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On Monday 7th April 1924, Emily Beilby Kaye; a smart independent lady who felt her last chance of wedding bells and babies had her slipped-by, left her apartment at the Green Cross Club at 68 Guilford Street, WC1, having met an Irish rogue called “Pat”. And although this tawdry affair would lead to her death…it also led to one of the most significant innovations in murder investigations.
As many photos of the case are copyright protected by greedy news organisations (and I don't want to be billed £300 for copyright infringement again), to view them, take a peek at my entirely legal social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
I've added the location of The Green Cross Club at 66 Guilford Street, WC1, marked with a green !. It's at the bottom by 'Russell Square'. To use the map, simply click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, such as Soho and Paddington, you access them by clicking here.
I've also posted some photos to aid your "enjoyment" of the episode. These photos were taken by myself (copyright Murder Mile) or granted under Government License 3.0, where applicable. I can't post photos of Patrick Mahon and Emily Beilby Kaye here, so check my social media.
Ep74 – The Fatal Fling of Emily Beilby Kaye – Part One (The Affair)
SCRIPT: Welcome to Murder Mile; a true-crime podcast and audio guided walk featuring many of London’s untold, unsolved and long-forgotten murders, all set within London’s West End.
Today’s episode is about 38 year old Emily Beilby Kaye; a smart, calm and independent lady who felt her last chance of wedding bells and babies had slipped-by. But having met an Irish rogue called “Pat”, although she was deeply in love with a married man, this tawdry affair would led to her death.
Murder Mile is researched using the original police files. It contains moments of satire, shock and grisly details, and as a dramatisation of the real events, it may also feature loud and realistic sounds, so that no matter where you listen to this podcast, you’ll feel like you’re actually there.
My name is Michael, I am your tour-guide and this is Murder Mile.
Episode 74: The Fatal Fling of Emily Beilby Kaye – Part One (The Affair).
Today I’m standing on Guilford Street in Bloomsbury, WC1; one street south of the Tavistock Square bus bombing, two streets east of the Abominable Mr & Mrs Cox, a few doors down from the ‘peaceful’ sleep of Vera Crawford in The Grenville Hotel and one street west of the misreported killing of Darlene Horton - coming soon to Murder Mile.
Guilford Street is an ugly little side-street just off Russell Square, which being crammed full of unsightly student halls, aging hospitals and long lines of (previously ramshackle, but now smartly renovated) five storey Victorian townhouses, many of which were converted into hotels, B&Bs and hostels; with no bars, cafes or museums, this street is an insult to your eye-balls, your backside and your cake-hole.
In fact, the only sound you’ll hear is the endless thrum of suitcase wheels, noisily scraping and scuffing along the pot-holed street, as with the tourists having packed for our rather pitiful three-day British summer – with most women carting about a canvas Cargo container of everything they’ve ever owned and most men having packed a single pair of underpants – what they’ve forgotten are the essentials; not shorts, sunglasses and sandals, but rain-macs, rat-poison and (if they arrive any time after Brexit) tinned foods, candles and bottled water. Don’t worry, it’s all going to be fine (clip – Boris bumbling).
68 Guilford Street is currently a series of stylish apartments in a slim five-storey terraced house, with (the standard) white stucco on the ground-floor, brown brick above, black wrought iron railings and a single black entrance door. But back in the 1920’s this was the Green Cross Club; a “bachelor house” which provided safe, comfortable and elegant accommodation for independent and career-minded single ladies, who weren’t rich but having worked hard they could afford to live well. One of those residents was a delightful if slightly lonely lady called Emily Beilby Kaye and here she was happy.
And yet, having got engaged, packed her bags and was ready to elope with the man of her dreams, on Monday 7th April 1924, Emily walked out of the Green Cross Club and never returned (Interstitial)
For fourteen years, Jessie Mahon had been the long suffering wife of Pat; a handsome Irish charmer with chiselled good looks, a roguish cheek and the gift of the gab. Pat wasn’t a good husband; as having a chequered past he struggled to hold down a job, being bad with money he was too broke to pay any bills and with a long history of betting on horse-races and cheating on his wife (which he had assured her was over), having stood by him for the sake of their only child, their family was reliant on Jessie.
Only with Pat having been distant over the last few months and absent for most of the last few weeks; leaving without reason, returning without warning and never with a convincing excuse, once again, Jessie had suspected that he had gone back to his old ways of gambling… and he was having an affair.
