Police report for 24-25 Pulteney Rd Bath, Avon BA2
October 14 1927 10:15 PM
Death of Herbert on Georgina Roby.
The bodies were located in a downstairs Drawing room. The Hall door was unlocked and the French doors that let out onto a terrace were also unlocked but torn completly off their hinges. Glass and wood were found strewn about the room indicating that the person or persons came through the door from the outside. The wood of the frame on the outside of the door was scraped and chiped as if the person coming in was too big to fit through the opening but since the opening was almost 2 meters across and over 2 meters tall that seems unlikely. A single person could have kicked in the door but the way the hinges and scraping on the frame are done it looks like something quite large forced its way in or maybe more than one person came in at once.
There was no evidnce of explosives being used.
The terrace is too small for an automotive vehicle to have been used.
Checked the zoo and there have been no reports of missing elephants or gorillas.
A huge ram maybe . ( none ever found, none of the statuary apears to have been moved)
3 big men in antique plate armour hitting the door simutaniously might account for the door and the scraping on the frame… That could also account for Georgina Robys blows, a Halbard or large battle Axe swung by two different people at the about the same time one from left to right and one from right to left. Why would anyone go to the trouble of bashing through an unlocked door paticularly in a way that would indicate they were struggling to get though the opening. No one person in the world could be that large.
Georgina Roby had been killed by two slash wounds by a heavy bladed intrumen,t one across her torso and one across her face and throat. One from the left and one from the right. The attacker was very strong.
Herbert Roby was killed by a gaping stabbing wound above the left collar bone and was completely drained of blood. The depth of the wound again indicated a very strong person and the police surgeon stated he had no idea what kind of weapon could cause such a wound and drain the victim of most of its blood at the same time. There were no other cuts on the person to help with the extraction of the blood. The surgeon stated that he would figure the blood would have had to been withdrawn first and then the wound placed afterward. Except he also stated that Mr Herbert Roby was still alive at the time of the wound and he could not explain how a person could be alive with out any blood in them. Nor could we locate any of the blood afterwards. It had to have been caried out by the people who broke in. It would have required two different kinds of weapons to create the wounds on the bodies and some specialied medical equipement to extract the blood. No weapons or medical equipement matching this description were found in the room, in the surounding grounds or in Mr. Alexander Robys rooms.
Five other people were in the house at the time of the murder. The cook, Mrs Vetch, the butler, Mr Lowell, The valet Mr Dodd, the house-maid Miss West and the son, Mr Alexander Roby. The staff were all in a downstairs parlor talking and Mr. Roby was up in his room on the top floor.
All doors and windows were secured from inside except the drawing room door and Mr Alexander’s door on to his balcony, as was the custom of the house. Mr Herbert Roby was concerned of bulglaries.
Both bodies were discovered in the drawing room which is off the entrance hall on the ground floor. They were horribly mutilated in the middle of the room both of their backs were to the terrace window. It took the staff about five minutes to get to the bodies. Mr Lowell and Mr. Dodd went into the pantry and each got a hand gun from a safe that Mr. Herbert Roby had installed some years before in case of a break in. Mrs Vetch and miss West had gone up to the ground floor to watch to see if anyone came out into the entrace hall. They figure this area was under observation in some time under a minute from the time of the break-in and Miss West said she could still hear sounds coming from down the hall where the Drawing room is located but they stoped after about a minute. Mrs Vetch did not hear anything being mostly deaf.
There was a loud crash and then some screams that did not last very long some thumping sounds and then there was some screaming from further away, it sounded like Mr. Roby was screaming, or shouting. Miss West said she could clearly hear Mr Roby upstairs hysterically shouting. Mr Dobbs and Mr. Lowell stated they could both hear the screaming but could not tell where it was coming from in their position in the pantry.
After the staff found the bodies of the two in the drawing room they went up the stairs to Mr Alexander Roby’s room. When Mr. Dodd knocked on the door there was no answer but he could hear someone inside. He and Mr. Lowell opened the door and went in. The door to Mr. Alexander Robys’ room was unlocked. Mr. Roby was curled up in a corner sobbing and in a highly distraught state. He was dressed in his lounging robe and pajamas and he had the coverlet from his bed pulled off and he was wraped in it. He had also fouled himself.
All the staff stated that Mr Alexander Roby had been very close to his sister and they also stated he had not been very close with his father. That they often clashed about Mr Alexander Robys not being married and refusing to settle down to a normal job.
While trying to get him cleaned up and calmed down Mr. Dodd and Mr. Lowell stated they heard Mr. Roby said " I blew the whistle and it came, it….came!" He then broke into tears, pulled into a fetal position and started sucking his thumb.
All the staff state Mr Alexander had been very depressed and withdrawn for some time before this night but had never exihited thses symptoms before. They were unsure of the cause of the depression. Miss Wolf ventured that Mr. Alexander Roby had a lady friend that had broken up with him the year before that he had been quit taken with.
