Former actor cleared of antiques shop murder

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The Independent Online
A FORMER television actor was yesterday found not guilty of battering to death Lady Brenda Cross, 73, who worked in his antiques shop.

Judge Brian Smedley directed an Old Bailey jury to acquit Frederick Bartman, 67, at the end of the prosecution case because the evidence showed it was 'inherently improbable' he was Lady Cross's killer.

Lady Cross, the wife of Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Cross, was repeatedly struck with antique fire irons in the shop in Pimlico, south-west London, where she had worked part-time for 10 years. Mr Bartman, of Chelsea, who played Dr Simon Forrester in the 1960s hospital soap opera Emergency Ward Ten, had been a friend of Lady Cross for 12 years, the jury was told.

He said in a statement through his solicitor that he had been 'horrified and shocked' by the murder and had always emphatically denied the allegations.

David Calvert-Smith, for the prosecution, had said Lady Cross was planning to leave the shop but had promised to stay until a replacement was found. He alleged that on the day of the murder in September 1991, Mr Bartman was in a bad mood. He had not found a replacement for Lady Cross, he had just had to pay more than pounds 40,000 in back rent and new lease arrangements and the business was not doing well.

However, Mr Calvert-Smith told the jury he could put forward no motive for why Mr Bartman or anyone else would want to murder Lady Cross.