Having returned on the evening of Monday 28th April to their home at 2 Pagoda Avenue in the affluent suburb of Kew; with his brown suit crumpled and his Gladstone bag missing, as Pat kissed his wife and child as if nothing had happened, Jessie could see from his oddly quiet demeanour that he harboured a guilty secret and (as a Christian) his soul was being punished having broken one of God’s deadly sins.
Suspecting him of seeing another woman, Jessie’s worst fears were confirmed when hidden in his suit pocket she found a letter confirming he had leased an undisclosed bungalow from 11th April until 8th June for £3 10s a week, and a cloak room ticket issued at the left luggage kiosk at Waterloo Station.
With a potential divorce looming against her philandering husband and needing ironclad proof of his infidelity, Jessie wisely asked John Beard - a friend and a former Divisional Detective Inspector for the Met who now worked for the British Transport Police – to investigate her husband’s tawdry affair.
At the left luggage kiosk at the south side of Waterloo Station, accompanied by two railway officials, John Beard handed the attendant ticket number J2415. From a sea of coats, hats and cases, he was given a brown Gladstone bag, owned by Pat. Made of hardened ox-leather, missing a key and with the clasp lock firmly shut, the case could not be opened, but by carefully prying a side flap apart, John peeped inside and saw further proof of Pat’s adultery – a pair of women’s bloomers.
But who was this woman that Pat having an affair with?
As many names as Jessie would have hurled at her husband’s lover, in truth, she wasn’t a gold-digger, a harlot or a home-wrecker, she was just a lonely spinster struggling to retain her last chance at love.
Born on 26th November 1885, Emily Beilby Kaye was the youngest of five children to Charles & Emma Kaye - a prosperous shipping merchant and a hard-working housewife - with two brothers (Elijah & Charles), two sisters (Gertrude & Elizabeth) and raised in the middle-class affluence of Altringham in Lancashire, they always had a domestic servant. The family was educated, decent and moral.
Blessed with both physical and mental strength, even though she was taller than most girls; with broad shoulders, an athletic frame and a distinctive look of bobbed brown hair, grey-blue eyes and a parrot-like nose - being calm, quiet and bookish - Emily was undeniably clever but painfully shy.
Described as “one of the nicest girls you could ever hope to meet”, Emily was always smartly dressed, sweet-natured and polite. She never have a bad bone in her body, a curse word on her lips or a hurtful thought in her head, and being so prepared and placid, her unflappable attitude would guide her through the endless tragedies which would befall her life.
Aged seventeen, her parents died in an accident, and with both of her brothers (Edward and Charles) and her eldest sister (Gertrude) dying a few years later, living with her one remaining sister – Elizabeth – Emily supported herself for more than twenty years; having wisely invested her £600 inheritance in shares, spent frugally and earned a decent living as a professional secretary. But by 1922, with her sister Elizabeth now a married mum living in Manchester, 36 year old Emily moved to London.
Eager to live somewhere safe for a single lady, near to her work and not too far from her bowls club, but nowhere which would break-the-bank or cause her to dip into her savings (of almost £35,000 today), being financially astute, Emily moved into the Green Cross Club at 68 Guilford Street. And in a small but stylish flat that she shared with her close pal and tennis partner - Edith Mary Warren - who she nicknamed “Fizz”, with Emily affectionately nicknamed “Peter”, the two ladies were inseparable.
With tragedy behind her, by being both calm and clever, Emily had blossomed into a self-sufficient woman with a good job, a nice life, solid savings and no worries. But with her fortieth birthday slowly looming, most of her pals all married off, and being cruelly seen by society as a spinster, she felt that her last chance at love had slipped away.
And then, she met the man of her dreams.
In May 1923, whilst working as a secretary at an accountants called Robertson Hill & Co in Moorgate, Consols Automatic Aerators Ltd, a factory which made Soda Fountains went into liquidation. With Robertson Hill & Co appointed as the receiver, Emily regularly spoke on the phone with the company’s sales manager and a friendship ‘of-sorts’ was formed, but it wasn’t until the July that they would meet.
When Pat walked in, Emily was instantly smitten.
As a striking six footer with deep chestnut eyes, soft wavy brown hair and a cheeky roguish grin, who lifted the mood of any room like a ray of Irish sunshine, Pat had the looks and Emily fell for his charm.
