Unsolved Murders

Henry Le Bas

Age: 58

Sex: male

Date: 2 Sep 1912

Place: High Street, Sevenoaks

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Henry Le Bas was found in an advanced state of decomposition in his house.

His 70-year-old brother was charged with his murder but at the trial no evidence against him was offered and he was discharged.

At the trial the brother's defence said that had the brother done what he ought to have done and informed the authority’s then no one would have suspected him of being involved in Henry Le Bas's death.

Henry Le Bas had been an auctioneer but the business that he was interested in in London had failed after which he had kept indoors for two or three months and lived on practically nothing. It was also noted that the failure had preyed on his mind a lot.

It was said that for days the two brothers had only a pennyworth of milk and a pennyworth of bread each and had had no meat, fish or anything substantial, and the police said that when they examined the house, all they found were three eggs.

Henry Le Bas's brother said that they had pined and pined away but said that they had been afraid to call in a doctor as he would have ordered them to the workhouse infirmary.

Henry Le Bas's brother said then, that after Henry Le Bas died, he was under the impression that his own death would quickly follow which was why he said their two birth certificates were nailed to the door and the address of their nearest relative was left prominent.

However, it was heard earlier that a police constable had been opposite their house at about 1.30am on 2 September 1912 and had heard a voice speaking loudly. The police constable said that when he went nearer to the house, he saw the bedroom window open and heard a voice say, 'Get off my papers and let me have my money'. The police constable said that he then went further down the street and told a police sergeant and said that they both went back to the house but that they heard nothing more and found that the house was in darkness, noting that when the voice was heard there had been a dim light burning inside.

The police constable said that he didn't know whose voice he had heard.

It was noted that when the brother was arrested and asked when Henry Le Bas had died, he had told him, 'On the morning of September 2nd'. When the brother was asked if Henry Le Bas had been ill for long, the brother said, ''He had been in bed a fortnight prior to his death. He became demented over business affairs, but we have not got a doctor'.

When the judge summed up, he said that it was a tragedy of poverty, and agreed that it was right that the police should have carried out their full inquiries and arrest the brother, saying that because there had been an inquest, people would have said, 'As usual, nothing has been found. If the body had not been so decomposed marks of violence might have been found'.


see Globe - Friday 08 November 1912, p3

see Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 05 October 1912

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Tuesday 19 November 1912

see The Scotsman - Thursday 26 September 1912

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 27 September 1912