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Welcome to the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast and audio guided walk of London's most infamous and often forgotten murder cases, set within and beyond the West End.
Today’s episode is about Elizabeth McLindon, a lonely lady looking for love who had finally found her future husband in a man named Arthur Robert Boyce, and although this sweet and attentive man seemed like ‘Mr Right’, he was actually a liar, a thief, a bigamist and - soon enough - her murderer.
As many photos of the case are copyright protected by greedy news organisations, to view them, take a peek at my entirely legal social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The location of the 45 Chester Square where Elizabeth McLindon was murdered is where the rum & raison triangle is. To use the map, click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, such as Soho, King's Cross, Paddington, etc, 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.
Credits: The Murder Mile UK 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.
SOURCES: This episode was researched using the original police investigation files from the National Archive, two were availble.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE: ELIZABETH MCLINDON AND THE WRONG 'MR RIGHT'
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 and beyond the West End.
Today’s episode is about Elizabeth McLindon, a lonely lady looking for love who had finally found her future husband in a man named Arthur Boyce, and although this sweet and attentive man seemed like ‘Mr Right’, he was actually a liar, a thief, a bigamist and – just months later - her murderer.
Murder Mile is researched using the original police files. It contains moments of satire, shock and grisly details, and as a dramatization 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 92: Elizabeth McLindon and the Wrong ‘Mr Right’.
Today I’m standing on Chester Square in Belgravia, SW1; four roads west of the McSwan family whose bodies were dissolved by the acid bath murderer, three streets north of Victoria Station where Patrick Mahon dumped the hacked-up bits of Emily Kaye, a few doors down from the murder house of Lord Lucan and four streets south of the infamous Spaghetti House Siege - coming soon to Murder Mile.
Being tucked behind Buckingham Palace, Belgravia is so posh it makes Mayfair look like the discount bin at Poundland. Everything here is super expensive to keep the riff-raff out, nothing is signposted so the tourists stay away, there’s enough back streets so the nannies need never-be-seen, and just like its residents, Belgravia is extremely wealthy, but it has no style, soul or personality. It’s ugly, old and has had so many lifts that you can’t see its wrinkles, and yet it’s so sour-faced, it never smiles anyway.
So if you’re a pointless posh thing with a huge inheritance and no real purpose, here you can buy all manner of useless crap to fill your vapid empty life; like doggy tiaras, toddler Lamborghinis, mink tampons, caviar mars bars, smoothies made from snow leopards, a bum-servant for when you’re too posh wipe your own arse and a wet-nurse whose boobs dispense almond milk and chilled champagne.
In the centre of Belgravia, on an s-shaped side-street is 45 Chester Square; a five-storey grade-two listed cream-coloured townhouse, with nine bedrooms, six bathrooms, five reception rooms and a sale price of £6.5 million pounds. And even though its most famous resident was once King George II of Greece, its most infamous resident wasn’t those who lived here, but those who died.
As it was here, on Saturday 8th June 1946, that Elizabeth McLindon - the housekeeper to the King of Greece - was murdered, having met the wrong man who she believed was ‘Mr Right’. (Interstitial)
Given her upbringing, it’s no surprise that Elizabeth was a dreamer.
Born in 1905, Eliza was one of ten children raised in a large Irish family, who had emigrated from the rain-soaked poverty of County Derry to the choking acrid stench of Bathgate, an industrial town in the mid-lowlands of Scotland. Like a deep black stain on its lush green heart, Bathgate was a putrid mess of coal mines, slag heaps, shale pits, brickworks and steelyards which loomed over the shabby terraces its workers called home, as day-after-day, their air became dirtier, their food grittier, the sunlight was eclipsed by thick dark clouds and their words were drowned-out by the thunder of machines, as when it rained, the crystal-clear water from the hills oozed down the sooty streets like black soupy rivers.
Times were hard, life was difficult and (living a hand-to-mouth existence) when the work dried-up, the family were forced to move onto the next squalid hell-hole, from Bathgate to Newcastle to Liverpool. And although, she was unskilled, untrained and poorly educated, Eliza dreamed of so much more than just warmer clothes, fuller bellies and all-the-basics… only better. For her future, she dreamed big.
Unlike her sisters who had married into only marginally better lives, but still struggled having bagged a husband who was only slightly less poor than their parents, Eliza planned to marry a millionaire; a titled gent, maybe a Lord, with lands, estates and servants, who would shower this hopeless romantic with fine foods, mink shawls and sparkling jewels, in a life of indescribable luxury and opulence.