Having been a single lady for a good long while, unused to doing the wooing and feeling her forties charge forth, Emily was a little rusty at courtship. That aside, any passionate plans would be scuppered as Pat was still married, but having been reassured that his and his wife’s relationship was as-good-as done and an amicable divorce was close-to imminent, happy that no-one would be hurt, Emily pursued her man and her hopes for a lasting love.
By September, after a delightful day by the river, their first “intimacy” took place. Emily was deeply in love, and as her heart pounded, so did the pace of their relationship, as talk turned to marriage. Emily was eager for them to live respectfully and legally as “man and wife”, so awaiting his divorce, the usually frugal Emily quit her job, sold her shares in Dunlop and the Meux Brewery, and withdrew £400 (£25000 today), as Emily & Pat planned to begin a new exciting life together in South Africa via Paris.
On 27th March 1924, as Emily recuperated from the flu at the South Western Hotel in Southampton (as the sea air did wonders for her health) Pat popped into a high-street jewellers and purchased a 14 carat gold ring with a large sapphire surrounded by diamonds. That night, over champagne, with the stars twinkling bright and having got down on bended knee, Pat proposed and Emily’s dream came true.
Giddy with excitement, on 1st April, a beaming Emily returned to London, a sparkler on her finger and a spring in her step, as having set a date for the big day, her future looked rosy. In her room, she wrote letters to her close friends and one remaining sister informing them of her “great news”. And with no need to live in such a solitary space for old maids and unloved spinsters, especially now that her pal and flat-mate “Fizz” was seeing her new beau called Fred, with love in the air, Emily packed.
On the morning of Monday 7th April 1924, having hailed a taxi and carting a tennis racket, a hat box and a large brown trunk, all wisely etched with her initials of ‘EBK’ (should they ever be misplaced), Emily exited the black front door and left the Green Cross Club forever. (Change)
In the left luggage kiosk at the south side of Waterloo Station, John Beard stared at the Gladstone bag, its clasp lock firmly shut, but having peeped inside and seen further proof of Pat’s adultery – a pair of women’s bloomers – the question wasn’t just who was this woman, but where was she now?
Although adultery wasn’t a criminal offence, as an officer in the British Transport Police, John had the authority to open any bag he deemed suspicious, and using a small penknife, he easily picked the lock.
Inside, the hard leather case was a unsightly mess, as having been packed fast and stashed here so its contents would be hidden from his long-suffering and rightfully dubious wife, not only did the bag contain irrefutable evidence of her husband’s infidelity, but also the dire consequences of conducting an adulterous affair. As finding a pair of ladies bloomers, a torn silk nightdress, a white bath towel - all of which were bloodstained - and a sharp knife, often being performed by the untrained in secluded and unsanitary conditions, a backstreet abortion was illegal, and for many woman, it was fatal. So fearing a crime had been committed, John Beard contacted Superintendent Welsey of Scotland Yard.
Emily’s drab little life as a lonely spinster was finally over and her new exciting life as a wife-to-be was about to begin. Having travelled by train from Waterloo to the coastal town of Eastbourne, as agreed, she booked herself into the Kenilworth Court Hotel to await her lover and recover from the flu.
Oddly, being so athletic, she was usually strong as an ox and fighting-fit, but after three weeks nausea, insomnia and vomiting which had left her quite weak, with her sickness confined to the mornings and her “ladies curse” unusually late this month and last, this wasn’t the flu, but something more joyful.
As Emily recuperated, having seen an advert in Dalton’s Weekly, Pat rented a romantic little bungalow called The Officer’s House in Pevensey Bay; a sweet whitewashed cottage in a row of former homes for the local Coast Guard, which overlooked the sea between Eastbourne and Bexhill.
As a love-nest, it was perfect; as set on a coastal walk, the lovers could stroll along the shingle beach as the rolling waves splashed about their feet, far from the prying eyes and wagging tongues of those who disapproved, but still being quite a cautious lady, with the cottage rented from 11th April until 8th June, this gave Pat & Emily time to live as “husband and wife” before they eloped overseas.
So with the quaint little bungalow stocked-full of everything the couple would ever need; a master bedroom, three guest rooms and two sitting rooms featuring a cosy coal fire; a box-room to store her large trunk and other such luggage, a kitchen with every conceivable utensil and a scullery chockful of logs, kindling and (if needed) an axe; being woozy with dreams of romantic nights cuddled-up with her lover beside a roaring fire, the fee was paid in advance and Pat pocketed a letter confirming the lease.
