Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Lady In The Lake Mystery

This would read like a Raymond Chandler novel but for the fact that it happened in one of the remotest regions of England; Cumbria.  A French student named Veronique Marre had vanished from the area the previous summer.  It was in December 1983 that the discovery by a member of a sub-aqua club diving in the deepest lake in England, Lake Wastwater, in Cumbria, of a large hessian sack.  He reported his find to police saying that it may contain a body.  It was in March of 1984, that Police frogmen did an extensive search of the area reported by the diver.  By sheer luck, they found the sack more than one hundred feet from the shore and more than 100 feet down.  In parts, the lake depth drops to more than two hundred and fifty feet, so they were extremely fortunate.

     The body was well preserved, thought to be because of the very cold temperature of the lake.  Discovered with the body were two rings, one being a gold wedding ring with an inscription "Margaret 15-11-63 Peter".  An examination of the body revealed that it was a female, aged between 30-40, plump, short dark hair and 5ft 5ins tall.  One theory from Police was that she was dumped into the lake from a small plane.  But that would surely require two men, one to pilot and the other to push the body out.  How about a rowing boat?  This would surely have to be carried out after dark, but it could be managed by one man.  Another theory was that the victim could have been dumped in there as long ago as 1976.

    UPDATE The body was identified as Margaret Hogg, an air stewardess who had married pilot Peter Hogg, nearly twenty years her senior.  Margaret Hogg had a three year affair with a Banker named Graham Ryan, and flaunted it in her husbands` face.  One day, she was said to have attacked him, punching and kicking him, so he grabbed around the neck and squeezed, killing her.  He wrapped the body in a carpet, tied a slab of concrete to it and dumped it in the lake. Police had an identification by friends as Adipocere had set in, preserving much of the body.  Peter Hogg was a prime suspect initially but when arrested, he denied anything to do with it.  Later he confessed, and received 4 years for manslaughter, perjury and obstructing a coroner.  The body of Veronique Marre was found in April 1984, up on a mountain, at the bottom of a cliff, the cause of death unknown.  Thank you to Sid Law for this update.