The moment the newspaper director Alick McKay opened his front door Wimbledon, Southwest London, It is obvious that something is very wrong.
On the night of December 29, 1969, the phone was torn from the wall, the contents of his wife Muriel’s handbag were scattered in the hall, and a hook and a roll of twine were thrown away.
McKay rushed from room to room, calling Muriel desperately, holding a hook knife in his hand, in case the intruder was still there. There is no sign of his wife. Then, a phone call came, which would initiate the first high-profile kidnapping and ransom case in the UK.
Wrong identities: Anna Murdoch and her husband Rupert.The kidnappers plan to target Anna Murdoch, 25-year-old wife of newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch
The police at Wimbledon Park.Part of the police problem is the unusual nature of the kidnapping
If Muriel were to be sent back alive, it would be a man asking for £1 million-the equivalent of £20 million today.
But this case is even more extraordinary, because Muriel was caught by mistake. Her kidnappers plan to target Anna Murdoch, the 25-year-old wife of newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
As explained in a recent documentary on Sky TV, they took a middle-aged housewife away as a series of mistakes made by criminals and the police who pursued them.
Detectives use strange disguise to try to outwit the kidnappers, and the kidnappers are far from the crime planners, so some elements in the story make it impossible to believe and desperately search for Muriel.
Part of the police problem is the unusual nature of the kidnapping case.
The director of the Wimberton kidnapping case, Joanna Bartholomew, said: “This is a crime you might see in the United States, and you might see it in Italy.” “Everyone keeps saying that this is not Britain. Crime.”
The first police officers on the scene could not understand that something similar might happen on Arthur Road-this is an ideal family residential avenue, only a few hundred yards from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club that hosts the Wimbledon Tennis Championships every year. .
At first, they thought that 55-year-old Muriel might elope with his lover.
For a mother who is familiar with three adult children who go to church, this is an absurd idea. It soon became clear that Muriel was just the victim of a terrible mistake.
She and Eric moved from Australia to the UK so that he could continue his career in the newspaper and become a right-hand man for Rupert Murdoch, the new boss of The Sun and News of the World.
Murdoch first attracted the attention of the kidnappers during a television interview with Sir David Frost.
To find out where he lives, they dragged his Rolls Royce out of his office. But the tycoon is doing business in Australia, and the one who used the car when he was away was Alick McKay.
So misunderstood, they turned their eyes to poor Muriel. We can only imagine how cruel she suffered in their hands that night, and when a letter she wrote by hand arrived at the house the next morning, her fear was obvious. It begged her husband,’Please do something to get me home. What have I done worthy of this treatment?
As their home was besieged by reporters and photographers, McKay tried to make the kidnappers’ phone lines free. In the next six weeks, about 18 calls came from a person who claimed to represent an international organization called “Mafia 3”-M3 for short.
He threatened to talk about the “execution” and told Alick that the matter was initially handled by the “intellectuals” of M3, but was quickly handed over to the “villains”.
As the negotiations for Muriel’s release continued, her men received two more letters. In one of them, she wrote: “My health and spirit are deteriorating. Forgive the writing. I was blindfolded and it was cold and cold. Please keep the police away from this matter and cooperate with the gang.”
At the same time, dozens of clairvoyant people contacted the family. They all claimed that Muriel was still alive and provided information about where she was being held. The Dutch psychic Gerard Croiset insisted that the name “Elsa” had some connection with her kidnapping. As we will see, this will prove to be very accurate.
The picture shows Muriel McKay.Today, this terrible crime has disappeared from public memory, but Muriel McKay still lives in the hearts of her children
On January 30, 1970, more than a month after Muriel’s disappearance, the kidnappers ordered McKay’s son Ian to pay a ransom on Rupert Murdoch’s Rolls Royce in return. Muriel will be sent back.
The police did not put Ian in danger, but insisted that one of them impersonate him and deal with a case mainly filled with fake banknotes. Following M3’s instructions, “Ian” went to a designated London phone booth and waited for the phone to ring.
During the subsequent call, he was informed of the location of another phone booth, and he went there to pick up another call. This situation continued from the phone booth to the phone booth until he walked to the A10 road outside London and left a suitcase with counterfeit banknotes on the edge of the grass with a bunch of paper flowers left by criminals.
Although M3 insisted on letting Ian travel alone, the Rolls-Royce driven by a police officer clearly followed a team of “undercover” colleagues-three of whom were riding motorcycles dressed as hell angels, trying to become part of the flow of normal people.
Unsurprisingly, this did not deceive the’M3′ who left the money. Arranged for a new drop-off-this time by Alick and his daughter Dianne-the kidnapper warned that if the police provided evidence, the consequences would be disastrous.
Once again, the detective in charge decides that family members cannot be threatened, and one of them will play Alick and the other Dianne.
The male officer in the second half was chosen only because he was the only one who could wear her knee-length boots. When the makeup on his face by Diane and her sister Jenny didn’t make him look a bit feminine, they decided to send a policewoman instead.
A futile search: this farmhouse in Hertfordshire.On the farm, they found the twine left in McKays’s house and a notebook. The number of pages on it was the same as that of Muriel McKay’s letter of help.
The drop-off point this time was in a garage in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. Everything went well, until when the policeman was waiting for M3 to pick up the counterfeit bills, a kind passerby found the two suitcases and reported them to the local police, who took them away.
However, nothing is lost. Before the case is removed,
The undercover detective noticed a blue Volvo car. Its registration number took them to the village of Stocking Pelham and a run-down farm owned by Trinidad-born Arthur Hosein, an Eastern tailor who aspired to be a squire. He moved there with his German wife Elsa—the name was mentioned by the psychic Gerald Crossett.
However, the evidence linking the 34-year-old Hussein and his 22-year-old brother Nizam to the crime is far more than supernatural evidence.
On the farm, they found the twine left in McKay’s house and a notebook with missing pages, which matched the letter of help written by Muriel McKay.
But there was no trace of Muriel-although 120 police officers dredged the farm’s pond and searched its buildings and land. One theory is that the Husseins fed her body to pigs.
When the brothers were taken to the Old Bailey Court in September 1970, this was one of the first murder indictments without a body.
During the trial, it was suggested that Arthur Hussein kidnapped Muriel McKay because he desperately needed money.
He and his brother were found guilty, and when sentenced to life imprisonment, the judge called their crimes “cold-blooded and abominable.”
When he left the court, Alick McKay told reporters. “I just want to know where she is, so that I can put the flowers where she is.” But he died in 1983, but never found out what happened to Muriel.
We are unlikely to get the answer to this question. Arthur Hussein died in Ashworth High Security Psychiatric Hospital in 2009. Nizam, who served for 20 years before being deported to Trinidad, still claims to be innocent.
For a while, in the Hall of Terror in Madame Tussauds, there were portraits of notorious killers such as John Christie and Dr. Crippen.
Today, their terrible crime has disappeared from public memory, but Muriel McKay still lives in the hearts of her children.
‘I still wake up and think of her. She is always there,” her daughter Jenny said in the documentary. “She is one of the kindest people I know. She is just pleasant.
They hope that those who watch the show can get the latest news about their mother-a kind and loving woman was taken away from her family by the cruelest destiny.