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Patrick Herbert MAHON






A.K.A.: "The Bungalow Murderer"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 15, 1924
Date of arrest: May 2, 1924
Date of birth: 1890
Victim profile: His lover, Emily Beilby Kaye, 37 (two months pregnant)
Method of murder: ???
Location: Eastbourne, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging at Wandsworth Prison on September 2, 1924

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On Thursday, 17th April 1924, Ethel Primrose Duncan, thirty-two years old and single, received at her Isleworth home a telegraphic order for £4 and a telegram that read "Meet train as arranged. Waller." The money was to buy a train ticket to Eastbourne where she was to spend the Easter holiday with a man she had met a week earlier.

In the pouring rain near Richmond Station, she had met a tall, attractive man in his thirties. He escorted her part of the way to her home, where she lived with her sister. He had told her that his name was Pat and that he was married, but unhappily. When they parted they agreed to meet again. On 15th April she received a telegram that suggested a meeting the following day at Charing Cross Station. At 7pm she duly turned up at Charing Cross but Pat did not arrive until about 7.50pm. He told her that he had just travelled up from Eastbourne where he had borrowed a bungalow from a friend. His wrist was bandaged after, he said, spraining it saving a lady from falling from a bus. Over dinner at Victoria Station he asked Ethel if she would like to spend the Easter holiday with him at the bungalow and she agreed.

On Good Friday she caught the 11.15am train to Eastbourne, where Pat met her at the station. They left her luggage at the station, took lunch and went for a ride in a taxi. That evening they dined at the Royal Hotel before taking a taxi to collect her luggage and driving the three miles to the seaside bungalow at Langley. They spent the next three days together. Ethel knew that another woman had been there before her. She found cosmetics on a chest of drawers in their bedroom and a pair of buckled shoes. Pat explained them away by saying that they belonged to his wife who had been at the bungalow before Easter.

On the Saturday the pair went into Eastbourne. Pat left Ethel shopping while he took a taxi to Plumpton races. On the way he stopped at a post office in Lewes and sent himself a telegram that read "Must see you Tuesday morning nine Cheapside" and signed it "Lee." That evening they dined at the Sussex Hotel before returning to the bungalow. The next morning saw Pat changing the lock on the door of one of the other bedrooms at the bungalow. He struggled with it and in the end screwed the door closed, but not before Ethel had noticed a large brown trunk in the room. Pat showed her the telegram and told her that they would have to go back to London the next day. They boarded the 3.30pm train back to London and, that evening, they dined together before going to a show at the Palladium. After the show he took her home to Richmond, leaving her there around midnight.

Pat Waller was really Patrick Herbert Mahon. He was born in West Derby, Liverpool, in 1889. He was married to 23-year-old Jessie on 6th April 1910. A year later he took another girl for a weekend on the Isle of Man and paid for the visit with forged cheques. For this offence, his first, he was bound over, but he was soon in prison after being found guilty of embezzlement. On his release he moved to Surrey. Mahon had a constant stream of women in his life and, in 1916, while attempting a robbery, he hit a maidservant with a hammer. He received five years.

On his release his wife got him a job as a salesman with a firm, Consol Automatic Aerators, selling soda fountains. In May 1922 the company went bankrupt but Mahon and his wife, who also worked at Consol, were kept on. Mr Hobbins, the receiver, appointed Mahon sales manager and one of Mahon's duties was to visit the receivers' head office in Moorgate, London. Here he met Mr Hobbins' secretary, Miss Emily Beilby Kaye.

Miss Kaye was thirty-eight years old and a tall, athletic woman who lived at the Green Cross Club, off Russell Square. She was careful with her money and had over £600 invested in stocks and shares. She often spoke to Mahon over the telephone with regard to the business and knew that he was married but, sometime toward the end of the summer of 1922, she suggested that they spend a day together on the river. They duly spent the day on the Thames and, as Mahon later described it, she showed him that she was "a woman of the world." Miss Kaye lost her job at the end of October but managed to get another job as a typist for a financier in Old Bond Street. She was there just one month.

Emily started to sell her shares in February 1924. In March she fell ill with influenza and went to Bournemouth to recuperate. Mahon travelled down to see her at the end of her stay there and they shared a double room in the South Western Hotel, Southampton, where they registered as Mr and Mrs Mahon. Mahon had bought a diamond and sapphire cluster ring from a jewellers in Southampton and, on their return to London, Emily was telling her friends that she was engaged to Mahon.