On Saturday 12th April, Emily checked out of the Kenilworth Court Hotel, she politely asked if any mail for her could be redirected to Paris - their first stop before South Africa – and having loaded up her tennis racket in a brown canvas satchel, a hat box and a large brown trunk, she met Pat off the train at slightly later time of 4:49pm and made their way to The Officer’s House in Pevensey Bay.
On the afternoon of the 13th, the loving couple were seen walking arm-in-arm along the shingle beach. On midday of the 14th, Emily posted a letter to her pal (which was stamped with a date, a time and a place). And on the morning of Tuesday 15th April, a butcher delivering meat to a cottage adjoining their own saw Emily heading out to the shops, and – being a polite lady – she smiled and waved.
That was the last time she was seen alive.
Having given Miss Warren a forwarding address of ‘c/o The Standard Bank in Capetown, South Africa’, as a sweet-natured woman whose thoughts were always of others and rarely about herself, the last letter she ever wrote was to arrange to see her beloved friend again.
“Dear old Fizz. Very many thanks for sending on the parcel. Apparently you’re up in town this weekend, I wonder if Fred is up with you. Pat arrived and we are having a very nice time – quiet – but a nice change from town. He particularly wants to get us to Paris for Easter and I would love you and Fred to come and have dinner with us before setting out on our final journey. I shall look forward to seeing you then. We are returning from here on Wednesday and going straight over to Paris. Gay old Paris. Love to all my pals at the club and lots to yourself old thing. Yours ever. Peter”
But by the time Fizz had received it, Emily was dead.
At the left luggage kiosk in Waterloo Station, John Beard showed Superintendent Welsey the ripped and bloodied rags stashed inside the Gladstone bag; a bath towel, a nightdress and a pair of bloomers.
Still uncertain whether adultery or an illegal abortion had taken place, with no proof that a crime had been committed, the contents of the bag were purely circumstantial. The clothes could merely be rags used to mop up a spill or to wrap-up a butcher’s blade. Being ten inches long, the Cook’s knife was too unwieldy for an abortion as the thick serrated blade was better at carving up meat, therefore the blood was just as likely to have come from an animal in an abattoir. And with the initials ‘EBK’ matching no-one who had been reported missing, the evidence pointed to a possible affair, but nothing more.
And yet, with the blood’s origin undetermined and the base of the Gladstone bag oozing with a strange yellowy-brown layer of grease, Chief Inspector Guy Savage requested the assistance of the Divisional Surgeon Aubrey Scott Gillett. As if the blood was human and the grease was what the Police thought it was, they knew that – whoever EBK was - something very bad had happened to her.
The night of Tuesday 15th April 1924 was nasty, as a violent storm ripped through the heart of Pevensey Bay and a biting rain lashed down the whitewashed walls of the bungalow. So dark was the night that as a thick soupy fog suffocated the moonlight and the bitter wind howled so loud - like a pack of hungry wolves tearing at fleshy carcass – that from inside their little love-nest, nothing could be seen or heard.
Illuminated by candles, a coal-fire and gas-lights, although Pat had stocked the cast iron cauldron full of coal and spent a short while chopping logs into little lumps, all with a pointlessly small axe; the roast dinner was a disaster thanks to the kitchen’s old pots, cracked crockery and blunt knives. And as the storm raged, the weather outside matched the mood inside, as not only was Pat still married, not only was Pat still not divorced, but being just days from leaving for Paris, Pat still didn’t have a passport,
At around 10:30pm, although we can never be certain, as Emily stood in the sitting room; dressed in slippers, bloomers and a silk nightdress, the question of Pat’s commitment arose, as her last chance at love slowly began slipping away.
In a later statement, Pat would say “She fumed and raved. Suddenly, in a fit of anger, she picked up a coal axe and threw it at me. It glanced off my shoulder and it hit the bedroom door, breaking the shaft”. When investigated, the Police would find a small hand-axe, its handle split.
“I felt appalled at the fury she showed me and realised suddenly how strong she was. She dashed at me and clutched at my face and neck”. Talking to those who knew her, it was clear that as a tall broad-shouldered woman and a keen tennis player, she was powerfully built and knew how to handle herself.
