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Thomas Voy and the lady detective
This West Londoner paired up with a female detective to catch his estranged wife with her lover
In 1904, Thomas Reginald Voy, a West Londoner, married half-Scottish, half-German Georgina Beckton. The marriage was unhappy, and in 1907, after only three years, Georgina sought a divorce from her husband. No solicitor appeared on her behalf in court, and so the case was struck out. She left Thomas, and went to live in her own rooms on the Upper Richmond Road in West London. Thomas was suspicious of his independent-minded spouse, and so decided to spy on her. He employed a female detective to watch the house in the summer of 1908, working with her as he clearly didn't trust the professional to find the evidence he desired.
One night, about 7.30pm, the husband and the lady detective spotted a man enter the building. They waited outside until 10pm, and then knocked at the door. There was no answer for a while, and then Georgia opened the bedroom window, clad in a dressing gown, with her hair down. Thomas Voy shouted up, "Who is that fellow you have got up there?" and the startled Georgia responded, "Oh my God, is it you?" and promptly slammed the window shut. Another hour passed, and then her alleged lover slipped out of the front door and sloped down the road, pursued by Voy and his detective. They both recognised him as the same man who had arrived at 7.30pm.
At court, Voy's evidence was believed, and in November 1908, he was granted a divorce. It was said, though, that this story of a husband watching his wife alongside the lady detective was a 'singular feature' in the case. In 1909, both Voy and his ex-wife remarried; Voy to Madge Ost, and Georgina to the man cited as a co-respondent in the divorce case - the man who had sneaked out of her room while she was in her dressing-gown - Alan Chantrey Bompas. It seems highly probable that both parties were in relationships with their second spouses prior to the divorce. The female detective who helped Voy was never named in press reports, and although I'd love to think that it was Madge Ost, sleuthing in an amateur capacity to help her lover find evidence for a divorce, there is no proof of that, and the detective was just as likely to have been a professional lady detective by this period of history.
Thomas and Georgina's second marriages were more successful than their first, although both the men in this story died in their early 50s. Georgina's marriage ended with Alan Bompas's premature death in 1927; she died nearly 30 years later. Thomas went on to have a son by his second wife, but his life sadly ended after a bizarre accident involving falling on a pitchfork, which pierced his stomach, while he was negotiating a haybale, at the age of 51 (he had become a farmer after World War 1, so the accident wasn't quite as bizarre an occurrence as it would have been had he not been farming).
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