THE SETON TRAGEDY.
COLONTEL RUTHERFORD'S TRIAL. SOME SENSATIONAL EVIDENCE. I The first stages of the inquiry into tbe ' sensational shooting tragedy in London were | entered upon hj Mr C. Luxmoore Drew at j Kensington Coroner's Court, and tbe tre-| uiendous interest aroused by the romance and drama, together with the as yet unsolved mystery surrounding the tragedy, brought a large crowd to the court anslous to get a glimpse of the principals lc the case, and to hear first hand something ol what led to the shooting of Major Miles Medical Corps, at the residence of Ms cousin. Sir Malcolm Seton. the distinguished Civil servant, at Clarendon Road, Holland I , ark. In connection with the death or Major Seton. Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Cecil Rutherford, D.5.0., of Carshalton Place. CarsUalton. stands charged with wilful murder. Mr Trovers Humphreys appeared for Lleutenant-Colom. Rutherford, Sir Arch! bald Bodkin represented the Director of Public Prosecutions. Sir H. D. Muir was present as counsel representing Mrs Rutherford. Colonel Rutherford was not present. The Coroner, In opening the Inquiry, said the Major was a Major in the Australian Medical Forces and on tiie night in question was at the residence of Sir Malcolm Seton. his cousin. Colonel Rutherford called, and was shown into a room. Major Seton, who was in the same room with Sir Malcolm Seton and Lady Seton, went and joined Colonel Rutherford. Shots were beard. Sir Malcolm and Lady Seton ran down to the drawingrooin. and dead or dying. Standing by was Colonel Rutherford. Sir Malcolm Setr.n. the cousin of the deceased, identified the body. Deceased was 44 years of age, and was an Kdlaburgn man. and a fully-qualified medical man. ing in Melbourne, and he joined up in 1015. being on duty in Egypt, and subsequently in England. Deceased. Sir Malcolm said, had also seen se-vice in South Africa. He and r favourite. Coming to last Monday evening. Sir Malcolm said Major Seton visited him just after dinner, and was very cheerful. He was shown up to his iwltoess'i smoking-room, and he chatted for some time with witness nnd his wife. About 1 ten o'clock the door bell rang and tbe maid "ame up and said "Colonel someone wishes to speak to Captain Seton.' Thinking it was a friend of his Lady Seton said to deceased "Won't you bring him up here?" but Major Seton went downstairs to tbe risitor. FIVE REVOLVER SHOTS. After the two had been downstairs about a quarter of an hour witness continued, he heard the sound of four or five plstul shots, the first four being in rapid succession. "I sprang up and nished downstairs, followed by my wife, and as I did so I beard groar.s. Downstairs I saw the body of an officer lying in the hull." The Coroner: Would you suggest that the deceased was leaving the room at the time? Witness: Possibly so. Continuing, witness said he could not tell which of the two was lylr.g in the hall, but he rushed forward, and saw a tall, strange officer standing in the diningroom on the other side of the dininsroom. There was a good light. Tbe Coroner: What happened? Witness: I am not very clear, but I believe I called out. "Did you do this?" Colonel Rutherford answered very quietly, "Yes." I The Coroner: Was he eiclted or calm? Witness: He was in a curiously calm state, as if his whole mind had been concentrated on something which was over and he did not care what happened after that. Continuing, witness said his wife called I out. "Oh! you have killed Miles." and either In answer to that or in answer to his (witness') question. Colonel Rutherford said in a rather passionate, sad voice. "1 only wish I had another bullet in myself." LADY SKTON'S EVIDENCE. Lariy Seton corroborated her husband's evidence. While she was in the hall she heard the noise of a pistol clicking. Sh" said: "I'ut that down at once." She askC'l the colonel to promise not to touch it