The grisly story Jane would rather she didn’t know!


Every house has a story, some happy, some sad, some mythical, some notorious. Here at Marchmont Cottage it was said to be inhabited by a ghost which caused passers-by to hurry along in case they encountered it! At a recent meeting of the village book club Jane McClelland told us of the infamous connection to her house.

Back in 1991 it was the scene of a police swoop on the perpetrator in a notorious kidnapping case which made national headlines.

The wife of a wealthy Markyate businessman was seized and locked up in the attic of a shop in the Old Town. A ransom of £500,000 was demanded via a series of bizarre telephone calls in which the kidnapper disguised his voice to sound like a Dalek!

The victim was only rescued when a milkman doing his early morning round heard her cries for help.

The kidnapper, who was revealed to have hatched up his scheme because of financial problems, was jailed for 15 years. You can read the full story here’s_15_years_for_wife_snatch

Not surprisingly, apart from being amazed to read such a grisly story, Jane says she would probably have preferred not to know about it!

lets-move-to-hemel-hempsteadTalking of newspaper headlines there was a very upbeat endorsement of Hemel Hempstead in the Guardian recently. Titled ‘Let’s move to…Hemel Hempstead’ it will surely help the town’s bid to be relegated from its unwelcome position high in the ‘Crap Towns’ listing!