At the beginning of April Emily told her close friend, Edith Warren, that a date had been fixed for the wedding and that the pair were then going to emigrate to South Africa. Emily wrote to her sister on 5th April and told her the same story. Also on the 5th, Mahon, calling himself Waller, had travelled down to Langley in response to an advert in Dalton's Weekly and had agreed to rent the Officer's House, Crumbles, from 11th April to 6th June at a rent of three and a half guineas a week.

Emily Kaye packed her bags on 7th April and travelled to Eastbourne where she stayed at the Kenilworth Court Hotel. On Saturday, 12th April, two days after Mahon had first met Miss Duncan, Emily received a telegram requesting her to meet Mahon at the station that afternoon. She checked out of the hotel requesting the receptionist to forward any mail to Poste Restante, Paris. Earlier, Mahon had paid a visit to Staines' Kitchen Equipment Company and had purchased a ten inch cook's knife and a small meat-saw. Emily met Mahon at Eastbourne station and they took a taxi to Officer's House.

Miss Kaye was still alive the next morning, when a butcher delivering meat saw her. She was also still alive on either the Monday or Tuesday when she enquired about any post at the Kenilworth Court.

On the 30th April Jessie Mahon, who knew that something was going on, confided in a friend, a former railway policeman. She also gave him a left-luggage ticket that she had found in the pocket of one of her husband's suits and, suspecting that her husband was having an affair, asked her friend to investigate. He went to Waterloo station and, in exchange for the ticket, received a locked Gladstone bag. By carefully easing the sides apart he could see a knife and bloodstained female underwear. He put the bag back and, giving the ticket back to Jessie, told her to replace it in her husband's pocket.

The next day the ex-policeman told Frederick Wensley, Chief Constable, what he had seen in the bag. DCI Savage was sent to investigate and, after verifying the contents, he replaced the bag and instigated a watch on it. The following day, 2nd May at 6.30pm, Mahon turned up and presented the ticket. He was given the bag and, as he was leaving the station, was apprehended by DS Thompson. Mahon was taken firstly to Kennington police station and later to Scotland Yard.

DCI Savage began the questioning of Mahon at around 9.45pm. The bag was on the table, still unopened. Mahon admitted that the bag was his and Savage opened it. In it were several bloodstained items including a torn pair of bloomers and a canvas racket bag initialled "EBK". Everything had been liberally sprinkled with disinfectant. When asked about the blood he said, "I suppose I have carried home meat for dogs in it" to which Savage replied "That explanation won't do." They both sat in silence for fifteen minutes when Mahon said, "I wonder if you can realise how terrible a thing it is for someone's body to be active and one's mind to fail to act." Savage said nothing and it was another thirty minutes before Mahon spoke again when he said, "I'm considering my position." Another fifteen minutes passed in silence when Mahon said, "I suppose you know everything. I'll tell you the truth."

It took over two hours to take down Mahon's statement. In it he recounted of how he and Emily had quarrelled on the 16th. That she had thrown an axe at him, hitting a doorframe, and that, during the struggle, the woman had fallen and hit her head on the coal-scuttle and had died. He said that he had bought the knife on the 17th and dismembered the body on the 18th. Early the next morning Savage, accompanied by Wensley, drove down to the Crumbles. In a large trunk marked "EBK" they found the quartered body of a woman. In a biscuit tin and a hatbox they found a heart and other organs and, in a saucepan, were body parts that had been boiled. While there were plenty of bloodstains in the living room there was no sign of any mark on the doorframe that had supposedly been struck by an axe.

Sir Bernard Spilsbury arrived and started to piece together the remains. The limbs and head were never found and Mahon claimed that he had burnt these on the living-room fire. Emily Beilby Kaye had been about two months pregnant.

Mahon was charged with her murder and his trial began on Tuesday, 15th July 1924, at Sussex Assizes, Lewes. Spilsbury testified that Emily could not have received the fatal injuries from falling onto the coal-scuttle. It was a cheap, very flimsy, object and it was completely undamaged. This, coupled with evidence that Mahon had bought the knife and saw before the woman's death, sealed his fate. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. Mahon's execution, carried out by Thomas Pierrepoint and William Willis, took place at Wandsworth Prison on 9th September 1924.


Murder at the Crumbles

The Case of Emily Kaye

Patrick Herbert Mahon was a handsome philanderer with winning ways who committed what an Appeal Court judge described as a 'most cruel, repulsive and carefully planned murder'.