again. He said. "I promise you." and he gave a laugh, and remarked. "I would not have promised you if It was any use to mc." r>r. J. W. Brown, who was colled by Sir j Malcolm Seton. said Major Seton was dead when he arrived. Colonel Rutherford, who opened tbe door for witness, said nothing. Tbe police siirtccn said that from his bullet wound? r.n Major Seton but no ' bullets. There was no sinselnsr on the body cr the clothine. Colonel Itntberford was quite sober, hut in a very dazed and excitable condition, but he answered questions very distinctly. Witness paw no sign of a strugglp or any injury about him. Elizabeth Lowth. 5 former housemaid to Mrs. Rutherford, said that Colonel an.! Mrs. Rutherford did noc live happily together. Colonel Rutherford was .-.way in France a good deal. He came on January «. and lived at "'arshnlton u-p to the time that he went to London, on January 8. On January 13. added witness. Mrs. Rutherford rang the b°;i for mc after 7 o'clock in the evening, and I went upstairs immediately. Colonel Rutherford -was In the bedroom with Mr* Rutherford, and he knmted Mr?. Rutherford on the bed. She told mc :o wait i few moments, and while j walt'ns outride I hftird a noise, and tried To jet into the bei'rr.nm hut Colonel P.utherfnrd prevented my doina so. I heard Colonel Rutherford speaking lonJly. ; hilt could not understand what lie sflid. I , went <lownstn! r s. nnd when in the na!l Mrs. • nnd asked mc to fefb the Colonel's hag. MAJOR SETON'S VISITS. I asked Colonel Rutherford what lie wanted packed, and lie replied "God ■ knows—l don't." i He pu: some letters In h:s bag. but, ■ added witness", she could cot say from wbom tfa*?v w"^re. Witness added that she saw Major Seron I In l'-'l , ) ;it t,i6 house. H* mc as 3 visitor I st Colonel Rutherford's invitation. Witj ness added th.it she nest siw Major Seton ! at Hanover House. Regent's Park, -where i Mrs. Rutherford was staving. Colonel j Rutherford was then in France. Major J Seton did not stop any nigh: at Hanover i Hou«e. Wlrnose said Major Setnn stayed I for a week-end at Oarebaltotl Place last j September, and -r.iyed a: the borjse a week I at r '£irisTi.as. There were no other guests ' in the ho::se on eirber occasion, and Colonel ■ Rutherford was in Prance. 1 The Coroner produced a photograph, wbi.-h witness Identified as that of Major Setor., Mr=. Rutherford, and one of the children. Tjj photozrapti was taken at ' Mill Hi.!. LADY SETQX BURNS A LKTTER. Lady Se-.on. re-called, said that on the . evening of January 13, Colonel Rutherford . took an envelope from the breast pocket of his great coat and asked her if she would : do him a favour by burning i-. She gave
ordinary envelope. Colonel Rutherford sal,' 'Thank you " There na- a tire in the diningroom. Inn the letter was destroyed by being lit with matches. Inspector Savage said that when be charged Colonel Kutherfjrd after tile trntredv. be asked to v nie-s;igp to hU wife, and wrote on a piece of paper, which he crumpled up and threw on the floor. Th,. Coroner read this ns follows:—"Am sorry the w.. r >t pos-tble has happened. Seton la dead —Norman." The Coroner then summed up. and the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against colonel Rutherford. COLONEL RUTHERFOKD OX TRIAL. The hearing of thf i-harge of wilful murder preferred a.-iins; Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford took plate at the West London Police Court. Sir Archibald I'.odkln. tor the prosecution, reviewed ;h» evMence nt the. Inquest, ned pnveeiJed to say that In a regrettable occurrence of that kind one naturally looked to rind an explanation for tbe deliberate conduct of tje accused—-de-liberate because, following shortly upon the scene a: Cinlialton !'l.t c, he packed his Uα- 3 ud as ri'pidly as he cm:!.l w.-;it directly to the li..i»p in which it wa» clear he thought he would lie able to find Major Seton. and then, a.'re.