Miss Wolf found a whistle while taking off the sheets of Mr Alexander Robys’ bed. Miss West and Mr. Lowell both said they heard a shrill whilstle sound about five mintues before the disturbance. When it was blown by this detective, Mr Lowell and Miss Wolf thought the tone the same as the tone they had heard.
Miss Wold stated that the whitle had been in Mr Alexander Roby’s possession for a year or so but did not remember when he got it exactly. None of the other staff had been aware of the whistle before the night of the incident.
When this detective interviewed Mr. Alexander Roby he was babbling all over the place. He kept saiying “Poor Georgiana, poor poor georgiana. I am sorry. We will meet again in Carcosa.” then he would start wailing and bashing his head against the wall. Then he said “I am responsible, I called and it came.” At this point Mr. Alexander started screaming “The feaster, the feaster in the dark!” He then went into convulsions clamped his jaw shut on his tongue and a bloody froth started running down his chin and shirt as this detective tried to get his jaws pried open and Mr. Roby restrained.
Mr. Roby’s balcony is on the same side of the house as the drawing room door that was broken into. Checking the grounds under his window and around the terrace we could find nothing that indicated anyone had been there in the last day or so.. the Gardner had cliped the verge around the terrace about five days before and had prepared an area in front of the terrace steps to have new lawn laid. Mr Alexander Roby’s’ balcony is approximately 20 feet above the ground with no way to climb up or down.
At the base of the terrace steps was a large dirt area that the gardner was preparing to plant some grass on. This area had no tracks on it going up to the terrace. If it was someone that had come in from outside they would have had to climb the outside terrace wall without walking around and up the stairs.
It would have been quite easy for Alexander to use the whistle to summon someone from outside to attack when he saw the drawing room in use.
*The Interrogation *
This detective took Mr. Alexancer Roby in on suspicion and upon his confession. We then proceeded to interrogate him over the next three days trying to get more details about who did he hire to do this deed and how it was done. During this time the only information we could get from him was about his poor sister and that they would meet again in Carcosa and that he was somehow responsible. We could not get him to write down anything about that evening nor expound about how he was reponsible. He did not say anything more about the “Feaster in the Dark” or that he called anyone in using the whistle and at the time he had told this detective that information there was no one else around to collaborate this detectives testimony. Since it could be argued that the blowing of the whistle and the incident were not related but because of Mr Roby’s mental condition he put the two incidents together in his mind and thus felt responsible for their deaths it would not be strong enough to stand up in court. We kept trying to get a clearer confession from Mr. Roby but Mr Roby’s mental state continued to deteriate until he reached a point where he could no longer talk coherently at all no matter what kind of pressure we put him under. It was determined by the police doctor, Dr.Collingsworth, that if we conitnued the pressure we had been appling and he continued to have the seizures that he was having that he could go catatonic. With out any more evidence we had to let up on Mr Alexander Roby and turn him over to his doctor, a mr. Trollop and to some consulting Alienist that his family had bought to institutionalize him for rest.
This investigator checked the histories of the staff and Mr Alexander Roby and could not find anyting in their past that might lead one to believe they could do such a crime nor had any of them been involved in any previous crimes.
No neighbors saw anything out of the ordinary and none of this detectives usual informants could find any information that anyone had been hired to do this job.
When checking the financial records of the family no large unexplained cash withdraws were found going back over the past year. When checking the wills of the decesed it was determined that Herbert Roby’s estate was worth about 80000 pounds. This money was to be split 45% to Graham and 20 % to Alexander with another 15% in trust for Alexander should he marry. Georgina was to receive 20%. If Alexander was not married by 40 then Graham would get the 15% in the trust.
Grahame Roby is a promenent merchant banker at Coutts & Co. and was at a high brow social function with his wife the night in question. He seems to really dislike his brother and refered to him serveral times in past tense. When pressed on this he stated that his brother seemed bound and determined to do nothing with his life and was a disgrace to the family name. He also stated that I should talk to Miss Delia Hartston. He thinks she may have had something to do with Mr. Alexander Roby murdering his father and sister.
Talked with a mrs. Morrison (Hartston) She was engaged to Mr. Alexander Roby a year before the murder,. but broke it off in Noverber of 1925 and she has not talked to the gentleman since. She seemed quit shocked by what he had done and stated the man she had know could not have done anything like that. That he had truely loved his sister. She did state that Alexander and Grahame did not get along.
I got the feeling that Mrs Morrison was not telling me everything but her story checked out.
At this time we do not have enought evidence to convict Alexander Roby. Even with his statement of guilt, because it was given to an officer of the law with no supporting witnesses and because of Mr Roby’s mental condition at the time of the incident it would not hold up under cross examination. Until at some point that we can get some collaberating evidence we will have to leave this case open. Mr Alexander Roby is going to be place into a madhouse for the next two years and if he does not improve then that will be changed to permanent. If he is released then we will monitior him in the hopes that he gives his confederates away.
Andrew J. Taylor