Friday, 18 May 2018

The Murder of the Merry Widow of Willesden

On 31 Oct 1967, 59 year old Doreen Flintham was murdered at her home 62 Chambers Lane Willesden Green by Maldwyn Robert Gordon. Although there are many books about London murders, for some unknown reason this one has not been covered before.

Doreen was the widow of George Henry Flintham. He started as a plumber and became a very successful building contractor who was better known as the ‘Aga Khan’ of greyhound racing. He bought his first greyhound in 1929 and went on to become the owner of the largest number of dogs in the country and serve as the Chairman of the British Greyhound Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. When he died on 31 May 1964 aged 71, he left Doreen and the family £526,365, (worth over £10M today). 

White City Greyhound Track, 1927

In the 1940s and 50s, George would get his usual taxi to the White City stadium to watch his dogs race and then dash across town to other tracks. In 1959 when his dog Dunston Warrior won at Catford he was given the prize by film star Diana Dors. Puffing on a cigar, he told a reporter he loved dogs and had spent £200,000 on greyhounds. Doreen said they had about 400 cups in the house, ‘I wish he spent a tenth of what he spent on dogs on me!’ They married in Willesden in 1943 and for many years lived at 102 Clarendon Court in Sidmouth Road NW2.

In 1967 Maldwyn Robert Gordon was aged 22 and unemployed. He was living at Queens Park Court, Ilbert Street Kensal Green, when he met Doreen in a local cinema and she invited him home. They had sex and he told his friends all about the wealthy ‘merry widow’ and said he was going to rob her. Soon afterwards Doreen was found battered to death with a statuette. Neighbours said she was well known in the area as a keen gambler in the West End clubs, who made frequent trips abroad. Police conducted a four hour reconstruction of the crime, and Detective Superintendent Alfred Napier of Willesden Green police station, said they were keen to trace her young men friends who had stayed at the house in Chambers Lane.

Maldwyn Robert Gordon, 1970

From their enquiries, the police arrested Maldwyn Robert Gordon on 8 November 1967. In February 1968 at the Old Bailey he said he had hit Doreen to knock her out so that he could rob her, but had not meant to kill her. The jury found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs. His friends were found guilty of receiving a diamond ring and other stolen property belonging to Mrs Flintham.

While serving his sentence, in October 1970, Gordon was escorted from prison to the Hammersmith Hospital, after he had complained of stomach pains. When he finished dressing after the X-ray, he suddenly pushed the two guards aside and ran out of the building. After crossing a railway line, he disappeared in a row of back gardens and stayed on the run for three weeks until he was re-captured in Notting Hill and sent back to prison. It is not known when he was released.

No comments:

Post a Comment