- a s;.jrp In whl.-h no sounds of rju irrel'.ine "r trouble of any kind were heard, the murder took plac-. "In the has:." continued Sir Archibald, "I venture to think it Is clear will he found that explanation, for air.'-nest the letters In the li: r le packet or !i':n<:io In the bag. will be produced as evidence b*-f*>re you, there are rive of them to which I wUr. to draw your attention. They ranee from July JT. 101S, to November 20. IMS. and all of them are letters written by Mrs. Rutherford to her husband. Xmr, the first one. dated July 21. according to my copy, does not nppear to he a complete lette-, but it may lie. I have not seen the original yet. It r~i.] as follows: — Yonr loi.g letter came this evening, and the few wor.Jj at the end rend my heart. In refusing forgiveness? ' Only come ba'-k to ine t<> help tup to complete the tusk we undertook together. I believe my love for you to be the :nos t vital par: of my lire, for. in driving you o u t of my life 1 have suffered torture-, both mentll Hnd pb.f»lrnl. which mu-'t surely in flic end have killed mc. Love mc with the strength of y.mr belr,~. and I will nor fail. Come back to mc when the opportunity is given to you. and 1 will be waiting as eve-. -BEEN THItOrOH HELL." The nest letter, continue! sir Archibald. was addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Itutberford in l-'rar.-e. It was written from Carshalton Place, .-.n.! read: — Do.i- Normar.. — \<>n blamed mc once for not being surtViertly • .-liMli'l with you. and this time I will i.e." I have been through hell th's la*.; week, alone and with none to help mc. Imt I am climbing nut. though a difTerer.t woman writes yon —one who will ne'er return to the old reiriuie. The Jay In the flat u!,e" you s O 111-feat*] mc Harry went up to Bird and Rird and put the -a-e before them. They asked mc to go in .in 1 see them, and conjured rre to ?et n divorc as the only s.i:ie method, nnd I refusedrefse<l U with te-an. be. au-e I thought I s.il loved you Now I kiww that I do n-t. that I have Dot an atom of trust :t: your promise, ard only aw;iy from you can I be happy acain ThN i- mv hist wor I. I | hnre sf mcled ami tr ! od. 'rusted and hoped. '■hut the end is Inevitable, and in lominon '■ just:-e I had If. ;e>! you «o. i t.ike | no steps, do nntbin: further, but only ! battle alone ns before. I am sorry ] for you. but I cannni act otherwise. | Then, after an interval of some six j week 1 ", there was a third letter, dated ; O'-tober 24. a.-o from Carshalton Place. It ■ read: — 1 Pear Normnn. —' need not waste words ir I making explanations. Y..,ir knowledge 01 ! my nature will make yon realise wh.it it hns cost mc to write you these few :inc~ I want to mm my frPt-loni v.ltn as l!tt!< fUfferlne for you as p.,s<i!ile. jnd If. for ta< child's s.-,ke. you will ngreo to .:irrv tin ' thing tbroneb with as little publicity a. 1 possible I will hand over the three el,lei I children to you. Honestly. I believe tha that would be the happier for you. and I would at b-:ist give you some lioid on ilfe I should not feel that you were utter!} : broken. Tilts is n difficult letter to write. Pleis. make the rot of my tnt>h -is e'~y as pos . sjhle for the s?t» nf al! I linvf s.i fai ho.ne for you When I wr te to yoi about seven weeks ago. explaining my rea feelings wirh recard to our fu'-.re. 1 knew I that you would, in all p-..liability, aftrll.uti the <anse of it :o e\trenie mental :in' physical striin. due to what I w;i« havlnx to cope with quite alone at the iirii». ; have, therefore, purpo-w'.y waited for r a*k yon to put no 01.-t.t le in the wny r.f £ divorce if I l>. ing an n'-tii.n against you. ! The nevr letter, said sir Archibald, was .dated November V. and acknowledge 1 a :letrer from, tbe accused of November :;. it I ran: — j Your letter of the nrd has j,,«; arrived jMy tender-heartpdness and generosi-v the past were generally taken advantage of and used as an additional scourge to ichildren. But yon will never z*; them. 'You give mc no credit for wha: I !v;ve rlon^ jfor you. though you know Pa nn'l imeaning tv,-o of her dauzhtersi both love mc before anyone eise. and that my firstborn son loves mc and is un iei*st.ood by mc to a very unusual degree. You know by jyour violent temper and frequent iU-usags
