17th January 1950

Octogenarian murder suspect dies after court appearance

Philip James Augustus Moignard, an 82-year-old resident of St Helier, was standing trial for the murder of 64-year-old Mary Herauville, when he suffered a stroke in court and was rushed to the General Hospital. It may have been brought on by the stress of giving evidence but, whatever the cause, it was enough to finish him off. He died ten days later, without leaving the hospital. With neither a victim nor a suspect to interrogate, the case was adjourned indefinitely.

The victim was also in hospital

Mary Herauville had herself been taken to hospital on 5 January that same year, still alive but suffering wounds apparently inflicted by a 12-bore shotgun. She lingered for some hours but died shortly before five o’clock the following morning. When the police had arrived at her home, to transport her to hospital, they had seen Moignard sitting in a chair, behind a curtain, with the shotgun on his lap. When they asked him whether he’d shot her with both barrels, he said that he had not – the second barrel had been intended for himself, but he’d missed, as evidenced by the hole in the ceiling. The first barrel, however, was indeed responsible for Herauville’s mortal wounds.

A neighbour, speaking at the inquest convened following Herauville’s death, voiced one possible motive: she and Moignard had lived together for a decade but, having grown bored or fallen out, she would no longer even speak with him. Another neighbour claimed to have warned authorities that Herauville’s life was in danger some time before she was killed.

Despite his apparent confession, Moignard wasn’t arrested until the day after Herauville’s death, and immediately taken to court to face the judge. It was following this appearance that he suffered his stroke, ultimately to die in the same location as his victim.


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