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All Posts, P&S History

Author Guest Post: Dr Jonathan Oates

The North London Murder Enigma

On 4 October 1949 Stanley Setty disappeared. Just over two weeks later part of his body was washed up on the Essex marshes. There was no doubt that his corpse had been dropped there from an aeroplane flown by Donald Hume, a business associate of Setty’s. But had Hume killed him, by stabbing, in his north London flat?

Hume naturally denied it. His neighbour heard nothing. His wife said she saw or heard nothing unusual. No one saw Setty come to the flat. Hume said that he was paid by three men to dispose of several parcels, later found to have contained Setty’s body. Yet there were traces of blood on the stairs and in the flat.

Hume was found not guilty. Yet he later confessed to killing Setty after a fight in the flat. How had he done so and why? How was it possible for him to have killed him without anyone else noticing? Was it a murder for money (Setty had £1000 on his person) or for jealousy over Hume’s wife or anger over Setty kicking Hume’s beloved dog? Was the crime planned or on the spur of the moment?

Another oddity is that Hume also accused his wife, who divorced him, of this terrible crime.

A further puzzle is that although Hume went onto kill again and to shoot another two men in a string of bank robberies in 1958-1959, he was also capable of great affection to his Swiss girlfriend.

Finally, as an old man his dead body was found in Basingstoke in 1998. His final enigma is why was he there?

Learn more in the upcoming release Donald Hume: Notorious Bank Robber and Double Murderer which is available to preorder here.