Cape Bre­ton mur­der mys­tery from 1923 pre­sented tonight

Cape Breton Post - - OUR COMMUNITY -

SYD­NEY — A mur­der mys­tery once called “one of the most baf­fling in the crim­i­nal records of Cape Bre­ton” will be the sub­ject of a talk at the next meet­ing of the Old Syd­ney So­ci­ety.

Matthew Cook’s talk, Mur­der or Sui­cide? The Mys­te­ri­ous Death of Edie Brails­ford, Do­min­ion, 1923, will be held at 7 p.m. to­day at the Cen­tre for Her­itage and Sci­ence (the Lyceum), 225 Ge­orge St, Syd­ney.

On the evening of Nov. 23, 1923, in the busy Cape Bre­ton coal min­ing town of Do­min­ion, a young English im­mi­grant was found shot to death in her fi­ancé’s house. John Doucette was im­me­di­ately ac­cused of the mur­der of his fi­ancé, Edie Brails­ford.

The grand jury and trial that fol­lowed in the win­ter of 1923-24 heard the tes­ti­mony of the lo­cal doc­tor and many neigh­bours. Ru­mours and hearsay were brought be­fore the court. Tes­ti­mony and news­pa­per ar­ti­cles re­vealed the rocky re­la­tion- ship for which Brails­ford left her pre­vi­ous fi­ancé, Charles Hig­gin­botham, who paid her pas­sage from Eng­land.

The doc­tor claimed that Edie could not have killed her­self; a let­ter to her un­cle in Eng­land sug­gested she had no in­ten­tion to harm her­self, but every­one in the house at the time was nowhere near the girl when the shot was heard.

In a mys­tery wor­thy of an Agatha Christie novel, each per­son was an al­ibi for the other. Brails­ford’s death, ruled a sui­cide, re­mains a mys­te­ri­ous event that is now re­vis­ited af­ter more than 80 years.

Old Syd­ney So­ci­ety pre­sen­ta­tions are recorded for broad­cast by Eastlink tele­vi­sion, and are also streamed lived on the In­ter­net. This week’s talk will be avail­able at http://www.us­tream.tv/chan­nel/mur­der-or-sui­cide-the-mys­te­ri­ous-death-of-edie-brails­ford­do­min­ion-1923-by-matthew-cook.

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