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Series 5: 6. Fox



Leading criminal barristers Jeremy Dein QC and Sasha Wass QC reinvestigate a case of matricide dating from the 1920s, in which a renowned fraudster went to the gallows accused of murdering his mother. \n\nKent, 1929. On the evening of 23 October, in the coastal town of Margate, a distraught guest of the Hotel Metropole stormed downstairs into the lobby. That guest was Sydney Fox. He screamed that his mother’s room was on fire, and begged for help. A brave bystander managed to pull the body of Sydney's mother, Rosaline Fox, out of the smoke-filled bedroom, but it was too late. She had already passed away. \n\nIt looked like a tragic accident, but within a few days Sydney Fox tried to claim on his deceased mother’s life insurance policies, which would pay out a substantial amount in the event of accidental death. Rosaline Fox’s body was exhumed and analysed by the famous pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury, who concluded that she had, in fact, been strangled – basing his opinion on a bruise that subsequently disappeared. \n\nAfter the investigation, Fox was arrested and charged for the historically rare crime of matricide. The prosecution case against him was that he had strangled his mother and then started the fire deliberately to make it look like an accident, enabling his claim on the life insurance policies. \n\nAt trial, Sydney Fox pleaded his innocence, but forensic findings proved damning, and he was found guilty of murder. On 8 April 1930, at Maidstone Prison, Sydney Fox was hanged. \n\nToday, Sydney Fox’s relative Laura and her friend Simon are keen to have the case re-examined and have enlisted the help of the barristers. Sasha and Jeremy explore the motive and whether the forensic findings of the day, including fire and pathology evidence, stand up to modern-day scrutiny. \n\nWill they be able to uncover new evidence to indicate that Sydney Fox’s conviction was unsafe?

Source: BBC 1

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