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Assassinated Governor’s widow sold home to pay death duties

The widow of assassinated Governor Sir Richard Sharples was forced to sell her family home to pay death duties, according to an article in The Daily Mail.

Baroness Sharples told the UK newspaper in a recent interview that it was ruled the Governor had not been killed “in the line of duty”.

Sir Richard was fatally shot on Government House grounds on the evening of March 10, 1973. He and his aide-de-camp Hugh Sayers and his Great Dane, Horsa, were walking around the property when all three were killed.

Erskine (Buck) Burrows and Larry Tacklyn were convicted of the assassination and three other killings. They were hanged for the offences in 1977.

Recalling the incident, the baroness said: “Richard was doing such a good job, and so was Hugh. He was a very nice young man. And Horsa was a lovely dog. Our four children adored him.”

She said that over the next few weeks she wore white and insisted that the killings were a “temporary insanity” rather than something more ominous.

She also said that on the day she left to return to England, she made a special trip to say goodbye to the local fishermen.

“They were such nice people and always chatted to me when I bought my fish,” she said.

Baroness Sharples told the newspaper that the return to England was difficult but the House of Lords had saved her, saying in the aftermath of Sir Richard's assassination she was given a life peerage in recognition of her “extraordinary courage”.

The 91-year-old Baroness is still an active member of the House of Lords, and has earned a reputation for feistiness. Several years ago she made headlines when she swung her purse at a pedal cyclist who rode through a red light, nearly hitting her.

“He didn't hit me, but he swerved right in front of me,” she said. “So I hit him with my bag. I didn't have much shopping in it, so sadly it wouldn't have hurt him very much.”

After the assassination of Sir Richard, Baroness Sharples remarried twice — first to Patrick de Laszlo and later to Robert Douglas Swan — but outlived them both.

Mr de Laszlo died in 1980 at the age of 71 of pancreatic cancer while Mr Swan died in 1995.

Asked if she could pick only one of her husbands to be with again, she said: “I think Sir Richard would be keen to be top of the list. But the others might be arguing and wanting to meet me.”

The late Governor Sir Richard Sharples and his wife Lady Pamela Sharples, now Baroness Sharples.

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Published March 12, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 12, 2014 at 12:42 am)

Assassinated Governor’s widow sold home to pay death duties

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