82 years on, murder victim finally laid to rest

Christobel and Samuel Lakey (supplied)
Christobel and Samuel Lakey (supplied)

Eighty-two years after being murdered near Huntly, a man's remains have finally been reunited with those of his wife.

Samuel Pender Lakey and his wife Christobel were murdered on their Ruawaro farm in October 1933. Their neighbour William Alfred Bayley was eventually charged for the crime, following a homicide investigation.

The forensic investigation was ground-breaking at the time and parts of Mr Lakey's remains were subsequently used by police in investigative training.

But Inspector Naila Hassan says the remains have languished in storage and in a back-room police museum collection ever since.

Today, however, they would be buried alongside those of Christobel.

Bayley, who was charged for their couple's double murder and hanged in July 1934, tried to disguise the crime as a murder-suicide, "but his plan was thwarted by neighbours who went to investigate why the couple’s cows hadn’t been milked that morning," says Insp Hassan.

The neighbours discovered Christobel's body, with police later establishing she had suffered a heavy blow to her face and head and had been held underwater in a duck pond.

Two days later, police discovered bits of Mr Lakey's remains and clothing in Bayley's garden, along with bloodstains on his sledge. Guns missing from the Lakey's house were also found in a swamp on Bayley's land.

Insp Hassan says neither of the victims had any known relatives, meaning Christobel was buried in an unmarked grave in Huntly, while the remains of Mr Lakey that were found became part of the police's investigative and forensic training exhibits collection.

The museum which housed Mr Lakey's remains had 37 sets of human remains, with the last acquired in 1957.

A memorial plaque has been erected in Huntly to mark the couple's final resting place.

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