Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joyce McKinney and the Manacled Mormon

Arrested

McKinney being loaded into police van following arrest
McKinney being loaded into
police van following arrest

Detective Chief Superintendent Bill Hucklesby of Epsom led the investigation against Joyce McKinney, alias Mrs. Bosler, alias Kathie Vaughn Bare, alias Cathy van Deusen, alias Heidi Krazler. She had a collection of wigs to go with the names.

Police set up roadblocks and canvassed the countryside. It was a massive exercise, based on a plan originally intended to avert a potential Irish Republican Army (IRA) or Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) kidnapping. 

When McKinney was finally able to get a call through to Anderson, the authorities were, she believes, tapping their phones. Police arrested McKinney and K.J. May at a roadblock when the duo was on their way to a meeting Kinney had arranged with Anderson, three days after the hunt for McKinney began.

Police had already found handcuffs at the cottage. In the car they discovered imitation .38 specials and vials of ether — along with some lingerie and the music McKinney had gathered for her rendezvous with Anderson.

At Epsom Magistrates' Court, authorities charged Joyce McKinney and Keith Joseph May with forcible abduction, false imprisonment, assault and possession of imitation firearms with criminal intent.

McKinney told the court that she and Kirk Anderson had enjoyed a beautiful three days in Devon; the court would have cause to disagree.

The Queen vs. Joyce McKinney

Joyce McKinney's aborted trial would cost the UK £100,000. It cost — and made — the tabloids a good deal of money too. The press was initially hampered both by a union dispute and by legal restrictions on the flow of information that were intended to avoid prejudicing jurors.

But it had never been easy to keep Joyce McKinney quiet.

On her first court date, September 29, McKinney slipped reporters a note saying "I am innocent. Please help me."

Her next appearance was almost three weeks later. McKinney was staying in Holloway, a London prison. She was desperate for freedom — because, according to her complaints, lesbian prisoners were harassing her and distracting her from her Bible study.

This time she wrote reporters a series of notes on the blank pages at the end of her Bible. She stuffed one page in her rectum and the other in her vagina, and pulled them out to flash to cameramen as her car approached the court: "Please tell the truth. My reputation is at stake. He had sex with me for four days. Please get the truth to the public. He made it look like a kidnapping. Ask Christians to pray for me."

The legally mandated silence around the case meant that the press wasn't able to publish most of her communications. But she certainly got their attention. And once she learned that she could ask for the reporting restrictions to be lifted, she put out as much information as she could.

She spoke for herself during at the hearings. She told the court — and dozens of fascinated reporters — that after having sex in Utah not only were she and Kirk Anderson "married in God's eyes" — a phrase she seems to have been fond of — but that she was pregnant. She lost the baby, she said, when Mormons attacked her. And she explicitly described her and Anderson's Devonshire liaison, even saying that Anderson could reach orgasm only if he was tied up.

When the court asked Anderson if he'd willingly had sex with McKinney, he glanced to Mormon officials as if looking for an answer: He was unwilling. When a prosecutor pressed the question and asked if he'd been unwilling each of the seven times that he said he'd been raped, Anderson acknowledged he was less unwilling some of those times.

Keith Joseph May and McKinney held hands throughout these hearings. He would tell reporters that he understood that she loved Anderson and was saving herself for him — and that he understood she would need time to make up her mind. Keith and McKinney read the Bible together — and did, as he put it, "everything but."

Joyce McKinney offered to tell the tabloids everything for £25,000. But they were getting information on her in their own way.

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