Unsolved Murders

Henry Maurice John Petty-Fitzmaurice

Age: 19

Sex: male

Date: 12 Sep 1933

Place: Regents Park Station, London

Henry Maurice John Petty-Fitzmaurice, the Earl Of Kerry, died after falling in front of a tube train.

The driver of the tube train said that he saw a man raise his arms above his head and dive in front of the train as it entered the station. He said, 'I saw a man standing on the platform near the edge. He dived in front of my train as I entered the station, He put his hands above his head and dived in front of the train'. It was noted that the train driver was the only person that had seen Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice go in front of the train. He had also said that by the time he saw it, it was impossible for him to have pulled up. The driver said that immediately that he saw the man he had applied the vacuum breaks but said that by the time that the train had stopped two carriages had passed over him.

The train was said to have been going at about 10mph at the time.

When he was recovered from beneath the train he was suffering from severe injuries to the lower part of his body and legs, and was taken to the Middlesex Hospital but was found to be dead on arrival.

It was said that there had been about 20 people on the platform at the time.

He was the son and heir of the Marquess of Lansdowne. He was also the grandson of the fifth Marquess, who was Viceroy of India, Governor-General of Canada, and Foreign Secretary, and who had played an important part in negotiating the Entente Cordiale with France.

His father said that he had last seen his son a month earlier when he had left to go to Germany to learn the language where he had stayed with a family that they knew. He said that he had gone by himself and that he had sent letters home showing that he was enjoying himself. He said that his son had had some digestive trouble but had lately been much better and said that it didn't worry him.

He said that his son had been at Balliol College in Oxford the previous summer term where he had enjoyed himself very much. He said that he had not had any love affairs, noting that he was too young for it, and said that he had never suggested taking his own life and that he could not account for how it happened.

The father did say that his son had come over from Germany the night before and said that the sea had not been very smooth and that he had been informed that his son had felt sick, but had not been sick, which he said was worse, and that he had been informed that his son had not been feeling comfortable all the morning and had had to lie down after lunch.

After returning from Germany, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had gone to his town house in Mansfield Street, London, where he was seen by the caretaker there. The caretaker said that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice laughed and joked with them and that after listening to the wireless he had gone out to lunch and that when he came back he seemed quite normal.

The caretaker said that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice then went out again saying that he would be back at 7.30pm but that he didn't return. He said that when he didn't return at 7.30pm he was surprised.

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had arrived in Germany on 14 August 1933 and the friend that he met there said that they were together a lot in the following week and that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice was extremely happy.

The person that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had been in Germany with was also back in England and on the Tuesday he had met him for lunch. He said that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had said that he was not feeling well and had asked to go upstairs to lie down. He said that when he had got upstairs he had looked very pale and told him that he had been feeling faint and sick for the whole morning. The man noted that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had told him that he was not a good sailor but added that he had not been sick when he had crossed from Germany.

A ship's master that had been at Regent's Park Station on the Tuesday evening said that he saw Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice with an umbrella standing just beyond the exit and said that he wondered what he had been doing there. He said that he was about two feet away from the wall. He said that he had a momentary impression of seeing an umbrella on the platform but could not describe how Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had got on the rails.

When the police searched Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice they found a twopenny ticket on him which would have taken him as far as the Strand.

It was thought that he had been due to take the 7.15pm train to Ireland that night although no ticket to Ireland was found on him. It was also thought that he might have been in the Regent’s Park area to see his grandmother who lived in Park Square.

At his inquest the jury returned a 7 to 2 majority for an open verdict.

The jury stated that there was not sufficient evidence to show why he had fallen from the platform and been killed by the train.

His father suggested that his only possible explanation was that Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had suffered from sea-sickness on the crossing from Germany the previous night and that that might have caused him to lose his balance.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Northern Whig - Friday 15 September 1933

see Western Gazette - Friday 15 September 1933

see The Scotsman - Wednesday 13 September 1933

see Gloucestershire Echo - Thursday 14 September 1933, p1 and 6

see Lincolnshire Echo - Wednesday 13 September 1933

see Derry Journal - Wednesday 13 September 1933

see Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 20 September 1933