Police to dig again for Muriel McKay after killer agreed to reveal where he buried her 54 years ago

UK

Police are to dig again for the body of murdered Muriel McKay after her killer agreed to reveal where he buried her 54 years ago.

The move follows a tireless campaign by her family who flew to Trinidad to persuade her killer Nizam Hosein to pinpoint the burial site earlier this year.

Hosein was convicted of kidnapping and killing Muriel McKay, who he mistook for the then wife of newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch, in one of the first British murder trials without a body.

He spent 20 years in jail and many more after his release denying his involvement until he finally told her daughter Dianne McKay: “Behind the barn, two or three feet from the fence, that’s where the body is.”

Image:
Nizam Hosein pointing to the spot where he claims Dianne’s mother was buried

Image:
Nizamodeen Hosein, now 75, served 20 years for McKay’s murder before being deported to his native Trinidad

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.”

The main area of potential interest “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,” the commander added.

A date for the start of the search is yet to be set but the victim’s grandson told Sky News police said they would be going back to the farm within six weeks.

Commander Clayman said the search would go ahead despite inconsistencies in the account provided by Hosein.

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

“We sincerely hope the search is successful. However, we have informed the family that if Muriel’s remains are sadly not found, it would not be proportionate to carry out any further searches or investigations.”

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Police did not find anything during a previous dig at the site

Mark Dyer, the grandson of Muriel McKay, told Sky News after news of the new search was confirmed: “I’m completely shocked and surprised.

“It’s incredibly encouraging news that finally the campaign that we launched to find my grandmother’s body has been successful.

“It’s an incredible moment in history for us that we’re going back now with compelling evidence with where she’s located and we are going back there with the police actually fully behind it and involving us.”

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Grandson’s mission to find Muriel McKay

The owners of the farm have said they will grant access to their property for the dig, even though police reportedly couldn’t apply for a search warrant due to insufficient evidence.

They said: “Our position has been consistent from the very first request of the family of the late Mrs McKay for a dig at our home. We have always said that this is a police matter – they are the experts in investigating evidence and determining its credibility. We have at all times provided the police with access to our land and granted permission to dig when requested by them, including when we have not been obliged to do so.

“We agreed to support the decision of the police, whatever it was. They have now made their decision, which we respect, although we understand from the police that this was a finely judged call considering the unreliability of the evidence provided by the murderer.

“It now means that once this dig is concluded there will be a close to the debate and that no further searches on our land will happen.”

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Mrs McKay, 55, was kidnapped from her south London home in late December 1969 by the Hosein brothers, who thought she was Anna, the wife of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch who had just bought The Sun newspaper.

In fact, she was the wife of Murdoch’s deputy, fellow Australian Alick McKay.

The kidnappers realised their mistake straightaway but carried on with their plot and demanded a £1m ransom for her safe return, playing a cat-and-mouse game with Scotland Yard before they were identified and arrested, by which time Muriel was already dead.

They were jailed for life, denying any part in the abduction and refusing to say what had happened to their victim – until Nizam Hosein’s confession this year.

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