“In sheer desperation and fright, I did my best to fight back, we struggled, fell over an easy chair and Miss Kaye's head came into violent contact with the round coal cauldron”. And as expected, by the side of the sitting-room fireplace, the Police would find a cast iron cauldron with one of its legs bent.
“She lay stunned or dead. The next few seconds I cannot remember, except as a nightmare of horror for I saw blood begin to issue from Miss Kaye's head. I did my utmost to revive her”. But by then, it was too late and Emily Beilby Kaye was dead.
Pat’s statements continued… “The struggle reduced me to exhaustion, and as the terrible position I was in flooded my brain, I cannot remember, but I think I gently placed the body of Miss Kaye into the trunk”. In the box-room, the Police would find a large brown trunk, bloodstained and initialled with the letters ‘EBK’.
“I came up to London on 17th April and purchased a knife and a small saw”. At the Staines Kitchen Equipment Company at 94 Victoria Street, a salesman sold Pat a ten inch Cook’s knife and a butcher’s meat saw, as in the cottage’s kitchen, its largest knives were too blunt to be of any use.
Petrified of this dreadful accident being uncovered, “I severed the legs from the hips, cut off the head and the arms, which I burnt in the fire. I boiled some of the flesh in a pot, the smell was appalling, so I cut up the portions small, packed them in a brown Gladstone bag and I threw them out of the train between Waterloo and Richmond”. All of which was corroborated by a stack of stained pots, a foul smell and ash in the fire’s pan, but sadly, no flesh was ever found by the sniffer-dogs.
Having stashed the Gladstone bag in the left luggage kiosk of Waterloo Station as “I was returning to the bungalow to get some more flesh to be disposed of”, on the evening of Monday 28th April, Pat returned home, hung up his suit which wreaked with the stench of a boiled body, and – as if nothing had happened - he kissed his wife and child (End).
The death of Emily Beilby Kaye was effectively an ‘open and shut’ case; a tragic accident backed-up by facts and a statement by her lover. If found guilty of manslaughter, Pat would serve a few years in prison, but with no other witnesses and very little evidence to suggest ‘foul play’, Pat would most likely face the lesser charge of ‘denying a proper burial’, for which he would serve just a few weeks.
On Friday 1st May 1924, seventeen days after she was last seen alive, Police Divisional Surgeon Aubrey Scott Gillett confirmed that the bloodstains found on the rags and the yellowy-brown grease which oozed across the base of the Gladstone bag were human.
Having identified the victim by linking the ‘EBK’ initials on her canvas satchel to her tennis club, the Police knew who she was; but with no departures to Paris or South Africa in her name, and no letters or sightings after the 15th April (which was highly unusual for such a social and thoughtful lady), the Police suspected that something bad had happened to Emily, but they had no idea what, or even where she was.
The Police were certain of one thing - this was not an accident, or an abortion, this was a murder.
But how do you prove a murder took place when an accident is the most logical answer? How do you prove a murder when the victim is missing? How do you disprove a murderer’s alibi when his statement is factually accurate but clearly a tissue of lies? And how do you prove that a murder was premeditated and committed in cold-blood, when every essential piece of evidence has been either boiled, burned or destroyed, and the body of the victim herself… will never be found?
To be continued…
OUTRO: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for listening to Murder Mile.
The concluding part of The Fatal Fling of Emily Beilby Kaye continues next week. For all of Mickey’s Bakewell tart chomping beauties, there’s more tea-riffic treats and cakey-goodness after the break, but before that, here’s my recommended podcasts of the week. (PROMO)
A huge thank you goes out to my new Patreon supporters, who are Wendy Evans, Russell Tudge and Kara Langford, I thank you, with an extra thank you to the patrons who have even increased their pledge to get extra goodies like early and ad-free episodes of Murder Mile. Ooh. I thank you.
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Murder Mile was researched, written & performed by myself, with the main musical themes written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name.
Thank you for listening and sleep well.
The Murder Mile Threadless Store
Credits: The Murder Mile true-crime podcast was researched, written and recorded by Michael J Buchanan-Dunne, with the sounds recorded on location (where possible), and the music written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name. Additional music was written and performed as used under the Creative Common Agreement 4.0.
The music featured in this episode include:
Sources: This case was researched using the original declassified police investigation files from the National Archives.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tor of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British podcast Awards 2018", and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
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