Maurice O’Regan was a handsome Irishman who was employed as butler, chauffeur and valet to the Fourth Baronet of Rousdon, Sir Francis Henry Grenville Peek. Sir Francis had a much younger beautiful raven-haired wife. You can see where this is going can’t you?
On trial in the Old Bailey Maurice O’Regan, 33, was charged with forging three checks to a total of $34,400.
Part of the trouble was that Sir Francis (family crest, according to Debrett’s, “two hazel nuts slipped proper“; family motto, “Le Maitre Vient”) frequently went on extended trips attending to his real estate business. That left Lady Peek alone with the butler. Maurice, who was paid only $36 a week, testified that Lady Peek began giving him money “to buy shirts.”
Sure enough, while Maurice was trying on a particular shirt, “her ladyship ran her hand up and down my back.”
Thereafter, Maurice testified, they had intercourse seven times in six months. Then sadly came the end of what he called “a good wicket.” The Peeks decided to move to Spain’s Costa del Sol. “At first I understood I was going with them, but later I learned that this was not to be.”
Lady Caroline, according to the butler, soothed him with three blank checks and told him to fill them in for no more than $36,000—which he obeyed to the letter. Asked why he had been given such a sum by his mistress, the gentleman’s gentleman presumed that “it was payment for services rendered . . .”
I wouldn’t mind hiring Gerard Butler’s services
Considerably embarrassed, Lady Peek took the stand to deny categorically all of Maurice’s statements. She insisted that the blank checks were meant to pay household bills. But her performance was less than convincing, and the judge instructed the all-male jury that her evidence was “not to be relied on.” With that the jurors after 65 minutes declared Maurice not guilty, and the court apologized for the eight months he had been held in jail. “So much for British aristocracy,” huffed the butler as he left court. “I’m finished with them.”
Princess Margaret circa 1934