jof mc you have suffered in the eye of the . i-hlldreii. it .sen!* that It is better for ■ Iliem to hav e one parent whom they can , respect, and for that reason I wl.-h to ' [save them from the horribie scandal of Idlvorce proceedings. I mirht have known . you tvould lake my generosity as a sign of I , weakness. So be i:. The minute you walk jinto this house I shall leave It and go to .my parent-, who will then see Justice dono for mc. Your lov e for mc is of the wrong I kind. Your love has always h.-en artificial. Yon crossly al.iise.l the ocepc>t lov-« a 1 woman had for a miin. and tbe remainder ■ of your life w'.ll be a curse to you for evermore. Don't think I shall be denied jus- ' tlco. i served you well and faithfully, and shall reap the reward accordingly. Don't i think you will escape Justice for having 'deceived m,. and treated mc unfaithfully. j Th-> last letter, said counsel, was dated "jNuvrmlicr Xi. an,l was as follows:— ; I am very unhappy. Mr. Bird is going ,to write to you about divorce proceedings, 1 ;and be may tell you that I still care for you. Candidly, other m«n would be no ! n.ore than episodes in my life to mc. You - were life ltielf, but that does not alter the ! fact that life often appears very worth- - less and I would give anything for a merci- - fi:l Providence to get mc out of It. I don't i think that anyone realises that the love I 1 gave you can neither completely die nor t be repeated, but I am convinced that your - nature will never change, and that only r <inhappiness lies with you. Mrs. Clark has , been Maying with m<\ and left this morn- • i.i;. feeling very unhappy about mc. She alone knows what you meant to mc in the years v-one by, and how unable I am to ! forget you. Please help mc. for divorce is j thf only mcan.s of my obtaining happiness. : Sir Archibald, continuing, said that the I visits of Major Seton to Car-halton Place. j together with the letters raich he was ! , receiving, may have given I.lent. Colonel ! "iKutherford the suspicion, whfther rightly 1 or wrongly, whether well-founded or 111----founded, that Mrs Rutherford had been unfaithful to him with Major Seron. and then he formed tbe Intention to kill Majoi ~ Seton. ■■ SHOOTS DEFENCELESS MAN." 1' "All the circumstances which I am de- ■ tailing and narrating to you of his conduct | j at ('arxbulton Place, his coming up to , I! London, his leaving behind him. because which wa.s found in his room, but armed. .".s apparently no one knew he was armed i wvjli this other weapon—all these clrcum- I r stances are those of deliberation." said Sir ' 1 Archibald. "lie comes to 1-ondon, and after an Interview 'n which apparently I [her.- nn* no trmv of a quarrel, he shoots I a defenceless man at a time when that • .man Is s..eking to get out of the room in tj which these two were. That of course - quite clearly indicates that ta.- crime of 1 wilful murder was committed. I expect to ; prove the facts I have laM before you. r ami it will he for you to say whether I there Is any other course to be taken than > for you to commit the accused for trial." , After evidence fty Sir Malcolm Setnn. 1 Amy Millw-ar.i la parlourmaid), and Dt-rec--1 tiie-ln.-pei tor Trott. mc accused was formal'.y remanded for a week in custody. I
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THE SETON TRAGEDY., Auckland Star, Volume L, Issue 70, 22 March 1919
THE SETON TRAGEDY. Auckland Star, Volume L, Issue 70, 22 March 1919
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