(anonymised), 22-09-1968 09:10


22-09-1968 09:10



testimony record

Q: What did you do after arriving to the cottage today?

A: I searched the place, looking for (anonymised). Then I checked the studio and then the swimming pool.

Q: You mean you saw the Rolls-Royce in the swimming pool, and still, you checked the studio first?

A: Yes. It wouldn’t be the first time he has done something like that.

Q: You mean he sunk a car in a swimming pool before?

A: Yes, about... a year and half ago.

Q: Here?

A: No, it was in a hotel in France.

Q: He drove a car in to the swimming pool?

A: Yes, he swam out when it was sinking.

Q: Why would he do that?

A: He was... He was taking a lot of drugs back then.

Q: "Back then"? Do you mean he doesn’t use narcotics any more?

A: No, I managed to persuade him to find help.

Q: What kind of help?

A: I found a doctor, who helped him break the addiction cycle. That and we also moved away from London and people, who kept him addicted.

Q: And he was 100% clean of any narcotics?

A: Yes, for almost 6 months now. But...

Q: But...?

A: He wasn’t in a good shape lately, and he started to drink more than usual.

Q: You were away last night?

A: Yes, I spent the last few days with my mother in Bognor Regis.

Q: Why?

A: We... we had an argument.

Q: Does this have something to do with bruising around your eye?

A: Yes.

Q: Did he hit you before?

A: No... Yes... It’s... it’s hard to explain.

Q: As I understand, he was famous.

A: Yes, The Firecrackers. Have you heard of them?

Q: No, I can’t say that I have. Are they some sort of pop group?

A: They are a rock band. Have you heard of The Beatles? They might be the next big thing.

Q: And he was part of the group?

A: Yes and no... He was one of the founders of the group, but recently, they were not on good terms. That’s why he drank more than usual.

Q: Do you think he might have killed himself?

A: No... I don’t know.

Q: How did you arrive here today?

A: I took a taxi from the train station.

Q: What time?

A: I don’t know, some time after 8 o’clock.

Q: How long is the journey from Bognor Regis?

A: About... four hours?

Q: Do you have a car?

A: Yes, but I left it in London when we moved here.

Q: What kind of car is it?

A: A yellow Fiat 500.

Q: Why you left it in London?

A: It’s a small car, would not be practical here.

Q: And one last thing - when was the last time you spoke to (anonymised)?

A: Yesterday. I phoned him to tell him that I’m coming back.

Q: What time was that?

A: About 4 o’clock.

Q: Was he happy to hear that?

A: Yes, but... I think he was a bit drunk at the moment.

Q: Why have you came back?

A: He needed me.

(anonymised), 22-09-1968 09:50


22-09-1968 09:50



testimony record

Q: Have you seen anything unusual lately around the residence of (anonymised)?

A: Unusual? There was nothing "usual" about (anonymised).

Q: In what way?

A: In any way. He was annoying, he was noisy, he didn’t care about others, he was bringing the whole area into the gutter!

Q: What exactly was he doing?

A: Ask the local police, I wasted enough time reporting him, but of course nothing was done! He was blasting this rubbish he calls music, he was driving like a madman down the roads, he was screaming his lungs off in the middle of the night, he scared the sheep on the field, he smashed a brand new Jaguar on the tree and it was left there for a week. He was a nightmare!

Q: And all of it was recently?

A: Recently? He bought that cottage only 4 months ago and from day one he was acting like he owns the whole area.

Q: By "recently" I meant last few days.

A: Last few days? No, last few days he was rather quiet as a matter of fact.

Q: When was the last time you saw him?

A: I very rarely saw him, actually. If anything, he was a loud fellow.

Q: So when was the last time you heard him?

A: Thursday, I think. He was again making noise at ungodly hour.

Q: What kind of noise?

A: The one he calls "music".

Q: And it was early in the morning or late at night?

A: Late at night. I called the local police, they told me they will take care of it, but of course done absolutely nothing.

Q: How long was he playing the music?

A: I don’t know. Twenty minutes, maybe half an hour.

Q: And it was Thursday, around what time?

A: After nine, perhaps close to ten o’clock. Wait a minute, there was someone... I think. Saturday evening I think I saw a car leaving the cottage.

Q: Who was driving it?

A: No idea, I just saw a glimpse of it.

Q: Would you be able to identify the car?

A: No, I just... It was in some bright colour, that’s all.

Q: What time was it?

A: Let me see... I was listening to the weather forecast on BBC, then went to check the gate, so... it must have been perhaps half past six.

(anonymised), 22-09-1968 10:20


22-09-1968 10:20



testimony record

Q: You are...?

A: (anonymised), I’m the manager of The Firecrackers.

Q: Why are you here?

A: (anonymised) called me after she phoned the police.

Q: Why?

A: Why do you think? Look at her! She is in shock, she didn’t know what to do.

Q: (anonymised) is part of the band?

A: Well... formally yes, but lately he... was taking a break from music.

Q: What does that mean?

A: He had some health problems and could not take part in Germany tournée.

Q: Health problems like... what?

A: Is this really the best time to ask questions like that? Why don’t you look for the killer?

Q: What makes you think (anonymised) was killed?

A: Why? You think he killed himself by driving a Rolls-Royce into the swimming pool? That’s ridiculous.

Q: It might have been an accident.

