Alfred de Marigny

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Alfred de Marigny
Alfred de Marigny with Pipe.jpg
BornMarch 29, 1910
Died28 January 1998 (1998-01-29) (aged 87)
ChildrenMorgan de Marigny, Philip de Marigny, John de Marigny

Alfred de Marigny (March 29, 1910 – January 28, 1998) was a French Mauritian acquitted of the murder of his father-in-law, Sir Harry Oakes.


Marie Alfred Fouquereaux de Marigny,[1] whose real name was Alfred Fouquereaux, "de Marigny" being his mother's name, was born on March 29, 1910, in Mauritius to a well-off French family. He died on January 28, 1998. He let people address him as Count, but it is clear that he was not part of a noble family (Fouquereaux).[2][3] De Marigny assumed the French title of Count from his mother's side of the family.[4]

Sir Harry Oakes murder case[edit]

De Marigny married Sir Harry Oakes's daughter, Nancy, the day after her 18th birthday.[5] It was de Marigny's third marriage; both of the first two were also to wealthy women, who broke off those relationships soon after marriage. When Sir Harry was murdered on July 7, 1943, de Marigny was the main suspect and was arrested shortly after.[6] At his trial, detectives which the Duke of Windsor, then Governor of the Bahamas, had brought in from Miami claimed to have found de Marigny's fingerprint near the bed of Sir Harry Oakes.[7] The defense argued that the fingerprint had been lifted and placed in the bedroom.[8] Nancy Oakes supported her husband throughout the trial and testified on his behalf.[9] There is a theory that Sir Harry was murdered because he was going to reveal the existence of a scheme involving the Duke of Windsor and Nazi German money being laundered through Mexico. Implicated in this treasonous venture, as well in as the murder, are Harold Christie and his brother Frank. It is typical of the good burghers of Nassau, the very same people whom de Marigny despised, that any scandal involving "one of their own" is swept under the carpet.

The jury acquitted de Marigny of the murder charge but gave a recommendation that he was an "undesirable alien" and should be removed from the island. The deportation recommendation is rumored to have been influenced by his unpopularity among the ruling class on the island. (The Duke of Windsor had described de Marigny as "an unscrupulous adventurer [with] an evil reputation for immoral conduct with young girls".[10]) Following his deportation, the de Marignys settled in Cuba[11] before separating in 1949.

Several books have been written about the case, including one by de Marigny himself. Many theories have been advanced, including suspected Mob involvement, but the Nassau newspaper editor John Marquis insisted in his book Blood and Fire (published in 2005) that the murder was strictly a local affair, planned by wealthy Nassau whites to prevent Oakes moving his money to Mexico. Marquis's book was described in The Wall Street Journal as one of the top five books on unsolved crimes. It implicated Sir Harold Christie in the plot and blamed the Duke of Windsor - then Bahamas governor - for orchestrating a cover-up by importing two crooked Miami detectives to conduct the investigation.

Marriage and children[edit]

De Marigny was married four times:

  1. Lucie-Alice Cahen for four months in 1937,[1]
  2. Ruth Fahnestock Schermerhorn (1937-?)[12]
  3. Nancy Oakes (1942–1949)[13]
  4. Mary Morgan-Taylor (1952–1998)[3]

His fourth marriage was the only one to produce children (3 sons).

Later life[edit]

De Marigny went to Canada toward the end of World War II and enlisted in the Canadian Army in July 1945. He lived in Quebec for three years before being deported. He spent various amounts of time in the United States, Jamaica, Haiti and the US again before finally moving to Central America.[14]

He died in Houston, Texas,[15] He was survived by his wife, Mary; sons Morgan and John; grandchildren William, Alexandra, Elizabeth, George, Charlotte, and Mary Catherine. He was preceded in death by his son, Philip deMarigny.[16]

Published works[edit]

  • More Devil Than Saint (Bernard Ackerman, 1946)[17]
  • A Conspiracy of Crowns with Mickey Herskowitz (Bantam/Crown, 1990)


  • Blood and Fire by John Marquis (LMH Publishing, 2005)
  • A Serpent in Eden by James Owen (Little, Brown, 2005)


  1. ^ a b "Faith and Circumstance". TIME. 1943-09-06. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  2. ^ Bourrie, Mark (1998). Flim Flam: Canada's Greatest Frauds, Scams, and Con Artists. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-88882-201-4. The issue of whether de Marigny was a bona fide member of the nobility is a matter of some speculation.... Later, in court, he would deny that he had ever described himself as a count, but both his first wife Ruth, whom he divorced after a few months, and Nancy Oakes called themselves countesses.
  3. ^ a b Alain Mathieu, Dictionnaire de biographie mauricienne, p.2063
  4. ^ King of Fools, by John Parker (author), New York 1988, St. Martin's Press.
  5. ^ "Nancy Oakes von Hoyningen-Huene". The Times. London. 2005-01-21. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  6. ^ "The Great Oakes". TIME. 1943-07-19.
  7. ^ Boyd, William (2005-08-21). "Trouble in paradise". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  8. ^ "Expert Challenges De Marigny Print". The Washington Post. 1943-11-09. Capt. Maurice B. O'Neil, of the New Orleans police department, testifying in the Oakes slaying case, declared yesterday that a fingerprint offered to connect Alfred de Marigny with the slaying of his father-in-law did not come from the bedscreen on which Crown witness said it was found.
  9. ^ "De Marigny's Wife Weeps on Stand". The Washington Post. 1943-11-10. Nancy de Marigny, in tearful testimony, pleaded, in substance, with the jury trying her husband. Alfred de Marigny, that he did not murder her multimillionaire father... and when she finished the defense abruptly rested its case.
  10. ^ Bennetto, Jason (2006-01-19). "Great unsolved crimes: The ex-King, the conman and a millionaire's murder". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  11. ^ "De Marigny and Wife Arrive in Cuba to Make New Home". Los Angeles Times. 1943-12-06.
  12. ^ "untitled". TIME. 1942-06-01.
  13. ^ "NANCY OAKES A BRIDE; Wed in Nassau to Baron Ernst von Hoyningen Huene". The New York Times. 1952-12-30. Her marriage to Count Alfred de Marigny in New York in 1942 was annulled by the New York Supreme Court in 1950.
  14. ^ Bourrie [1998]. Flim Flam, 37.
  15. ^ Houston Chronicle February 22, 1998 Section A, Page 33
  16. ^ Houston Chronicle, January 30, 1998, 26A.
  17. ^ "untitled". TIME. 1946-04-22. Retrieved 2008-09-15. Count Alfred de Marigny, acquitted in 1943 of the unsolved Bahamas murder of his father-in-law, wealthy Sir Harry Oakes, turned author with a personal history: More Devil Than Saint (Bernard Ackerman; $3).