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CrazyFruits » African/Caribbean/UK/GeneralDiscussions » BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA - 'Petticoat Murder' unsolved

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA - 'Petticoat Murder' unsolved

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Today, we bring the final in a three-part series. Part one was published on Tuesday and Part two was published in Wednesday's paper.
ON August 24, 1965, Jamaica was awakened by a shocking newspaper report that ran on the front page of The Daily Gleaner, 'Petticoat murder of little girl'.
Six-year-old Rose Marie Angela Cooper had been strangled in her bed. 'Surbiton Road horror mystery' ran the intro to the headline - "In the early hours of August 23, her adoptive mother and White's niece by marriage, Winnifred Cooper, was found beside her on a twin bed, blood oozing from a head wound."
This all happened at two in the morning while the owner of the house at 9 Surbiton Road was asleep upstairs - he was 70-year-old George Fitzgerald White, ex-postmaster general of Jamaica! According to police reports, he was hysterical, but claimed that someone else had entered the house and committed this dreadful act. However, there were no signs of a break-in.
"On June 9, 1966, a coroner's jury unanimously found that 71-year-old White was criminally responsible for the death of Cooper who was found strangled at their home, 9 Surbiton Road, St Andrew on August 23 last year. He was charged with murder and remanded in custody," reported The Daily Gleaner. At the end of the inquest, White had vehemently denied anything to do with the murder.
Three weeks later on June 30, he appeared to have been vindicated. An application by Vivian Blake, QC, who appeared with Emil George as Counsel, George White was granted bail in the sum of PS500 by the Chief Justice Sir Rowland Phillips.
TRial opens
On November 28, 1966, the murder trial of White opened. He was charged with the murder of six-year-old Rose Marie Cooper, at the No. 1 Home Circuit Court before Justice Fox. Counsel for the defence was instructed by Douglas Brandon of Messrs A. E. Brandon and Co. Huntley Munroe, QC, director of public prosecutions conducted the prosecution's case.
A jam-packed courtroom was sensationally informed that The Crown would offer no evidence against the defendant, but the jury was given an 80-minute outline of the prosecution's allegations.
Winnifred Cooper, who had been living at the house for 15 years, was in fact Rose Marie's natural mother. Back at the time of the murder, White had claimed that she had been adopted. In October 1958, Winnifred Cooper found out that she was pregnant with Rose Marie.
On July 20, 1959, Cooper gave birth to Rose Marie at 9 Surbiton Road. White appears to have informally 'adopted' the child.
In August 1965, White had, for some reason, lied about the adoption, but Winnifred was too badly hurt from her head injuries to remember anything of the events and was, therefore, declared to the jury as an unreliable witness. Jurors were directed to forget about rumours on the street that a letter was tendered at the Coroner's Inquest relating to the paternity of Rose Marie - this was ruled as inadmissible evidence in court. White stated that he was not the child's father, but admitted that Winnifred was applying for a passport for Rose Marie just before her death.
no real evidence
Although he certainly had the opportunity, it was agreed that White had neither the motive, nor was there any real evidence against him, and it was most definitely out of character. The jury was directed to find a verdict of not guilty in which they obliged, and he was acquitted. But the contents of the mysterious letter obviously pointed the finger elsewhere.
It is probable that whoever decided to put an end to Rose Marie was her natural father, and he was most likely upset that she and her mother were planning to leave Jamaica. That person must also have been familiar with White's house in order to gain entry so easily.
No other person has ever been charged with Rose Marie's murder and the police closed the file. Perhaps that person had fled Jamaica or perhaps taken his or her own life?
Was that person Everard Aguilar? What subsequently happened to White is unrecorded. In 1965, Ronald Wong took over the Aguilar manila pre-paid postcard TRD business. What happened to him is unknown.
In 1995, John Pringle was awarded the Order of Jamaica for outstanding services to his country. In 2004, he and the Round Hill Hotel appeared on a set of the nation's stamps. He died on December 12, 2006.


which is the devil and which is the sea?


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