For 10 years the murder of Mrs. Olive Nixon, 57, remained unsolved after she was found battered to death with a brick in an alley near her Regent’s Park home in London on NOVEMBER 6th, 1946. Then on August 10th, 1956, a 32-year-old labourer, Adam Ogilvie, walked into a police station and announced: “I killed Mrs. Nixon. I hit her on the head with a brick. It has been on my mind ever since.”
Asked why it had taken him 10 years to get around to confessing, he replied: “I have given myself up because I have been afraid that sooner or later I will kill another woman. Last Wednesday I met a girl at Hampstead. We walked to the woods and I had a terrible urge to kill her.”
His knowledge of Mrs. Nixon’s murder included details that had never been published, and this convinced detectives that he was indeed her killer. But at his Old Bailey trial he withdrew his confession. “It was false,” he said, telling the jury
“I made it up to prove my innocence to my wife – to get her back. I pretended to her that I did the killings and told her I would murder her too, if she didn’t stop quarrelling with me. I thought if I was acquitted she would come back.”
He had obtained his detailed knowledge of the murder, he said, from a man who told him about it. But the jury believed his confession, and he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Reprieved, he found his sentence commuted to life because the death penalty was in abeyance prior to the passing of the Homicide Act. Ogilvie had earlier served three years in prison for hitting another woman on the head with a brick, 19 months after Mrs. Nixon was murdered.