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Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 52
Location : Down South.
|Subject: Charles Edward Luard Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:18 am|| |
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St Peter Churchyard
Plot: Churchyard.Murder Mystery!
The Seal Chart Murder
"The story of the murder of Mrs. Luard in 1908 is one of the most intriguing unsolved murders this century. It is made all the more fascinating by the memories and theories of the descendants of people who knew both the victim and the chief suspect, and who heard the shots ringing out on that fateful day in August.
The story in brief.
On the afternoon of Monday, 24th. August, 1908, Major-General Charles Luard and his wife Caroline left their home at Ightham Knoll for a walk with their dog. General Luard wanted to collect his golf clubs from the clubhouse at Godden Green. They went through private woods belonging to their neighbours on the Frankfield estate, passing en route a secluded summer-house which they and their neighbours often used. At the time the summer-house was empty and locked.
Before they reached the end of the wood, Mrs. Luard decided to retrace her steps home as she was expecting a guest to tea. The couple parted at a wicket gate on the path. General Luard took the dog and proceeded out of the woods and on, by road and footpath, to the clubhouse. He was seen by witnesses on his way there. Having collected his clubs, he returned home via the main road instead of going back through the woods.
Arriving home he found the guest, Mrs. Stewart, waiting to have tea, but no sign of his wife. After tea, he went back along the woodland path that he and his wife had taken earlier, and found Mrs. Luard lying dead on the veranda of the summer-house. She had been shot in the head and three rings and a small purse had been stolen.
The murder caused a national sensation, and although the local police called in Scotland Yard, the murderer was never caught. With no swift resolution to the case, rumour and accusation soon focussed on the general and, despite his alibi that he had been walking to the clubhouse at the time established for his wife's shooting (3.15 p.m.), he began receiving anonymous letters accusing him of the murder.
The general went to stay with friends, and a few weeks after his wife was shot, on the very day he was due to travel to Southampton to meet his son returning from South Africa, General Luard threw himself in front of a train on the railway line at Teston.
The inquest verdict on Mrs. Luard was 'murder by person or persons unknown' and that on General Luard 'suicide while temporarily insane'. The murder was never solved and the police files have been destroyed. The General and Mrs. Luard are both buried in Ightham churchyard."
Charles Edward Luard court marshalled for his involvement in the campaign."The fight to re-establish Durnford's reputation was led by his brother, Edward Durnford, his fiancée, Miss Frances Ellen Colenso, daughter of John William Colenso, Bishop of Natal, and Charles Edward Luard. Luard made himself party to a letter writing campaign, accusing fellow officers of a conspiracy to blacken Durnford’s name. He was subsequently court martialled and censured for his actions."