Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Watching and wading

There was a green bottle attached to a belt attached to a safety pin attached to string." This, some vodka bottles, a decayed yellow cushion, and some forms of identification were all that were found with the skeleton of American Robert James Moore. The remains had been discovered during a biannual visit to West Island on March 15th by a gardener working on behalf of the Royal Parks. The tree-covered island (2nd image), which can only be accessed by wading, swimming, or boat, is located at the end of St. James’s Park and has an unimpeded view of Buckingham Palace (1st image). The "leash" had been used by Mr. Moore (who, by the way, has a drunk driving conviction on his record) to attach his alcohol to his person in case any of the other rough sleepers tried to steal it. The ID revealed him to be in his 60s and his U.S. passport matched the copy once sent to Elizabeth II. “He had a fixation with the Queen and the Royal family," said Detective Sergeant Mike West at an inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court last week. It was revealed that Moore, who had been in the U.K. since 2007 and suffered from mental health problems, had sent hundreds of disturbing packages to the Queen over a period of 15 years, including obscene photographs, letters that ran to 600 pages, and boxes falsely warning that they contained dangerous substances. The circumstances have been compared to a historical case of erotomania identified in 1921, in which a 53-year-old French woman named Lea-Anna haunted Buckingham Palace believing that King George V was signalling her through the window. I prefer the comparison with Queen Victoria's stalker. Moore's death was initially ruled as suspicious, but he had not been reported as missing, he was estimated to have died about 3 years earlier, and no cause of death could be established. Coroner Dr. Fiona Wilcox said, “If ever next of kin of this gentleman are discovered I would hope my sympathies will be passed on for their loss.”

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