing on the French Riviera
and four oil paintings stolen from Doddington Park, Broughton’s ancestral home in
Cheshire, both in 1939.
Broughton’s guilt would seem to be laid bare if all the facts are taken into account, but
the case probably won’t go away, and will almost certainly engage future generations of
amateur sleuths and writers for a long time to come. In some ways, I hope it does.
Postscript: Only after I had completed
this feature was I given a DVD about the
Lord Erroll murder made for the BBC some
years ago by Julian Fellowes.
It was one in a series of documentaries
made for British television under the
generic title ‘A Very Peculiar Murder’.
Fellowes comes up with several eccentric
theories surrounding the Earl’s murder,
the most bizarre of which is that Diana
Broughton was in the car with Erroll when
he was shot.
Fellowes also alleges that the second
bullet that had missed Erroll and was
found lodged in the car had grazed Diana’s
neck with the result that she always wore
a scarf or bandana for the rest of her life to
conceal the scar.
Julian Fellowes subsequently went on
to great fame and fortune as the creator
and writer of Downton Abbey, the award
winning TV series.
Does the scarf or high collar
really hide a bullet scar?
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