But fulfilling her dream was always going to be difficult, and in her case, it would remain just a dream. Firstly, she was a working-class nobody from nowhere up north with no connections to high society. Secondly, as unfair as it was, being a short stout girl who was never the prettiest, the smartest or the wittiest, she was hardly the type to catch a gentleman’s eye. And thirdly, although ambitious, being a flaky lady who hated hard work, she was too eager to live the easy life and too lazy to put in the effort.
And yet, fuelled by dreams of falling in love and already planning her big wedding, she never gave up.
In 1925, Eliza moved to London and enrolled as a trainee nurse at the Metropolitan Hospital in Dalston, where she hoped she’d meet dishy doctor or a wealthy widow. But with her attendance poor, being slow to learn and unable to stand the sight of blood, after less than one year, she quit.
In 1926, she took a short course in domestic service at the Regents Street Polytechnic, hoping to go from a live-in housekeeper to the lady-of-the-house in one-fell-swoop. But with the hours long, the pay poor and her work record a little sketchy, she drifted from job-to-job, unloved and unmarried.
In 1930, with her standards set a lot lower, 25-year-old Eliza moved into a tiny flat in Tottenham with William Mutlow, a 56-year-old labourer and petty thief, and even though he was a bad man with a big heart who would do anything for her, she liked the attention, but felt she deserved better.
Serving in the American Red Cross as a nurse during the war, Eliza hoped to become the Florence Nightingale to a General, a Colonel, or even a Corporal would do, but being a 40-year-old spinster, her wealthy lover looked illusive, and having got back with her ex, she had considered settling for William.
In May 1945, Eliza struck gold, having been hired as housekeeper to Lord Angus Holden in his palatial Knightsbridge townhouse. Being giddy with glee, Eliza fell for this young handsome bachelor and (as she did with every man she had ever met) she dreamed that one day this wealthy Baron would become her husband. But Lord Holden wasn’t ‘the one’, in fact, he wasn’t her lover, he was just her employer.
After nine months of service, fearing this scandalously pregnant single-woman would bring shame on the Baron, Eliza was forced to quit her job. Having spent ten days in St George’s hospital, crippled by infection owing to the complications from an illegal abortion – being broke and homeless – her forever lover (William Mutlow) paid for Eliza to rest and recuperate by the fresh seaside air of Brighton. And here, feeling physically weak and mentally drained, Eliza had lost all hope of ever achieving her dream.
But it’s when she least expected it that her dream came true.
On 3rd April 1946, Eliza met a wealthy businessman called Arthur Boyce; he was a well-spoken, sharply dressed bachelor and a decorated war-hero who had proudly served his country as a Sergeant in the Queen’s Regimental Guards. He was loving, charming, passionate and - being so besotted by Eliza – he was desperate to marry her and to make her happy forever. Finally, Eliza had met her ‘Mr Right’…
…but three months later, ‘Mr Right’ became ‘Mr Wrong’. (Interstitial)
Arthur was a liar…
Every word he uttered was a twisted fact or distorted tale deliberately concocted to wheedle his evil little way into the broken heart of this giddy love-sick lady, but his life was a sham. There was nothing distinguished about his upbringing. In fact, he was as dirt poor as Eliza, but where-as she dreamed of marrying into money, he dreamed of ripping them off.
Arthur Robert Boyce was born on 12th January 1901 in Poplar, East London; an industrial dock thick with the chaotic thud and chug of ships, trains and cranes, as day and night, wagons full of fresh fruit, exotic fish and fine wines thundered-by tantalisingly close to the slum house of the Boyce family. With no electricity, no gas, no water and no sewage, they were only warm when their father could earn.
In the Spring of 1911, Arthur’s father died, leaving his mother a widow with five children to feed. Some days they ate, some days they didn’t, and although - being the youngest and only semi-literate – life got a little easier as his older brothers went off to war, the family still struggled. Arthur didn’t want to be poor anymore, but without the skills or the discipline to earn it… instead, he stole it.
