Muriel McKay: Police call off week-long search at Hertfordshire farmhouse for remains of woman murdered in 1969

Detectives investigating the kidnapping and murder of a woman who was mistaken for Rupert Murdoch’s wife more than 50 years ago have called off a raid on a farm where one of his captors claimed to have her buried after finding no evidence.

Brothers Nizamodeen and Arthur Hosein abducted 55-year-old Muriel McKay and ransomed her, believing she was then the wife of media mogul Anna.

Met Police detectives last week began digging into an 11-acre farm in Stocking Pelham, near Royston in Hertfordshire, where one of Ms McKay’s kidnappers confessed to burying her body after she died.

Officers from Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Command worked closely with forensic archaeologists and anthropologists as well as Hertfordshire Police to clear areas of ground, using ground-penetrating radar to identify any anomalies underground.

But the search was canceled this week “without finding anything”.

Ms McKay was kidnapped for ransom from her London home in 1969 by the two Hosein brothers.

They had mistaken her for Rupert Murdoch’s wife and demanded a £1million ransom for her return. Following the failed ransom plot, the two brothers were arrested and convicted of Mrs. McKay’s murder.

His body was never found. Following a trial in 1970, the two brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment in what was one of Britain’s first convictions for murder without a body.

Last year hopes were raised when surviving brother Nizamodeen told Ms McKay’s family solicitor that she had died of a heart attack and he had buried her near the farmhouse.

Ms McKay’s daughter Dianne, 81, maintained the belief the remains were at the farm despite the Metropolitan Police suspending their inquiries into the property.

The Met was contacted in December 2021 by Ms McKay’s family about information they had obtained relating to her murder.

Officers met with the family to review all documents which included information about the whereabouts of Ms McKay’s remains.

They carried out site visits to the farm near Royston and, once the weather improved and the ground was no longer waterlogged, began work on Tuesday 29th March.

Mark Cranwell, Detective Chief Inspector, said: ‘We spent a week on site searching for Muriel’s remains and, very sadly for her family, nothing was found.

“I would like to thank the landowners for their unwavering support during the search. They were extremely patient and allowed the research to continue despite the significant impact on their daily routine.

Brandon D. James