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Police launch fresh search for Muriel McKay’s remains

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Published Time: 16.05.2024 - 13:40:33 Modified Time: 16.05.2024 - 13:40:33

Detectives to conduct further search at Hertfordshire farm, 54 years after kidnap and murder of newspaper executive’s wife Keystone/HULTON ARCHIVE Detectives investigating the 1969 kidnap and murder of Muriel McKay are to carry out fresh searches at a farm in Hertfordshire, Scotland Yard has confirmed

Detectives to conduct further search at Hertfordshire farm, 54 years after kidnap and murder of newspaper executive’s wife

: Keystone/HULTON ARCHIVE

Detectives investigating the 1969 kidnap and murder of Muriel McKay are to carry out fresh searches at a farm in Hertfordshire, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

Mrs McKay, the Australian born wife of a newspaper executive, was kidnapped from her home in Wimbledon 55 years ago after being mistaken for the wife of Rupert Murdoch. Two men were convicted of her murder in 1970 but her remains have never been found.

Police conducted searches at Stocking Farm in Stocking Pelham, Hertfordshire in 2022 but nothing of significance was recovered.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said recent enquiries had identified other areas at the site which it was believed would be worth searching.

Her family have been informed of the development but it is not clear when the work will begin.

Kidnappers demanded £1m ransom

Mrs McKay was the wife of Alick McKay, an executive at News Limited and deputy to Rupert Murdoch.

She and her family had moved to the UK from their native Australia in 1958 and had settled in the Wimbledon area.

On December 29 1969 she was abducted from her home while her husband was at work, with the kidnappers later demanding a £1 million ransom.

In 1970 two brothers, Arthur and Nizamodeen Hosein, were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, blackmail and murder. They were convicted and jailed for life in September 1970.

Arthur died in prison in 2009, but Nizamodeen was released after 20 years and was deported back to Trinidad.

While it was long believed Mrs Mckay’s remains had been buried at the Hertfordshire farm, they have never been located.

In 2023 Hosein provided fresh information to the family about the potential whereabouts of the body and the police also travelled to Trinidad to interview him.

‘No further search if remains not found’

Announcing the decision to carry out fresh searches, Commander Steve Clayman said: “I’d like to thank Muriel’s family for their patience while we have taken time to really carefully consider all the information gathered in relation to this case. I know it has been a frustrating time for them.

“We have decided we will carry out a further search at the Hertfordshire farm where it is believed Muriel’s remains may be. We carried out an extensive search there in spring 2022 but unfortunately it was unsuccessful.

“Our recent enquiries mean other areas have been highlighted as being of potential interest and it is these we will search. The main area is where a manure heap once stood – we know now this was probably larger than we previously thought and therefore that area was not entirely searched in 2022.

“While we have concerns about inconsistencies in the account provided by Nizamodeen Hosei, for completeness, we want to do this.

“At this stage we have not set a date for the search to begin, but will keep Muriel’s family updated and informed. The owners of the farm are fully aware and supportive and we thank them for their continuing help and cooperation.

“We all share a hope and desire to find Muriel’s remains and bring some closure to her family after all these years.

‘This is a police matter’

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