Unsolved Murders

Lucy Fairman

Age: 26

Sex: female

Date: 27 Mar 1912

Place: River Lea, Rye House, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

Lucy Fairman vanished on 6 January 1912 and her body was later found in the River Lea near Rye House, Hoddesdon on 27 March 1912.

Her 26-year-old sweetheart was committed for trial on the charge of murdering her but the Bill against him was later thrown out.

Her boyfriend was last seen with her at a dance at Rye House on 6 January 1912.

It was said that the boyfriend had gone to Rye House on 6 January 1912 to his grandmother’s house with Lucy Fairman and they had both stayed there all day and then after tea he had accompanied Lucy Fairman to the dance saying that they would be back for supper a little after 9pm after which they would catch the 10.04pm train. They left the dance together at 8.45pm and went off in the direction of the bridge crossing the River Lea. However, they didn't take supper which had been laid out. The grandmother said that when the boyfriend returned shortly after 9pm she asked where Lucy Fairman was, and said that the boyfriend replied to her, 'I’m going to catch her up at Broxbourne. We've been to St. Margaret's and bought two fowls and had them trussed and ready to be cooked'. The grandmother said that the boyfriend then took Lucy Fairman's umbrella and handbag saying that he was going to meet Lucy Fairman in Broxbourne. The woman whose house it was where the grandmother lived said that when the boyfriend came back at 9pm for the umbrella and handbag he had been in a great hurry.

It was said then that the boyfriend had left the district by the 10.04pm train and that nothing more was seen of Lucy Fairman until her body was found on 27 March 1912.

The boyfriend said that the last that he saw of Lucy Fairman was when he left her at Broxbourne Station. At the time, the boyfriend had been lodging at a house in Enfield and on 16 February 1912 his landlady there said that she remarked to him that he looked feverish and said that he replied, 'No, I've been took for murder'. The woman said that later that night the boyfriend said to her, 'I had been to a dance at Rye House with a young lady, and the last time I saw her alive was as the train was signalled in from Broxbourne station. I left her and travelled back by the next train. She went off and left me holding her bag'. He then told her that he had left the handbag at his aunt's house.

When the boyfriend was questioned and gave an account of his movements on the night, it was said that his statements were contradictory and evasive. He also admitted before the Coroner that some of the statements that he had made to the police and other people had been false.

It was heard that the prosecution thought that the boyfriend knew before he left Rye House on 6 January 1912 that Lucy Fairman was dead and that he knew more about her death than he admitted.

It was also heard that he had the boyfriend had admitted to his aunt that he had desired to get rid of Lucy Fairman as he thought that she was too old for him and had similarly admitted to the police that he had wished to 'get rid of her'.

It was also heard that following her disappearance, the boyfriend had made no enquiries about her.

As such, coupled with the boyfriends behaviour following Lucy Fairman's disappearance, it was thought that there was a prima facie case against him.

However, the boyfriend denied knowing anything about her disappearance.

The boyfriend admitted that he had misconducted himself with Lucy Fairman and had never intended to marry her.

Lucy Fairman's body was found in the River Lea at the junction with the River Stort in a weir, a place about ten minutes’ walk from Rye House.

When the police examined her body, they found that her clothes were much torn. When found, she was wearing a locket containing her father's portrait.

When the doctor examined Lucy Fairman's body, he said that he thought that she had been in the water for about three months and that in his opinion her death was due to drowning but that he could not say for certain. He said that there were no marks of violence on her body or anything to indicate foul play before she got into the water.

After leaving Rye house on the night of the dance the boyfriend had got home to his aunt's house, where he lodged up until 11 January 1912, at about midnight and had remained in bed the next day saying that he had a cold. It was also heard that he told his aunt that he had taken Lucy Fairman to the Chelsea Palace of Varieties on the previous evening.

The boyfriend then disappeared two days later, after which the aunt then found Lucy Fairman's handbag hidden underneath his bed. The handbag had contained a letter and about 6s or 7s in silver.

The boyfriend later took up lodgings in Enfield from 11 January 1912 where he stayed until about the middle of February.

Lucy Fairman had been a housekeeper to her father and the boyfriend had been a nurseryman. They had been engaged for several months.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Dublin Daily Express - Friday 21 June 1912

see Daily Herald - Thursday 16 May 1912

see Daily Herald - Thursday 20 June 1912

see Daily Herald - Thursday 09 May 1912