Date: 1 Dec 1961
Bridget McHugh was found in a coal cellar 40 years after her murder.
Three people were charged for her murder in 2003 but only convicted of perverting the course of justice. When they were arrested they all blamed each other.
It was said that Bridget McHugh had been murdered between 31 November 1961 and February 1962 and that he and some relatives had then buried her.
The four people said to have been involved were (ages as of 2003):
The man's daughter, a page-3 model, said that her father confessed to murdering Bridget McHugh.
However, Bridget McHugh's husband and his lover blamed the man's wife. When the man's wife was asked why she thought they had blamed her she said, 'Probably to save their own skin'.
At the inquest Bridget McHugh's husband and his lover refused to answer questions. When the man's wife was asked what had happened she said, 'I don't know what happened, only she vanished'.
Bridget McHugh had been from the Glasgow area and at the time of her murder had been living at 50 Amhurst Park in Hackney which has since been redeveloped and Joseph Court now stands there in its place. She had lived there with her two young daughters and a son. It was heard that before coming to London she had been living in Northern Ireland in the early 1960s but had come to London in order to track her husband down who had been living there with his mistress.
Her skeletal remains were found in February 2002 in the coal cellar of the house at 15a St Lukes Road, Notting hill by the police after they received a tip-off and it was thought that she had been murdered there. Her remains were found with an electrical flex wrapped around her neck and torso. Her body had been sliced in two.
However, her cause of death could not be determined.
The police appealed to anyone that had lived in the Hackney and Notting Hill areas in 1961 to come forward if they had any information. A Detective Inspector said, 'Amhurst Park as was has now been redeveloped, currently this site contains a block of flats, Joseph Court. 'I'm asking for anyone who lived in that area in 1961 to get in touch with us. We need to build up a picture of Bridget's life and the circumstances surrounding her death. 'Also we still need people who were living in St Luke's Road in 1961 to come forward'.
Bridget McHugh would have been either 27 or 28 when she was murdered.
Bridget McHugh was not reported missing until May 2000 when one of her daughters approached the police.
At a trial in 2003 the court heard that the man had killed her after his wife found him in bed with her and that the man and his wife and Bridget McHugh's husband had then buried her in the cellar. The man's wife had been Bridget McHugh's husband’s sister.
Bridget McHugh's husband, who was 69-years-old at the time of the 2003 trial admitted helping to bury his wife in the cellar but blamed the murder on his sister and her husband. It was heard that he later told his children that Bridget McHugh had either run off with another man or had died of kidney failure.
The man said to have murdered Bridget McHugh was noted for being the father of a page-3 model but he died in 1998. It was claimed that he had confessed to the murder to his daughter in 1979, but had also blamed her mother for the murder. However, his daughter didn't go to the police until February 2002.
It was noted that one of Bridget McHugh's three children had independently reported Bridget McHugh missing to the West Midland police in May 2000. It was heard that she had often asked her father what had happened to Bridget McHugh but she said that he would become aggressive when the matter was raised.
It was also heard that he had tried to pass off his lover as Bridget McHugh.
The page-3 model said, 'You must appreciate my father was a drunk and sick man. The story he gave me was he met some woman one night. My mother, walked in and found them together. She got into a fight with her and it was so bad that he (my father) finished her off. At parties he would talk about the body behind the chimney which was starting to smell. He said he put the body in the coal cellar and he even described how her leg were still sticking out'.
However, Bridget McHugh's husband's lover said that it had been the man's wife that had murdered Bridget McHugh. She said that the man's wife and Bridget McHugh had shared a single bed at the Amhurst Park Road property in Hackney and had had a row one night and that the argument had continued after they had got into bed. She said that she then later woke up to find the man's wife standing by her bed and said that she then said to her, 'Bridget is dead'.
Bridget McHugh's husband's lover said that she had been horrified by the confession and had taken Bridget McHugh's children away and that when she returned Bridget McHugh's body had gone and that Bridget McHugh's husband told her, 'Bridget is dead, the man's wife done it'.
It was heard that when the police had suggested that she had been involved in the murder as well that she denied it, 'saying, 'I did not. It was the man's wife'.
Bridget McHugh's husband also blamed his sister for the murder. He said, 'I came back home and my sister opened a cupboard and said, 'I've got rid of her'. 'There was Bridget. She was wrapped in a blanket. We had an awful row about it and I said, 'There was no need to do something like that. You can just tell the person to go, you don't have to kill them'. She did not say she had killed her, as far as I remember she just blurted it all out and I am really sure she said, 'I've got rid of the bitch'.
The court heard that Bridget McHugh's body was kept in the cupboard for a few days after which the man and Bridget McHugh's husband put it in a van and drove across London to 15a St Lukes Road in Notting Hill and that when they arrived the man told Bridget McHugh's husband to leave the body with him and that he would deal with it.
15a St Lukes Road had been a single three-storey terraced house at the time but was later converted into flats in the 1970s by a housing association. The basement flat beneath which Bridget McHugh had been buried had been occupied by a man since 1977. In 2003 he said, 'The police came last year and erected a big tent over the cellar. ''I have lived here for all these years and it is shocking to think I was walking past a dead body every day for so long. I still can't believe it happened here'.
Bridget McHugh's husband was jailed for three years. He had eleven children.
At Bridget McHugh's inquest in July 2003 the Coroner returned a verdict of unlawful killing.