Mahon led and exemplary life until he married at the age of 20 in 1910. There followed a succession of charges for fraud, embezzlement and robbery with violence. In 1922, through his wife's influence, he was made sales manager of a firm at Sunbury. He became attracted to 37-year-old typist Emily Beilby Kaye.

They decided to engage in a 'love experiment' by living together in a bungalow rented for the purpose on a lonely part of the Sussex coast between Eastbourne and Pevensey Bay known as the Crumbles.

On April 12th 1924 Mahon bought a saw and knife before travelling down to Eastbourne to meet Miss Kaye. His firm and his wife thought he was travelling on company business, while Miss Kaye, completely infatuated with Mahon, told friends she was engaged and planned to visit South Africa. When Mahon failed to obtain a passport as he had promised, there was an argument in the 'love bungalow' during which Mahon claimed Emily attacked him and, falling down in the process, struck her head on a coal bucket. She allegedly died from this blow.

Mrs. Mahon, concerned by her husband's pursuit of other women, went through the pockets of one of his suits. There she found a cloakroom ticket which, when presented a Waterloo railway station, produced a Gladstone bag containing bloodstained female clothing. Mahon was stopped by the police when he turned up to collect his bag. His excuse that he had carried dog meat failed, it having been established that the bloodstains were human.

Detectives visited the bungalow at the Crumbles. They found pieces of boiled flesh in a saucepan; sawn-up chunks of a corpse in a hat box, a trunk and a biscuit tin; and ashes n the fire containing bone fragments. Sir Bernard Spilsbury pieced together the body of the pregnant Emily Kaye, but no head was ever found.

Patrick Mahon was tried at Lewes Assizes in July 1924. He maintained that Miss Kaye died accidentally by hitting her head on the coal bucket. But the purchase of a knife and saw, together with the information that he had been fleecing Kaye of her savings, went against him. He was found guilty and told the judge that he was 'too conscious of the bitterness and unfairness of the summing up' to say anything except that he was not guilty. Avory passed the death sentence and unfair or not, he was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on September 2nd, 1924.


Murder at the Crumbles

A second murder took place on the Crumbles in 1924 and was known for years afterwards as 'The Bungalow Murder'. A few cottages, once Occupied by coast guards, stood isolated on the beachland at the border of Eastbourne and Pevensey. One, called the Officer's House, was a neat whitewashed building and in the spring of 1924 was leased for two months at a rent of three and a half guineas a week to Patrick Herbert Mahon, a man of thirty four, using the name of Wailer.

Mahon had taken on the bungalow ostensibly as a romantic hideaway fohimself and his mistress, Emily Kaye, and on 7 April 1924 Emily traveled to Eastbourne and moved into the bungalow believing that this was the start of a new life with her lover.

Oddly enough she was also a shorthand typist but unlike Irene Munro she was not a foolish young girl but a woman of thirty seven, tall, fair-haired and coolly attractive. A thoroughly nice person according to a cousin who said a better girl never lived'.

However, the warning bells had not rung for Irene Munro and they did not ring for Emily Kaye. She worked for a firm of accountants in London and had met Patrick Mahon who often called at her office and soon began an affair with him. She knew he was married but believed he would leave his wife and that they would start a new life together. She also knew by chance that Mahon had previously been in prison for a bank raid but she was pregnant and very much in love with the dark good-looking Irishman. She readily agreed to leave her job and embark on the venture he proposed.

Unfortunately for Emily she did not know that Patrick Mahon was an indefatigable and practised womaniser with an unsavoury past which included fraud as well as the bank raid which had landed him in prison for five years.

He had married a young Irish girl when he was twenty one and his wife, Mavourneen, had stood by him when he was imprisoned. Now Mahon was involved with a woman who did not take the affair lightly, who was pregnant, and who expected him to leave his wife. He was in a fix.

Having installed Emily in the Crumbles cottage Mahon continued to go home to his wife most days during the week. True to form he struck up a new acquaintance with a young woman at Richmond, an Ethel Duncan. Never one to miss another romantic interlude he arranged to take her out to dinner during the following week.

On 11 April Mahon returned to Eastbourne and moved Emily's large travelling trunk to the bungalow. He then returned to London, apparently to make arrangements to secure a passport but on Saturday, 12 April, he went to an ironmonger's shop in Victoria and bought a large cook's knive and a tenon saw.

