Response #38: A Note from Robert Fabian of Scotland Yard

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This letter was written to author and criminal historian Richard Whittington-Egan a few weeks before Robert Fabian passed away. In the letter, Fabian explains to Whittington-Egan his true feelings about the case of Charles Walton. 

May 25, 1978

Many years ago, I was put on the case of Charles Walton. Twenty years to the day to be exact. It was quite a peculiar case indeed and one that I’ll never forget. I spent many weeks trying to discover and physical evidence to convict the murderer, but I failed. To this day, I am still in awe of how spotless the murder scene seemed to be. Not one piece of evidence to lead us anywhere. We questioned hundreds of people. No one in the town volunteered to answer my questions, but they all politely agreed when I came knocking. A small town always keeps its secrets. Too bad this secret was one worth sharing, but obviously the residents of Lower Quinton thought otherwise.

To this day, I know who killed Charles Walton, and it kills me to know that the murderer never received the punishment he deserved, but there was simply no evidence to prove it. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that case and the haunting town of Lower Quinton. The people there were wrapped up in folklore, which eventually led me to believe that witchcraft was the reason behind old Walton’s murder. I know better now. A small town like Lower Quinton can use an excuse like that with ease to protect their own.

The people were so convinced that Walton had threatened the livelihood of their crops by letting toads loose on their property.

Alfred Potter killed Charles Walton. I don’t care what kind of witchcraft mumbo jumbo they feed you. It’s not true, none of it! Potter led Edith, Walton’s niece, and Harry Beasley, her neighbor, straight to the murder scene. I don’t think that was any coincidence, but how does one prove that? Potter was the last person to see Walton alive. They always had a sort of feud about them too. Something about money lent and owed. Potter just wanted to get rid of Walton so he wouldn’t have to pay off his debts. Throwing the witchcraft theory on Walton’s death was an easy fix and in Lower Quinton, an easy story to buy.

I’m just so sad that I could never prove the murder, but I’m telling you that I know for a fact the man did it. Now, he’s rotting in a grave somewhere, hopefully getting a dose of what he deserves in the afterlife. Maybe the witches will have their way with him now. I wanted to tell you all of this so you would let the world know that I bought the witchcraft story for a while. I never had the courage to come clean about my suspicions because there was no hard evidence and my reputation as an upstanding detective at Scotland Yard was on the line. Now that I am on my deathbed, I have nothing to lose. Do with this letter what you will. Once again, there is nothing more I can do, but maybe by these words, someone else will find the will power to prove Potter guilty.

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