Talk on ‘The Veronal Mystery’ by Norena Shopland


Brighton 1913 – A drug overdose case takes a dark turn when the body is exhumed, evidence is suppressed, witnesses are missing and murder is suspected.

When flamboyant Eric Trevanion died from a Veronal overdose it was thought to be accidental. However, others were convinced a crime had been committed. His mother thought it was a ‘case of murder’, and Public Prosecutors suspected Albert Roe, Eric’s ‘close companion’, was implicated in the death. The body was exhumed and the pathologist’s findings were shocking. Yet at the subsequent inquest, evidence of the men’s relationship was suppressed, vital witnesses were not called and the bias of the Coroner was shocking. Deep flaws in the evidence from the Home Office pathologist remained undiscovered for twenty-four years until similar suppression and bias happened again, this time involving a lesbian relationship.

Brighton, now home to a vibrant LGBT+ community, became famous when Trevanion’s case made headlines just eighteen years after Oscar Wilde was convicted for gross indecency and long before men like Alan Turing gained fame. It leaves us asking one question – did deliberate interference to suppress any mention of homosexuality mean Albert got away with murdering Eric?


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