In 1917, Arthur was old enough to fight for his country, to earn an honest crust and (as his brothers did) to support his ailing mother… but he didn’t. Seeing anything which wasn’t nailed-down as his for the taking, Arthur descended into a life of petty crime. Aged 16, he was bound-over for pinching a watch. Aged 17, he served three months’ hard labour for nicking a gold ring. And his theft and deceit continued right up to the moment that he stole Eliza’s heart, with one eye on her employer’s wealth.
As a boyfriend, he was no more a loving or loyal man than he was an actual bachelor.
Aged 19, Arthur married his pregnant girlfriend Emily Twinley and in 1923, Eileen was born. Being a dad, he could have become a good provider by going straight… but he didn’t, and he celebrated her birth by serving six weeks hard labour for stealing a bike. Again in 1925, Robert was born, whilst Arthur did one month inside for abandoning his wife. In 1927, he missed Leonard’s birth by doing three months for stealing lead, and he missed a year of their childhoods having nicked fags, booze and cash.
In 1939, he said he joined the Army, but he didn’t. In 1940, that he had escaped Dunkirk, but he hadn’t. In 1943, as part of the Middle East Expeditionary Force, that he’d been blown-up by a mine, causing a limp and tremor to his right hand, and although his injuries were real, the story was not. And in 1944, as a decorated Sergeant in the Queen’s Regimental Guards, he was discharged on a good pension and would forever regale his pals with tales of his bravery. At least, that’s what he said, but it was all a lie.
In truth, having been whacked on the head with a bit of timber, he was in a coma for a day, in hospital for a year and confined to a spinal jacket for three years. In 1940, his fourth child was born, but by then, he had abandoned Emily. In 1942, he served another year for forgery. In 1943, he met Kathleen Whittle and having falsely claimed to be a grieving widower whose wife and kids had died in the blitz, one year later, she became his second wife and Arthur served eighteen months for bigamy. In 1945, he swindled £1500 using forged cheques, but by April 1946, having squandered the lot, he was broke and was earning a pittance as a carpenter at the House of Fun on Brighton’s Palace Pier.
The man was a liar, a cheat, a thief and a bigamist, and yet, it was there that he met his next target.
As a small frail woman, still weak as she recuperated by the sea air from the pain of a botched abortion, being duped by the promise of love, Eliza was easy prey. And as Arthur attentively listened to her tales of woe, of her wealthy employers, and how this hopeless romantic had dreamed of marrying a well-spoken and wealthy war-hero - before her very eyes - this sham artist transformed into ‘Mr Right’.
For Eliza, being so giddy she couldn’t see the truth through his lies, she lived every day like it was a fantasy. But just six days before they were wed, Arthur Boyce would shoot her dead (Interstitial).
Eliza was literally living her dream…
On 26th April 1946, after a decade of domestic service, with her references poor but an impressive list of past employers, Eliza acquired the prestigious position as housekeeper to King George II of Greece, in his Belgravia residence at 45 Chester Square. Her role was high-profile, her wage was decent, she had a weekly food allowance and – living there, rent-free, in this unoccupied five-storey townhouse whilst it was redecorated - all she had to do was keep it clean should His Majesty arrive unannounced.
But better still, her love life was blooming.
Eliza had found herself the perfect man, who was attentive, generous and kind; when they were apart their phone calls were loving and heartfelt, when they were together their sex was hot and steamy, and in their letters, they talked of nothing but bright futures. And with her wealthy war-veteran having promised to cash-in £350 from his military pension, to set them up in their first home and to start his own business as a builder, having got engaged and set a wedding date for 16th June, just a few weeks away, being whisked up in a whirlwind romance, Eliza set about preparing for her big day.
For his blushing bride-to-be, Arthur’s generosity knew no bounds.
On Monday 3rd June, he spoiled Eliza with a meal of champagne and caviar at the exclusive Scott’s of Mayfair. Being a few quid short, Arthur paid by cheque, and even though the Head Waiter’s suspicions were aroused by the misspelling of simple words like “too” and “fore”, taking five days for the money to clear, Arthur would bounce cheques all over town and no-one would notice for at least a week.
That day, Arthur called ‘TM Sutton the Jewellers’ and ordered that a diamond ring be brought to King of Greece’s home. With Eliza dazzled by the sparkling gems, as Arthur made out a cheque for £174 (almost £16,000 today), she didn’t spot that he had misspelt “one hundred” but the salesman did, and arranged for them to collect it, only once the cheque had cleared. But some shops weren’t so cautious.
Tuesday 4th June, from ‘Joseph Skinner & Co’, Arthur ordered a basket of wild mushrooms and exotic fruits worth £500 today. On Wednesday 5th, from The White Company on New Bond Street, he treated Eliza to a pig-skin handbag, a red lizard purse and a lace wedding veil amounting to £9000, which he paid for by cheque having name-dropped the King every chance he got. On Thursday 6th, Arthur hired a chauffeur-driven limo from Moon Motors Ltd to escort himself and his lover around the West End for a day of shopping, theatre and cocktails. And on Friday 7th, he purchased her so many bouquets of flowers it was impossible to enter her bedroom, as well as a fur coat which cost more than a house.
That day, in Eliza’s local paper - the Liverpool Echo - Arthur pronounced the marriage between “Miss Elizabeth McLindon of Liverpool and Mr Arthur Robert Boyce of St Clement Mansions in Putney”, an address he had never lived at, and to assuage her suspicious siblings (Patrick and Veronica), he sent them both cheques to cover their expenses for attending the wedding, to the value of £5000 each.
Eliza was so blinded by love, that she fell under his spell…
…but she wasn’t so dense that she didn’t see the warning signs.
Not once in the three months they were together did Arthur’s military pension ever seem to pay-out. By the end of their week’s extravagant spending spree, being unable to track down Arthur, every store they had visited called Eliza to complain as each cheque had bounced, even those to her own family. And having name-dropped King George II of Greece and had a wealth of lavish goods hand-delivered to 45 Chester Square (including several tailored suits, smart shoes and gold watches for himself), the King’s Private Secretary - Sophocles Papanicolaou – was now being chased for payment.
Eliza wasn’t a great housekeeper and now – being suspected of being a thief - her job was on the line.
Very quickly their love had grown stale; every kiss was followed by an apology, every love letter was proceeded by a fight and - with Arthur proving to be far-from-perfect - all of his promises were broken, all of his facts became lies, his compassionate nature was replaced by a violent temper, and even though he had claimed to be a bachelor, Eliza was already suspicious that this was not the truth
On 29th May 1946, Eliza sent a letter to Kathleen Whittle of Bournemouth, asking if she had broken off her engagement to Arthur. On Friday 7th June, Kathleen replied and Eliza’s dream shattered. Not only did Arthur marry Kathleen, and he was still married to Kathleen, but she uncovered his long criminal history of theft, fraud, abandonment and bigamy, as he was still married to his first wife, Emily.
Eliza confronted Arthur over this, he denied any wrongdoing, but for Eliza the romance was over.
At 5pm, as a nervous wreck who hadn’t slept in a week, Eliza went to a local chemist called Jagg & Co, and having told the pharmacist of her woes, her stresses and how she had planned to break-off the engagement to her bigamous fiancé that weekend, to settle her nerves, he prescribed a mild sedative.
That night, Eliza slept well, but that sleep would be her last.
Saturday 8th June 1946 was Eliza’s last day alive, but for London it was a moment of great joy, as to commemorate the end of the Second World War, the city would host the Victory Celebrations; a series of military processions by many Allied forces across Regent’s Park, The Mall and Hyde Park, featuring five hundred tanks and transports, one hundred thousand troops, a fly-by of three hundred aircraft, a flotilla of ships sailing down the Thames and the night culminating in the city’s skyline illuminated for the first time in seven years and a colossal fireworks display. It would be a party like no-other, and with the King’s decorators and Eliza taking the day off, 45 Chester Square would be empty.
At 11:30am, Eliza was witnessed at the Lyon’s Corner House Tearoom in Piccadilly, as she watched the parade march by. Ten minutes later, she was accompanied by Arthur, but their mood seemed strained.
At 1pm, the housekeeper at 46 Chester Square saw Eliza dash out, slam the front door hard and run into Elizabeth Street. Moments later, hearing a second slam, Arthur chased after her in a furious rage.
And that was the last ever sighting of Elizabeth McLindon.
Amongst the cacophony of a city in celebration, with street-parties roaring, excitable crowds cheering, planes flying in formation and the ceaseless bangs of fireworks, nobody heard that single gun-shot, and with the back room in the King’s house locked, Eliza’s body wouldn’t be found for days. (silence)
The very next day, on Sunday 9th June at 3pm, as thousands of slightly sore citizens stumbled home and grumbled about the huge hangovers they’d inherited from the previous night’s festivities – with no fanfare - King George II and Princess Christine of Greece arrived unannounced at 45 Chester Square, accompanied by their Private Secretary, Sophocles. Rightly, the King was displeased; the milk was still on the doorstep, his house was untidy, the housekeeper was absent and - even though her belongings were still in her bedroom – the backroom on the ground floor was locked and the key was missing.
Dissatisfied with her work, Sophocles had planned to sack Eliza anyway, and having quickly secured a replacement housekeeper who was actually good, he wasn’t concerned, he was just unimpressed.
But on Friday 14th June 1946 at 3:45pm, with Eliza having been missing for six days, the door still locked and the royal residents perturbed by an ominous smell and the festering buzz of flies, with the King’s permission, Detective Inspectors Ball and Hearne broke down the door, and found Eliza.
The backroom was small and dark; it had a door, a desk, a chair, a phone and nothing more. Seen from behind, Eliza looked alive. Or being sat upright, with her head to one side, her arms on the desk and her legs splayed below, perhaps she was asleep? Dressed in a blue skirt, jumper and the fur-lined coat she had worn to the parade, it looked like she had just come in to make a call, with her right hand near the phone and her left on an open directory, her finger poised at a list of local police stations.
As the Police approached, she was still and silent, but there was no denying that Eliza was dead.
At the nap of her neck, almost obscured by her shoulder-length brown hair was a small hole, easy to confuse with a birth mark or mole had the flies not been feeding on the dried blood, but as the officers came around to the corpse’s front, her cause of death was obvious. There were no defensive wounds and no signs of struggle or assault, but owing to her state of decomposition, she had died six day prior.
That night, as she sat to make a call, from the open door a few feet behind her, Eliza was shot once by .32 calibre Browning pistol; its nickel casing found on the floor, the crumpled bits of bullet embedded in the far wall and the wooden desk before her was spattered and soaked in her sticky dark blood.
The shot by her angry assailant was clumsy and rushed, as entering her neck and not her head, an inch off and she may have survived, but with her head angled forward as she read the phone directory, the bullet shattered her spinal column, smashed her upper jaw, and as the hard bone splintered the bullet into pieces which ripped through her soft palette, the lethal lead projectiles tore through the right of her nostrils, as slumping to her left, she freely-bled from her nose, mouth and face. Missing her brain, her death was not instantaneous, but (being paralysed) she sat alone and watched her life drain away.
Elizabeth McLindon was a giddy lady who dreamed of a marriage to a good man. She thought she had found ‘Mr Right’, but her body would be discovered, just two days before her wedding. (End)
The investigation was simple. In the three months they were together, Eliza had introduced her fiancé to many people. In her bedroom, he had left his ID card, ration book and clothes, as well as love-letters he had written whose scruffy handwriting and bad spelling matched the bounced cheques. At 11pm, that evening, 41-year-old Arthur Robert Boyce was held at Brighton Police Station, and although he had fabricated a series of letters to her friends, family and Eliza herself expressing his concern for her safety, even without a witness or a motive, Police had enough evidence to charge him with murder.
The three-day trial was held at the Old Bailey on 16th September 1946, and after seventy minutes of deliberation, the jury found him guilty. Asked if he wished to comment before his death sentence was passed, he said "I should like to thank his lordship. I think I have had a fair trial”, and as he gazed about the packed courtroom to soak-up his moment of celebrity, he said “although I am entirely innocent of this crime. Thank you". On 1st November, Arthur Robert Boyce was hanged at Pentonville Prison. Being arrogant to the last and seeing it all as his for the taking, he showed no remorse for Elizabeth McLindon – a giddy lady from a poor family who dreamed of a better life by marrying ‘Mr Right’.
OUTRO: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for listening to Murder Mile.
Up next is waffle time where nothing much really happens, except tea being drank, cake being eaten, and words being expelled from a mouth. So if you’re a fan of cakey drinky gobble-de-gook, stay tuned.
Before that, a big thank you to my new Patreon supporters who are Jenae Moxie Cruz, Anthea Richardson, Hanne Sofie Haagensen and Melissa Burnette, I thank you, with a special thank you to Kjartan Guðmundsson, Claire Wilmin and Selina Dean for the kind donations. I thank you all. And all the lovely reviews which people have left, I do read them all and it’s very much appreciated.
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.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour 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", one of The Telegraph's top five true-crime podcasts 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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