He returned to Eastbourne and Emily, and the two were together in the bungalow for the next three nights.

On Tuesday evening, 15 April, Emily Kaye met her fate. Afterwards Mahon swore that her death was an accident, the result of a quarrel about their future and that she had fallen heavily and hit her head.

Mahon dragged the body into the spare bedroom and locked the door. The next day he returned to London, met Ethel Duncan and took her out to dinner. Incredibly he invited her to spend the coming Easter weekend with him at the bungalow on the Crumbles, to which the unsuspecting girl agreed.

On the morning of Good Friday Mahon was back in Eastboume and a further horror began. He dismembered Emily's body with the saw and knife bought in London and the dreadful parcels were put in Emily's trunk in the spare bedroom.

In the evening Mahon met Ethel Duncan at Eastbourne station and they spent the weekend together at the bungalow. Ethel saw the trunk in the spare bedroom and Mahon said he was it was full of valuable books he was looking after for a friend. While she was there he screwed up the door. Ethel Duncan did not find his behaviour suspicious and on Easter Monday she returned to her home in London.

During the following week Mahon built a fire in the sitting room grate and burned Emily Kaye's head, which had been severed from the body. Other parts followed, disposed of in the same way, then the torso was further dismembered and boiled in stewpans in the kitchen so that they could be cut into smaller pieces. Mahon put most of these last remains into a Gladstone bag and threw them from the carriage window of a train when he later travelled to Waterloo Station in London.

It was then that he made the first and only mistake in his cold and methodical plans. He left the Gladstone bag at the left luggage office at Waterloo station and while he was away from home on the weekend of 25 April his wife searched the pockets of his suits and found the cloakroom ticket.

Mavourneen had been worried by his absence over the two previous weekends and believed he might be frequenting racecourses and returning to his old ways. She said nothing to her husband but enlisted the help of a private investigator, John Beard.

On 1 May they went together to Waterloo and retrieved the Gladstone bag. Beard was no fool and although the bag was locked he probed into one end and found something that prompted him to call Scotland Yard. When the police arrived they took a small piece of cloth from the bag which revealed human blood. Mavourneen was sent home, still unaware of the find, to return the cloakroom ticket to Mahon's suit.

Now a trap was set. Two detectives kept watch on the left luggage office and on 2 May Mahon collected the bag prior to another trip to Eastbourne. As soon as it was in his possession the police pounced and Mahon was taken to Cannon Row police station and confronted by the Contents which included a few pieces of blood stained clothing, a large Cook's knife and a canvas tennis racket bag with the initials E B K.

He remained cool and told the police he supposed 'he had carried meat home for the dogs' in the bag, but finally after hours of interrogation he admitted the death of Emily Kayc and his disposal of the body.

Two police inspectors were sent to Eastbourne to the Officer's House and what they found there was a scene described by the experienced Home Office pathologist, Bernard Spilsbury, as the most gruesome he had ever come across. There was a terrible stench in the small bungalow as four parcels still remained in the trunk in the bedroom.

The presence of the police and the pathologist soon became known and while Spilsbury made his painstaking study of what was left of poor Emily Kaye, a task which took eight hours, a crowd of horrified people gathered outside.

On the following Tuesday Mahon was charged with murder at Hailsham magistrates court and the next day an inquest was held at the bungalow, attended by Mahon at his request.

A thousand sightseers surrounded the building, booing and jeering as the accused man was led in under heavy police escort.

Strenuous efforts to find other parts of the body were made but despite searching nearby areas and digging up the garden of the cottage, nothing was found. The inquest resumed in May and Patrick Mahon was sent for trial at Lewes Assizes on 15 July.

Sir Henry Curtis Bennett led for the prosecution and Mr J D Cassels defended Patrick Mahon. The unfortunate Ethel Duncan, considerably distressed, spent an hour in the witness box and maintained she had seen nothing to arouse her suspicion during the weekend she spent with Mahon. As the trial continued and the macabre story unfolded two jury-men collapsed. They were replaced and Mahon gave evidence for more than five hours.

The story he told was of a woman infatuated with him and one who had drawn him reluctantly into an affair. He told the court on the evening of Emily's death they had a furious quarrel and according to him he was attacked by his lover.

At this point he broke down in tears and still sobbing went on to relate that in the struggle they fell and Emily's head hit the coal scuttle. This, he said, must have caused her death and, because he was in a state of fear and shock he remembered little of the next hours except that he went outside. When he returned he panicked and decided to conceal everything.

