Muriel McKay: Police to launch fresh search for remains at Hertfordshire farm

Muriel Mckay, the wife of the former deputy chairman of the News of the World, who was kidnapped 54 years ago (PA Archive)
Muriel Mckay, the wife of the former deputy chairman of the News of the World, who was kidnapped 54 years ago (PA Archive)

A fresh search for the remains of Muriel McKay will take place at a farm in Hertfordshire after detectives flew to Trinidad to speak to the man convicted of her murder, the Metropolitan Police said.

Mrs McKay, the wife of a newspaper executive, was kidnapped and held ransom for £1 million by a pair who had mistaken her for Anna Murdoch, the then-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The 55-year-old was married to Mr Murdoch’s deputy Alick McKay, who like Mr Murdoch was Australian.

She was abducted in December 1969 and her body never found.

In March, the investigation team visited Nizamodeen Hosein in Trinidad, where he was deported after serving his jail sentence, to speak to him in person following his offer to show her family where she was buried.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: “He volunteered to help and was interviewed over the course of three days, with officers carefully considering their approach and strategy to achieve the best information possible.

“On their return they analysed all the information gathered over time to come to the conclusion that a further search will be carried out.”


Hosein, then aged 22, and his older brother Arthur were found guilty of murder and handed life sentences.

He contacted Ms McKay’s daughter Dianne offering to return to the UK to show where he put her mother’s body.

Last year, police said an extensive search for Muriel’s remains conducted in March 2022 at a site in Hertfordshire was unsuccessful.

But on Thursday, 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 inconsistences 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 co-operation.

“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.”

In a statement, the owners of the farm added: “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.

“In fact, the evidence is insufficient for the police to apply for search warrant. 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.”

Hosein asked the Home Office to lift a deportation order which still bars him from the UK.

His brother Arthur died in prison in 2009.