A: Yeah, he meant to drive into the living room, but missed a bit... Is this really the best the local police can do? Stand around and ask stupid questions?

Q: I will ask again: why are you here?

A: To protect interests of (anonymised) and the group.

Q: Are you a lawyer?

A: Yes, as it happens, I’m a lawyer. Now, could you get on with your work and find the killer? Or perhaps you have something better to do? Perhaps you would like to know my alibi?

Q: Do you have one?

A: As a matter of fact, I do. Yesterday evening I was a guest of Lord Pennington, he held a party in his residence, so there would be at least 50 witnesses. I left before midnight and spent the rest of the night at home in Kensington, my chauffeur and my maid will verify this.

Q: That was a lucky coincidence, wasn’t it?

A: What was?

Q: That you were at a party when (anonymised) was drowning. By the way, what makes you think he drowned yesterday? We don’t have the autopsy results yet.

A: What?! I don’t know when he died, I returned to Britain yesterday about 4 o’clock, so unless you have any other brilliant traps for me to fall into, I would strongly suggest you get on with your work. Or perhaps you suspect (anonymised) now?

Q: No, right now, she is not a suspect.

A: I should think not!

Q: When was the last time you saw (anonymised)?

A: About... a month ago. We had a meeting of the group and (anonymised) was there.

Q: What was the meeting about?

A: Now, that he was off the drugs, he wanted to come back.

Q: And what was the conclusion of that meeting?

A: As a matter of fact, there wasn’t one. The boys told him they will need some time to think about it.

Q: I was told he founded The Firecrackers, so...

A: Yes, he has, but that was in times of their old manager. I told them straight away: if you want to be successful, you will have to make use of every opportunity.

Q: So, what went wrong?

A: What went wrong? Because of the drugs he was unable to perform in some of the concerts during the US tour two years ago, then during tournée in Germany he started an affair with the wife of (anonymised), the lead singer. You can take a wild guess how well recording of their new album went after that.

Q: He had an affair with wife of lead singer? What is her name?

A: You already met her, it was (anonymised).

Q: What happened during the recording of that album?

A: He and (anonymised)... they had a row, fists were flying around, they ended up firing their manager.

Q: And you replaced him?

A: Yes, someone had to put them all in their place, otherwise they would be history by now. I told (anonymised) she is the person that can destroy the group, so she has to decided what she wants to do.

Q: And she...?

A: She and (anonymised) took a divorce, and she moved in with (anonymised). A few months later, during a break between concerts in France, (anonymised) drove a car into a swimming pool in a hotel, this started the row all over again, so I brought (anonymised) to replace him for the rest of the performances and sent him home. When they are on a verge of signing a huge contract with a record company, it’s not a great moment to air your dirty laundry in front of the cameras.

Q: Was there any repercussion of this incident?

A: Of course. The record company put the negotiations on hold, so the boys were not happy about it. In April, we made another tour around England, with (anonymised) as guitar player, during that time (anonymised) convinced (anonymised) to get off the drugs.

Q: Was he successful?

A: Yes, he looked much better the last time I saw him. (anonymised) told me he was clean for few months now.

Q: So, what were the chances of his comeback to The Firecrackers?

A: Slim. And that might be an overstatement. The boys talked about it after the meeting in August, but (anonymised) was already settling in within the group, they had their doubts (anonymised) was really ready to come back and that he will fall back into bad habits. They were just touring Germany and Netherlands, (anonymised), the drummer, was ready to take (anonymised) back, but the others... Let’s just say it didn’t go well, our bass player, (anonymised), did not stay until the end, he returned home a day early.

Q: Why was it such a divisive topic?

A: (anonymised), (anonymised) and the former manager, (anonymised), they were close friends when The Firecrackers were formed, (anonymised) and (anonymised) felt like outsiders back then. When I took over, the balance within the group was changing. They both, (anonymised) and (anonymised), were determined to sign the contract as quickly as possible, so they were worried that return of (anonymised) might postpone it again or the record company will drop them completely. Plus, there was the "The Thames is so blue" drama...

Q: What was that?

A: (anonymised) and (anonymised) had this ongoing argument which one of them wrote their biggest hit, you know, the "The Thames is so blue without you"...

Q: Let’s pretend I know what are you talking about...

A: It doesn’t really matter, they were arguing for over 2 years now which one of them really wrote the song, that was their big breakthrough.

Q: And who really wrote it?

A: I don’t care one way or the other, it’s just a childish quarrel really. I was putting both their names as authors on the records, but this only seemed to make it worse.

Q: But even though there was no chance (anonymised) could be with The Firecrackers again, you kept in touch with (anonymised)?

A: Yes. I mean, formally he is still the group member. Well, he was...

Q: If he knew there will be no way back for him, do you think he might have killed himself?

A: Everything is possible. But I doubt it. He was off the drugs, he was doing better, he got the studio installed in the outbuilding.

Q: What kind of car do you have?

A: Which one?

Q: How many cars do you have?

A: Four. Two Bentleys, one Rolls-Royce and one Jaguar.

Q: What colour?

A: Again: which one?

Q: All of them.

A: One Bentley is black, one is white, Rolls-Royce is silver, Jaguar is in racing green.

Q: Do you drive any of them?

A: If I have to. Usually, my chauffeur drives me everywhere in one of the Bentleys.

Q: When was the last time you drove any of them yourself?

A: Months ago.

access full case file