After Patrick Mahon had spent three successive weekends away from their home, his wife Jessie suspected he was not on company business as his firm’s sales manager, as he claimed. He must be up to his old tricks again, she decided.
Their first years together after their marriage in 1910 had not been easy. She had married a charming, handsome man who turned out also to be a crook, in trouble time and again for fraud, embezzlement and robbery with violence. He had also dabbled in bookmaking, running them both into debt.
Their lives had improved in 1922, however, when Jessie used her influence as a company secretary to get her husband a job with her employers as a salesman. His winning ways soon won him promotion, and they moved to a new home in Richmond, Surrey. By 1924 Jessie felt they had at last “turned the corner”… until a friend told her he had seen Patrick at Plumpton races on Easter Saturday.
Searching her husbands pockets, she found a left luggage ticket issued at Waterloo station. She gave the ticket to an inquiry agent friend, asking him to collect the article deposited and see if it were a bookie’s clerk’s outfit, as she suspected.
It turned out to be a Gladstone bag, and on collecting it on May 1st the agent found it contained bloodstained clothing and took it to Scotland Yard. After examining the contents, detectives repacked the bag, returned it to the station and retrieved its ticket. They told the agent to tell Jessie that the bag contained nothing to do with bookmaking, and to ask her to replace the left-luggage ticket in her husband’s pocket.
When Mahon arrived to collect the bag the next day he was arrested and taken to Scotland Yard, where he was asked to account for the bags bloodstained contents – a blue silk scarf, a torn pair of silk bloomers, a butcher’s knife, some disinfectant and a canvas tennis racket bag bearing the initials
Mahon said he was fond of dogs, and he supposed he had carried meat home for them in the bag. “You dont wrap dogs meat in silk, a detective told him.
Mahon spent the next hour sitting in silence as the investigators patiently awaited his explanation. Then he stood up. “I suppose you know everything, he said. “I will tell you the truth.
Then he sat down at the table, Detective Chief Inspector Percy Savage recalled in his memoirs, “and Inspector Hall wrote from his dictation the most amazing statement I have ever heard in my long career. It was nearly midnight when he began, and it was two and a half hours later before he had finished.
Mahon said that about 10 months earlier he had met 37-year-old Emily Beilby Kaye, a typist in the City, and on April 12th they went to a rented bungalow at the Crumbles on the coast near Eastbourne. On the night of APRIL 16th they quarrelled “and in a violent temper she threw an axe at me…it hit me a glancing blow. Then I saw red.”
He said that in the ensuing struggle Miss Kaye fell, striking her head on a coal scuttle. “I attempted to revive her, but I could not.”
On the morning of the 17th, his statement continued, he went to London where he bought a knife and a saw, returning to the bungalow that night. He spent the next day dismembering the body. “I severed the legs from the hips, the head, and left the arms on. I then put the various parts in a trunk in the bedroom and locked the door.”
Returning to the bungalow on the 22nd, he burned the head, feet and legs in the sitting-room grate. During another visit to the bungalow on the 26th he cut up the torso and cut off the arms. “I burned portions of them. The smell was appalling.”
Boiling other lumps, he cut them into small pieces, put them in a bag and threw them from his train between Waterloo and Richmond. On the following day he disposed of more pieces between Waterloo and Reading.
As soon as Mahon had completed his statement the detectives sped to the bungalow, where they found bones in the grate, body parts in a trunk, and the victim’s heart and other organs in a biscuit tin.
The pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury established that Emily had been pregnant, the police learned that Mahon had been fleecing her of her savings, and at his trial at Sussex Assizes he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Aged 34, he was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on September 9th, 1924, his story having ensured that it would be a long time before he was forgotten. He said that when he put Emily’s severed head on the fire, her long hair flared up and her eyes opened!