White Mischief

In December 1942 a troubled aristocrat checked into a room at the Adelphi hotel in Ranelagh Place,Liverpool. He was carrying a lethal quantity of Medinal, a barbiturate that depresses most metabolic functions in high doses. He proceeded to inject himself with the substance, at least fourteen times, until he sank into unconsciousness and died.

His name was Sir John Henry "Jock" Delves Broughton. A few months earlier, in Kenya, he had been acquitted at a trial for the murder of Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll, who had been having an affair with Broughton's wife, formerly Diana Caldwell, later Diana Cholmondeley, Baroness Delamere.

From the information available now, mainly from an accomplice whose papers were published after his death, Broughton was indeed guilty of killing Erroll in 1941. Such was his influence at the time, that he was able to pursuade many friends and servants alike, to keep silent.

And now the Cholmondeleys are in trouble over a death in Africa, a death from among the tight community of white Africans known originally as the Happy Valley set. This time it is Thomas Cholmondeley, heir apparent to the Delamere Baronetcy, who was in court this week, accused of shooting a poacher. In what has been trailed as a politically significant prosecution, Thomas Cholmondeley has been found guilty of manslaughter. He has already spent three years in jail, and it remains to be seen whether he is freed or made to do more time.

These days, with the White Man being the embodiment of evil in Africa, Thomas Cholmondely has no such recourse. Local politics demands that he should be found guilty, on the slenderest of evidence.

"Fred Ojiambo, Cholmondeley’s lawyer, said that he was “amazed” by the verdict and would prepare an appeal after sentencing next Tuesday. “The judge ignores the scientific evidence."

The extent of Cholmondeley's culpability in the affair is not clear, but it seems that justice, in both cases, justice does not seem to have been served and modern prejudice and discrimination have merely changed partners by exchanging White hegemony for Black. Justice should be blind to colour. In Africa, it wasn't 70 years ago under white rule, and it appears not to be now under black rule.



globetrotter said...

Who was Sir Delves accomplice and where can I access the published papers?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dear Globetrotter,

The link that gives the details is here: