Fifty-two years ago, Trinidadian brothers Nizamodeen and Arthur Hosein were charged and convicted for kidnapping and murdering an Australian woman in England.
The body of their victim, Muriel McKay was never found and now, Scotland Yard investigators have reopened the case, prompted by information provided to McKay’s relatives by Nizamodeen.
Nizamodeen, who was 21 at the time, was imprisoned for 20 years and deported to Trinidad upon his release, while Arthur died at a psychiatric facility in England in 2009. Nizamodeen now lives at his family home at Couva.
In an interview with Guardian Media at his home, 73-year-old Nizamodeen complained of having nothing to eat, saying he was down on his luck and suffering.
“I still going through it, I still living it, I suffering because of it, look where I sitting here I broke, I cant say let me go and buy a biscuit to eat,” Nizamodeen said.
The house where he now lives alone was built by his father in 1952. It is now dilapidated and its threadbare furnishings are littered with garbage.
Nizamodeen described it as matching its owner– run down and dirty.
When asked whether he had confessed to the McKay family’s attorney, Matthew Gayle, that he had buried Muriel’s body on the farm his brother owned, Nizamodeen denied it.
“Eh eh, I didn’t reveal anything,” he said.
Pressed as to what he told Gayle, Nizamodeen said Gayle’s visits with him in December 2021 were not for that purpose.
“I don’t remember, we spoke about so many things so it is difficult now to remember because I never recorded it and it wasn’t a visit to be recorded, it was a social visit.”
He also claimed he could not remember pointing out the spot he claimed to have buried Muriel’s body in on a map of the farm shown to him by Gayle.
Asked if he had trouble with his memory, Nizamodeen said, “Not really, maybe he (Gayle) is speculating.”
He said he remembers speaking to Muriel’s daughter, Diane, via Zoom during one of Gayle’s visits.
“I don’t know how to describe that…shocking, heartfelt, I felt a very deep emotion inside, if it were my mom I would feel the same way.”
Asked if he could remember how Muriel died, Nizamodeen said he did not want to revisit that memory.
“I was on the fringe, I wasn’t involved too deep, there were other people involved that never came to the fore, the names never came up, whose name, I choose to forget,” he said.
He later said he was just a “messenger” who delivered ransom notes to Muriel’s relatives.
“I was just a young boy at that time, I was a young boy who was told to go and post this letter, do this and that, I was a messenger boy. That’s why the jury found it difficult to find me guilty and recommend—unanimously—recommended leniency because the crown is very strong and they thought I knew more than I was saying and because of that I was penalised and I suffered dearly, 20 years and one week. And the pressure has been on me ever since and even up until now…watch (gestures to camera) a perfect example,” Nizamodeen said.
Although he claimed not remember who came up with the plan for the kidnapping, Nizamodeen said his brother was highfalutin and dreamed of a life of grandeur while he was young and naive.
“He had many friends, he was a tailor. He was a sociable fella, he was in England long before me, he was an East London boy, and when you East Londoner you bright and beautiful and I was a stupid Dow Village boy, so I had a “cane-field mentality” as they used to say.”
Nizamodeen said he has been unable to live a “normal life” as his criminal record made it difficult for him to find steady employment once he was back in Trinidad. He said that inability to find jobs led to him spending his life alone, as he said he could not afford a wife or children.
But he said despite his age, he is disease-free.
“I have no disease, so I am not paying for no deeds, you know they say when you have diseases you paying for your deeds. All I have is that I am alone, never took a wife, because I can’t afford to maintain a wife because I wasn’t working and maintaining a wife is expensive,” he said.
Asked if he would cooperate with Scotland Yard investigators in locating Muriel’s body, Nizamodeen said, “Well if they are going to do the search, I am the only one alive, my brother has died and gone his way a long long time…they charged me for demanding $5 million pounds. Tell Scotland Yard if they have five mil they can come and talk to me, other than that don’t worry.”
He later said he would talk to the investigators but he could not remember speaking about burying Muriel’s body.
And while Nizamodeen denies he revealed any information, the McKay family’s attorney, Matthew Gayle has provided audio proof of Nizamodeen’s confession.
Gayle, who is currently in England with the McKay’s, said Nizamodeen revealed a lot during their talks that he had never spoken about before.
In the recording, Nizamodeen is heard answering questions posed by Gayle. He claimed to have buried Muriel’s body himself, after she died of a heart attack.
“I panicked and dug the grave…I carried the body on my shoulder,” Nizamodeen said in the recording.
Gayle said Nizamodeen’s latest statements were attempts to manipulate the media.
“I wouldn’t have told you he had given me this information if I couldn’t prove it, in fact we have video recordings and audio recordings of him giving us this information,” Gayle said. “Mr Hosein over the last 50 years, his track record has been telling untruths and half-truths to the media who he clearly enjoys manipulating.”
Gayle said the family was hopeful that investigators would use the information in the audio recordings—during which Nizamodeen gives precise directions about where he said he buried Muriel’s body alone—to start a fresh search for her remains.
“We are hopeful that the Metropolitan Police are going to conduct the necessary, first non-invasive but then we are hoping that they will be able after the first non-invasive search will be able to locate the body of Muriel McKay,” Gayle said.
The McKay kidnapping
When the brothers had kidnapped Muriel from her Arthur Street, Wimbledon home on December 29, 1969, they believed they were taking Anna Murdoch, then-wife of British mogul Rupert Murdoch.
However, the woman they took was the wife of Rupert Murdoch’s second-in-command, Alick McKay.
Muriel McKay had been using Murdoch’s car while the couple was away on vacation.
She was 55. Her husband returned to their home that night and found their phone ripped out of the wall and his wife’s purse scattered on the floor.
Hours later, he received a phone call from a man claiming to be from an organisation called “M3”. The kidnapper admitted they had taken the wrong person but still demanded a one million pound ransom for Muriel’s safe return.
Over the next 40 days, two attempts were made to catch the kidnappers by police who set out fake money to meet the ransom demand. The Hosein brothers were eventually held at Arthur’s Hertfordshire farmhouse, where evidence that Muriel had been kept, was found.
Although her body was never recovered, both brothers were charged with her murder. There was widespread speculation at the time that Muriel’s body had been cut into pieces and fed to the pigs the brothers reared on the farm