Landowner rejects £40,000 offer from Muriel McKay’s family to excavate burial site in bid to find body

12 January 2024, 12:09 | Updated: 12 January 2024, 12:16

The landowner of where Muriel McKay is buried has turned down a £40,000 offer to the excavate the site.
The landowner of where Muriel McKay is buried has turned down a £40,000 offer to the excavate the site. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

A landowner has turned down a £40,000 offer from the family of Muriel McKay to dig up the site where they believe she was buried.

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Ms McKay, 55, was kidnapped and held for ransom for £1 million by brothers Nizamodeen and Arthur Hosein in 1969.

She was the wife of Australian newspaper executive, Alick, who was Rupert Murdoch's deputy.

The brothers had meant to kidnap Murdoch’s former wife, Anna, but got the wrong person. Ms McKay disappeared and was never found.

On Thursday, Ms McKay’s family revealed they had offered the owner of the land £40,000 to dig up the site so they can search for her body.

They hand-delivered a letter to the owner of the Hertfordshire farm earlier this week, but the landowner has since turned down the offer.

According to The Times, Scotland Yard told the family: “We have had contact from the [landowner] family and the indication is that they will not accept your offer and would prefer contact to be via us.”

Muriel McKay was mistaken for Rupert Murdoch's former wife Anna.
Muriel McKay was mistaken for Rupert Murdoch's former wife Anna. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Grandson of murder victim Muriel McKay slams Met for ‘not searching farmland’ as family issue new plea to find body

Read more: Muriel McKay's family offer landowner £40,000 to excavate farm to find body, as MPs urge police to get search warrant

Ian de Burgh has previously refused to give up access to his land, though did agree to allow the Metropolitan Police to dig up a small part of the farm last year.

Nothing was found in the search, but the family believes the police searched in the wrong place.

McKay’s family previously offered £40,000 to her killer, Nizamodeen Hosein, to reveal the details of the 1969 kidnap and murder.

Hosein, who has since been released from prison, revealed the location of her body without taking the sum.

In the letter written to the landowner, Muriel's grandson Mark Dyer said: "The perpetrator has admitted his part in this crime after so many years and he genuinely wishes to help us find Muriel.

"He has provided a written and sworn affidavit detailing the location of the burial site.

"We now wish to search a small, targeted and specific area with minimal police attendance. That way there will be no unnecessary searching.

"We agreed to a limited search previously and now the circumstances have changed as we have specific information as to the burial location from the person who actually dug the grave."

Hosein revealed the location of her body without taking the sum.
Hosein revealed the location of her body without taking the sum. Picture: Alamy

A statement issued on behalf of the landowner on Thursday said he “very much sympathises with the family and hopes they can find closure over this tragedy”.

“Mr Marsh is in regular conversation with the Metropolitan Police over this matter,” the statement continued.

“He has at all times been fully co-operative with their investigation and every time the police have asked for access to his land, he has granted it to them”.

Hosein and his brother, Arthur, were given life sentences for the kidnap and murder of Ms McKay, who was 55 years old when she died.

Hosein, now living in poverty in Trinidad, has offered to come back to the UK to reveal the exact spot where she was buried, though this would require Home Office approval following his deportation in 1990.

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