Suppose someone died in Washington D.C.’s Pershing Park, just a few minutes walk from the White House, and nobody noticed it for three years?
Although not an exact parallel, something very similar has happened in London.
Authorities have conducted an inquest into the death of an American royal fanatic who is believed to have died three years ago in the park abutting Buckingham Palace.
According to news reports, Robert James Moore, 69, was mentally ill and obsessed with the Queen to the extent that he moved to London and secretly set up a small camp, just about 100 yards from Buckingham Palace, on a secluded island in St. James Park.
Records show that Moore arrived in the UK in 2007, and investigators believe that he died sometime in 2008.
His body, or rather his bones, were not found until March 15 of this year by a tree surgeon, “despite,” as the Daily Mail put it, “millions of tourists walking within yards of the tree-shrouded island.” The island is closed to the public.
At an inquest last week, details about Moore’s death – and troubled life – emerged.
Forensic experts said that Moore’s skull and some bones were found on a decayed yellow cushion next to some vodka bottles. Given the length of time his remains had been there, it was not possible to establish how he died, and the coroner pronounced the cause of death as “unascertained.”
Of the island Moore chose, Detective Sergeant Mike West said, “There would not be a better place to remain undiscovered with view of the Queen’s primary residence.”
Moore, said West, “had a fixation with the Queen and Royal Family.”
Moore reportedly sent the Palace hundreds of “strange and offensive” packages and letters, some of which ran as long as 600 pages.
So far, authorities have not been able to find any relatives of Moore; they don’t even know where he lived before he went to London.
Moore’s story recalled for many the case of a French woman who, during the reign of George V, eagerly stood outside Buckingham Palace because she believed that the king was sending her secret messages by moving window curtains. Her obsession was eventually turned into a clinical diagnosis, De Clerambault’s syndrome, named after the psychiatrist who studied her, to describe individuals who are mistakenly obsessed by the idea that famous people are in love with them.
In other royal-related news, with a police-blotter bent:
• The Telegraph reports that Jane Andrews, a former dresser to the Duchess of York, is being readied for a release from prison next year. In a sensational trial in 2001, Andrews was convicted of killing her boyfriend after he refused to marry her. She was sentenced to 25 years to life, which meant that, under British sentencing laws, she’s eligible for parole next year. However, in 2009, Andrews escaped from custody, only to be found two days later in a nearby motel. Some people, including relatives of her late boyfriend, thought that her escape would jeopardize her early release, but it apparently hasn’t.
• And finally, in New Zealand: the bouncer in the bar where Mike Tindall got into some tabloid trouble has pleaded not guilty to illegally accessing security camera video taken that night. The videotape extended the life of the story significantly, because it showed Tindall, newly married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, getting pretty familiar with another woman. The bouncer, Jonathan Dixon, is due back in court later this month. (via The Press Association)