The Unsolved Murder of Sir Harry Oakes
A millionaire was brutally beaten to death and set on fire while his friend slept nearby, but his killer was never found.
Living in the Caribbean can be a charmed experience for many people. Spending the rest of your life on a tropical island living in the lap of luxury is a dream come true for many people, but it occasionally ends in tragedy.
Sir Harry Oakes
Sir Harry Oakes was a 68-year-old millionaire who had grown up in Maine. He made his money in the Canadian gold mine business, which had always been his dream. He was a tough man with few friends but was also known to be generous and philanthropic when it came to his money.
While Harry may have been giving of his money, he was also protective of it. He decided to move away from the United States in order to avoid over-taxation. Harry fled to the Caribbean in 1935 and settled in New Providence, Bahamas, which had no income tax under British rule.
Harry was the largest landowner in the Bahamas and built countless buildings helping to shape the chain of islands into a resort destination. He was worth $200 million, a lofty sum of money for his time. Harry soon earned a British Title when King George knighted him in 1939 in recognition of his accomplishments.
The islands were filled with an interesting cast of characters. The Governor of the Bahamas was the infamous British Royal, the Duke of Windsor, formally known as King Edward VIII. He had given up the throne to marry the woman he was in love with, Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, which was frowned upon at the time. His decision caused quite a stir, and he was sent to govern the Bahamas. Harry and the Duke had become friends and golfing buddies over the years.
Harold Christie was another close friend of Harry's, as well as a business partner. The two men were close, and Harry had loaned Harold a large sum of money that he failed to pay back. Despite that, the men maintained their friendship.