The seaside town of Southport is located in Merseyside, North West England and in 1999 it became the location of an extraordinary story of murder, manipulation and deceit. 24-year-old Mitchell Quy appeared on national television protesting his innocence in the disappearance of his wife, Lynsey Quy, one year earlier.
On Britain’s most popular morning television programme he tells presenters he did not kill his wife despite police labelling him as a prime suspect. “I just wish someone would listen to me,” he says, “I suppose they say the husband is always the suspect…”.
Mitchell Quy presented himself as a mild-mannered caring man who was trying to raise his two young children alone after his wife had left them on Christmas day, 1998. Many believed him, coming around to his view that he was in the spotlight of police simply because he was the husband and “some husbands do kill their wives..” he told them, “…but I didn’t”.
21-year-old Lynsey Quy had not been seen since 13 December 1998. Taking no belongings with her, she simply disappeared just days before she had an appointment with her solicitor to initiate divorce proceedings against her husband.
The truth, when it did come out 18 months later, was horrifying. Mitchell Quy had strangled Lynsey in the bedroom of their home during an argument, with their two young children in the next room. Panicking, he went to his younger brother, Elliot Quy, and asked him what to do. Between them, they decided they had to get rid of her body and the best way to this they thought, was to cut her corpse into pieces and dispose of her body parts in different places. No one would ever know they told each other, they were going to get away with murder.
Lynsey had met Quy when she was just 17 years old and already five months pregnant with her first child. Mitchell, 19, became smitten with Lynsey and they married after just two months in August 1995. Lynsey’s baby was born six weeks later with Quy taking on the child as his own. The couple frequently argued and their relationship was a far cry from the fairy-tale love story Lynsey had believed in when she first met her future husband. Although Lynsey initiated divorce proceedings more than once over the next three years, she always returned to Quy and their relationship, as dysfunctional as it was, would continue and she gave birth to a son in October 1997.
Mitchell Quy could be charming, friendly and approachable but equally, he had shown he could be aggressive and violent with frequent outbursts directed at Lynsey and their home, smashing up their belongings and throwing furniture through the windows. He was controlling and possessive and not well liked by Lynsey’s family. Despite their protests, Lynsey continued to stay in a relationship with Quy unable it seems to find a way to break free of him and the hold he had over her.
Lynsey’s family last saw her on 13 December 1998 and with her contact with them often sporadic when she was with Quy, they did not initially realise she was missing. In early February the police received a missing person’s report for Lynsey Quy from the family social worker who had been unable to contact her. Mitchell Quy had not contacted police about Lynsey’s disappearance maintaining his story that she had left him.
“Do I look like a psychopath?…”
The more police discovered about Quy and his marriage to Lynsey the more convinced they became that she had come to serious harm and at Mitchell’s hand. Soon the missing persons inquiry became a murder inquiry and in April 1999, police arrested Mitchell Quy on suspicion of murder. Interviews with Quy produced nothing. He was confident and adamant he had done nothing wrong, comfortable in the knowledge that without a body, the police had little to go on.
Quy was released without charge due to lack of evidence and left the police station even more arrogant than when he arrived. The police knew that with no body they had a hard case to prove and set about gathering as much circumstantial evidence surrounding Lynsey’s disappearance and the movements of Mitchell Quy as they could.
While police were building their case, Mitchell Quy became more self-assured and more conceited, believing that he was in the clear. In a cocksure move for a man trying to get away with murder, Quy began to taunt the police and garner himself as much attention as he could. He painted himself publically as the victim of harassment and unsubstantiated accusations from the Merseyside Police Force.
To achieve his aim, Quy contacted local newspapers to tell his side of the story, a story quickly picked up by national news cycles. When Quy was contacted by documentary filmmakers asking if he would be prepared to be filmed while the police investigation was ongoing, Quy was delighted. He invited them into his home and told them his story. Ever the showman Quy upped the game with police, calling the investigation team on camera and questioning them about his status as a suspect. “Am I still under suspicion of murder? Am I still a suspect in this murder inquiry?” he asks with a smirk on his face.
“Has there ever been another case like this when someone’s under suspicion of murder but there’s like…erm…no evidence, do you know what I mean? No body or ….” – Mitchell Quy in a phone call to police.
Mitchell Quy thought he was above the police and had outsmarted them. He was the smirking cold hearted killer with no concern for the life he had taken or the torment her family were going through. Instead, he enjoyed the attention and the limelight, laughing to himself at all those who believed his story when he knew the real truth. “Do I look like a psychopath?” he asks the film crew. A question at that stage, they were unable to answer.
On 8 June 2000, 18 months after Lynsey had disappeared, Mitchell Quy was once again arrested on suspicion of her murder. He was questioned for 36 hours in a series of interviews carefully prepared by the investigation team to try and unsettle him. The tactic failed and Quy did not waver, maintaining he did not know where his wife was and she had walked out of their house alive and well on Christmas day in 1998. The circumstantial evidence against Quy however, painstakingly compiled by the police, was compelling and he was formally charged with murder. Finally, Mitchell Quy’s smirk started to fade as he realised the game was up.
To everyone’s surprise, after sitting in a police cell on his own, Mitchell Quy announced that he wanted to confess. He proceeded to tell police what they had known all along, that he had killed his wife Lynsey. He told them in detail about the night she died, “I just snapped” he said. He described how he had kept his hands around her neck until she was no longer breathing and how he had dismembered her body in the bathtub of their home surrounded by their children’s toys.
Discovering Mitchell had not acted alone came as a shock to police. Elliot Quy’s involvement was unexpected and added further disbelief to an already shocking case. Mitchell Quy said his brother was not involved in dismembering Lynsey’s body. He drew them a map and took them to the sites in the local area where he had disposed of her body parts. While police were able to retrieve some of Lynsey’s remains, her head and hands have never been found.
In 2001, a now 25-year-old Mitchell Quy was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 17 years, a sentence many don’t feel is long enough. His brother Elliot Quy was convicted of helping him to dispose of Lynsey’s body and given 7 years in prison. Quy was this year denied parole and remains in prison with a number of petitions pushing to keep him there for a long time to come.
Mitchell Quy did not look like a psychopath, but his confidence, manipulation of everyone around him and complete lack of empathy for his wife, who he cold bloodily killed and dismembered, shows him to be a very dangerous individual whose focus is on attention and self-preservation. His arrogance eventually went against him and now as he sits behind bars, the words he spoke to the film crew in his home before his confession are even more chilling. “Did you kill your wife?” they ask him, “..wait and see…” he says, “…wait and see.”