At the end of this dramatic story Mahon's counsel asked him: "Did you desire the death of Miss Kaye?" Mahon, calm again, replied: "Never at any time".

The defence did its best to plead that Mahon was the victim of extraordinary circumstances rather than cold hearted murderer, but members of the jury, who had no knowledge of his previous record, were not convinced. The cause of death given by the accused man was refuted by the pathologist who said a fall on a coal scuttle would not have caused injuries that would have had such a rapidly fatal result.

Most damning of all for the jury's opinion of Mahon's character was his assignation with Ethel Duncan, at a time when he had a wife and child at home and a mistress in a bungalow at Eastbourne. He was found guilty of murder.

The bungalow on the Crumbles became a strange tourist attraction when the lease was taken over by a group of entrepeneurs of doubtful taste but sounds business instinct. Visitors were charged a shilling each for guided tours of the cottage and as the queues increased cold drinks were served from the front gate. There was considerable local protest and for two weeks the bungalow was closed, only to open again with the entrance fee increased tols 2d as coachloads of the curious continued to arrive.

Before his execution on Wednesday 3 September Mahon wrote a kind and loving letter to his wife from his cell. Mahon's wife remained loyal to the end !


The Incomparable Witness: Sir Bernard Spilsbury

By Katherine Ramsland, PhD, CMI-V


Spilsbury admitted to the difficulty of a 1924 case in which he had been involved. It took place in a rented bungalow along a two-mile strip of the Sussex shore known as the Crumbles. Emily Kaye, a 34-year-old secretary, was involved with an Irish crook and philanderer named Patrick Herbert Mahon. When she became pregnant, he invited her for a “romantic” weekend at the Crumbles.

In the bungalow, he killed and dismembered her. He used a knife and saw to carve her up and tried boiling pieces of her over the fire. The rest he placed into a trunk, locking it in the bedroom. He then brought back another woman with whom he had made a date, and they spent the weekend there. When Mahon returned to London, he left a bag at the luggage office of Waterloo train station and went home to see his wife.

Mahon’s wife found a ticket for the bag and asked a former member of the railway police to check it out. Inside, he found blood-soaked women’s underwear, a case with Emily’s initials on it, and a bloody carving knife. These items were turned over to the police, who placed Mahon under arrest. He quickly contrived a story about how he and Emily had quarreled, whereupon she had come at him with a hatchet. He’d pushed her away, killing her accidentally when she fell and hit her head against a coal pot. He’d worried that he would be charged with murder, so he had dismembered her body.

Spilsbury traveled to the bungalow to look at the body and found pieces literally everywhere, including some that had been partially boiled over the fire. There were organs in a biscuit tin, and body grease and human blood splashed all over the place. He would say later that this was the most gruesome crime scene he had ever encountered. His task was rather odious as well: He had to collect the hundreds of fragments, already several days decomposed, and reconstruct the body to prove identity and ascertain the cause of death. He found a bruised shoulder that indicated a sharp blow inflicted ante-mortem. However, once the body was assembled, he discovered that the victim’s head, uterus, and right leg were all missing. Police took dogs all along the train route, in case these items had been tossed out the window as Mahon returned to London. They did not find any of the missing parts.

Since Mahon claimed that Emily had hit her head, without it, Spilsbury could not establish a cause of death. Nevertheless, he did determine from the condition of her breasts that Emily had been pregnant. He also found that she could not have died from hitting her head on the coal bucket, as it showed no sign of blood, hair, or damage.

But there was more. Mahon claimed to have burned Emily’s head in the fire and broken up the charred remains with a poker. In his usual thorough manner, Spilsbury burned a sheep’s head to try to duplicate these conditions and see if the ashes from the fireplace matched those in the bungalow’s grate. It did turn out to be possible to use fire to turn a head into something brittle enough to smash into pieces. Nevertheless, when Mahon claimed he had purchased a knife and saw after the “accident,” he caused his own undoing, as the police proved he had purchased these items before Emily died. Thus, his intention to kill her was clear. That she had been pregnant provided motive, and the jury took 40 minutes to convict.

Always thinking, Spilsbury then performed a complete autopsy on Mahon’s executed corpse—the first of many he would use to study the results of this type of sudden death. Since the time of death was known with accuracy, he believed a comparative analysis of many such corpses would yield useful information.



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