The letter said:
It is only fair to tell you that I was at one time [Haden Clarke’s] secret sweetheart, which was my wish, as I was engaged to another man, but Mr Clarke did not know this, and always wondered why I should not go about in public with him.
He often took drugs, what it was I have forgotten the name, but when recovering he was very unhappy. He thought nothing of the life to come, after we’re dead.
I have had letters at odd times from him but, like a silly, have always put them in the fire. The last one told me of his troubles. He said that unless his sweetheart (Mrs Miller) got some money for her notes on different tours, he could not marry … and ended up by saying: I hope this letter catches up with you and I am sure you will be sorry you did not wait and let us marry as, when you get this, I will be dead, and I hope a famous airman will be too. He did not mention who it was, but it is not long since I got the letter …
I do hope, Mr Judge, that you and your jury will understand that he was the class of man that, when getting over a fit of drugs, he would take his own life, or anyone else’s.
He must have loved Mrs Miller very much.
As I got well away he said he would kill us both if I would not marry him, so she is lucky he did not kill her too …
P.S. He never mentioned that Mrs Miller was his girl, just said ‘another of his loves’. I hope he is happier than when he was on this earth, poor man. I shall never forget him. I loved him, but it was not safe to marry him, as he went real mad at times.
Chubbie’s article said that Carson thought the letter convincing enough to have stopped the trial if it had arrived earlier. However, as the letter’s author could not be interviewed, Hawthorne would more likely have dismissed it as an attempt by one of Bill’s supporters to pervert the course of justice.
Was the letter genuine?
The contents of the letter seem reasonable except for one sentence: ‘I hope a famous airman will be too’ – that is, that Bill would be dead as well. This is highly suspect. Why would Haden want to kill Bill? And how would he do so?
Although the dates of its arrival and eventual publication benefitted no one, the letter might not have been genuine and doesn’t unequivocally answer the question ‘Who killed Haden Clarke?’
[i] Chubbie’s article, which included the letter, was republished in the Sunday Times (Perth WA Australia) on 4 March 1934 p.11.