Unsolved Murders

Frederick Montgomeric Careton

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Date: 20 May 1922

Place: West Meads, Butlers Marston, Kineton

Frederick Montgomeric Careton was found dead in his bedroom in his pyjamas with serious burns on the morning of Tuesday 16 May 1922.

He was a brigadier general.

An open verdict was returned. His inquest was held without a jury.

His son said that on the Monday Frederick Careton appeared to be in his usual health and had played two sets of singles tennis, mowed the lawn and watered the garden.

He said that his mother went away to London that day and that he and Frederick Careton retired to bed at about 9.30pm. He said that as they wet to bed that he wished him 'goodnight' on the landing adding 'If you want anything, call me' and then left him, noting that he said that because Frederick Careton often had bad attacks and that his mother was away.

He noted that on the afternoon he had cashed his father a cheque as he was going to London and bought him a bottle of brandy.

Frederick Careton's son said that on the Tuesday morning that their maid called him and informed him that she had knocked four times at Frederick Careton's door and had got no response. He said that he told her to go into his room and said that when she did, she came rushing back out and told him that Frederick Careton was lying on his bedroom floor.

He said that he then shouted for his sister and then went into Kinteton where he telephoned for his uncle and saw a doctor.

Frederick Careton's son noted that he had had his door open all night, but had heard no sound.

The maid said that on the Tuesday morning, at about 7.15am, she went into Frederick Careton's room carrying a tray with tea and biscuits. She said that she had knocked at his door several times but had got no answer and had then called for Frederick Careton's son who told her to go into Frederick Careton's room where she saw Frederick Careton lying on the floor with his clothes all burnt.

She noted that she didn't know whether or not there had been a candle on the candle stick that was in his room and which was found on the floor close to his body.

Another maid said that the first maid came up to her in fright after seeing Frederick Careton's body and asked her to go up and help and said that Frederick Careton's daughter then sent her for some hot water, but said that when she took it to her, Frederick Careton 's daughter decided that it would be useless to wash his face with it and so used it to put out some of the smouldering floor.

She said that the last time that she saw Frederick Careton was the night before at about 9.20pm at which time she said he was using his flashlight to see.

A policeman said that when he arrived at Westmeads, that he found Frederick Careton burnt on the left side and arm and the side of his face and said that there was a box of matches near his body, some of the matches having been spent and the box of which having being partly burnt itself. It was noted that the burnt matches were in the hole that had been burnt in the floor. When the policeman gave his evidence the Coroner noted that it appeared that the burnt matches being in the burnt hole in the carpet could not be accounted for, but the policeman said that they might have been knocked in when his body was moved.

A doctor said that he had attended Frederick Careton about nine months earlier when he had been called to his house and had found Frederick Careton in a semi-conscious condition, but could not make anything of him, and said that in his opinion Frederick Careton had then been suffering from some form of poisoning by drug or alcohol, noting that Frederick Careton had suffered from duodenal ulcer for which he had had an operation but said that the symptoms that he saw Frederick Careton suffering from when he saw him were not from his ulcer but probably as a result of something that he had taken to relieve the pain and that he was all right the following day.

He said that when he came out on Tuesday 16 May 1922 that he found that he was badly burnt, chiefly on the back and left side, noting that the burns were mostly of the first degree, but that some of the burns on his neck and ear were second degree burns, and said that his ear was charred.

He said that his body was in a state of rigor mortis which he said indicated that his death had taken place several hours previously.

At the inquest it was heard that Frederick Caretonofen used to read in bed by the light of a petrol lamp and that he had once told his son that he was reading the bible all the way through. The police noted that there were books on the window ledge close to the bedside.

The doctor that carried out Frederick Careton's post mortem said that he found all Frederick Careton's organs healthy with the exception of his stomach which he said was in a state of chronic catarrh which indicated chronic dyspepsia. He noted that there was no evidence of duodenal ulcer but said that the duodenum was in the same catarrhal state as his stomach. He added that there was no evidence of chronic alcoholism.

He noted that the burns that he had received where sufficient to have caused death and said that in his opinion that his death was due to shock from the extent of the burns.

At the inquest a Captain said that Frederick Careton was often in violent pain and always liked to take brandy to relieve it.

When the bottle of brandy that his son had bought for his was shown it was found that a considerable quantity had been taken. The doctor noted that the contents of Frederick Careton's stomach smelt of brandy.

When the coroner returned an open verdict, he said that Frederick Careton had been found dead in his bedroom extensively burnt and thought that he had died from shock, but said that there was nothing to account for his unconscious condition. He suggested that Frederick Careton might have been in great pain and might have taken the brandy to relieve his pain and that he might have taken such a quantity that he did not know what he was doing. He noted that the post mortem had not disclosed any evidence of him having had a fit.

Frederick Careton had been attached to the East Lancashire Regiment as a subaltern and after having served with his regiment in the South African War he had served in Burmah for about two years. He had retired as a major but had been called up for the Great War and had commanded the 4th Battalion King's Own Lancaster Regiment in France and had been promoted to Brigadier-General and had received the DSO. He was also a member of the Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser - Saturday 20 May 1922

see Rugby Advertiser - Friday 19 May 1922