Child Sexual Abuse · Court Cases · Tales From The Past

SIR ALASTAIR MILLER, BARONET OF DUNBLANE

SIR ALASTAIR MILLER

BARONET OF DUNBLANE

A LIFETIME OF DECEPTION AND DEPRAVITY

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In 1961 Alastair Miller appeared in court charged with taking an 11 year old girl and assaulting her.  This isn’t the first time Miller had appeared in court on such charges, having lived the majority of his adult life as a habitual offender. So complex is his story that I will start off with a timeline and then take a closer look at some of the incidents.


TIMELINE

  • 5 March 1893 – Born: Alastair George Lionel Joseph Miller to Sir William Frederick Miller of Glenlee and Mary Augusta Augusta Manning (whose mother was a Henniker). [2]
  • 1912-1931 – Regularly raced cars at Brooklands, Surrey. [1]
  • 1915 – Joins the RAF – WWI. [1]
  • 1915 – Visited a school in Downham Market where he met 12-year old Kathleen Daisy Howard (Girl A). [1]
  • October 1915 – Invites Kathleen to stay at his parent’s home at 57 Ennismore Gardens where he kept cars in lock-ups no’s 1 and 15. [1] [4]
  • November 1915 – Invalided home following a crash.  Stays at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate until Spring 1916, where Kathleen stayed for 2-3 weeks. [1]
  • 1916 – Kathleen begins accompanying Miller on trips. [1]
  • 1916 – Miller is made Inspector of all RFC aerodromes. [4]
  • 4 March 1916 – Miller’s wedding to Flora Petersen of Leatherhead was postponed due to the death of her brother-in-law. [5]
  • 19 April 1916 – The wedding is called off. [6]
  • February 1919 – Miller ‘seduces’ Kathleen in a garage at Ennismore Gardens.[1]
  • 9th June 1919 – Kathleen’s 16th birthday – they become engaged. [1]
  • 1 October 1919 – With Kathleen pregnant, they secretly marry at Victoria Registry Office.[1] (See below)
  • 16 October 1919 – Married Kathleen Daisy Howard at Brompton Oratory. [1]
  • January 1920 – Moved to Wildwood Road, Golders Green. [1]
  • 21 March 1920 – Son born. [1]
  • December 1920-March 1921 – Kathleen suffered from infantile paralysis, during which time she had a miscarriage. [1]  Miller refused to pay the costs of the doctor and nurses.
  • 28 March 1922 – Appeared in the divorce courts with Kathleen applying for a separation on the grounds of cruelty by her husband. [1]
  • January 1924 – Sued by the solicitors that represented him in the divorce courts for non-payment of the bill. [7]
  • August 1926 – Appeared in court and fined for a motoring offence.
  • 1926 – Divorced. [2]
  • 1 December 1927 – Eloped and secretly married Margaret May Shotter, 18, at St Pancras Registry Office. [2]  (See below)
  • 1 February 1928 – Margaret May was fined £25 at Clerkenwell for false declaration of age.[8]
  • 3 July 1931 – Bound over at Haywards Heath, Sussex, to keep the peace towards Margaret and her sisters.[9]
  • 1932 – Divorced. [2]
  • May 1933 – Appeal against the divorce decision is refused. [8]
  • 3 January 1938 – Married 22-year old Cynthia Rosemary Huish in Sussex. [2]
  • November 1940 – Sentenced to six months in jail for fraud at Haywards Heath. [11]
  • 16 January 1941 – Successfully appeals against his conviction. [11]
  • 12 May 1948 – Declared bankrupt at Southampton County Court. [12]
  • September 1950 – Appeared at Midhurst and charged with fraud.  Address: Fishers Hill, Iping, near Midhurst, Sussex. [11]
  • 4 January 1951 – Appeared at Chichester and sentenced to nine months imprisonment for bankruptcy offences. [1]
  • 14 April 1953 – Appeared at a special court in Camberley charged with bankruptcy offences. [1]
  • June 1953 – Appeared at Kingston and jailed for three years for fraud. [9]
  • February 1956 – Appeared on remand in Torquay for fraud.  Turning up at the Torquay Hotel with three children, he obtained goods on credit. [12]
  • 1957 – Divorced. [2]
  • 26 August 1958 – Arrested at a hotel in Dalrymple by Ayrshire officers under a warrant issued by Hampshire police in connection to a charge involving a young girl.  He was transferred to Basingstoke. Address was Impstone, Silchester, Hants. (See below) [1] [3]
  • 11 September 1958 – Committed to trial at Basingstoke on charges of three offences towards a nine-year old girl (Girl B) and two offences towards a 13-year old girl (Girl C) and remanded in custody. [3]
  • 3 October 1958 – Jailed for three years for the indecent assault of young girls.
  • 10 December 1958 – Committed to trial at Basingstoke on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, obtaining money by deception and obtained credit after failing to disclose he was a bankrupt. [1]
  • 5 January 1959 – Sentenced to three years imprisonment for fraudulent car deals. [1]
  • July 1961 – Inserts an advertisement in The Lady magazine which stated that: “a family motoring to Scotland could take two more cheerful youngsters.
  • 14-15 August 1961 – Inserts an advertisment in a Birmingham newspaper inviting a little girl to join a “titled family shortly motoring to Scotland and seaside, as companion for young son.” [3]
  • 23-30 August 1961 – Takes Girl D to Cheltenham. [3]
  • 26 September 1961 – Worthing CID announced that Miller would be charged with the abduction of a young girl on 23 August 1961.  The case would be heard at Stoke on Trent magistrates court. [1]
  • 27 September 1961 – At Fenton Magistrates Court, Stoke on Trent, Miller was remanded in custody for a week for the abduction and assault of an 11-year old girl. [1] (See details below)
  • 4 October 1961 – Appears on trial at Fenton Magistrates Court, Stoke on Trent charged with illegally taking away an 11-year old girl and three counts of assault.[1]
  • 24 October 1961 – Appeared at Fenton Magistrates Court and committed to trial at Staffordshire Assizes.  He was given bail with a £100 surety, and on condition he made no contact with the girl or her family.  Address: Landsdowne Road, West Worthing, Sussex.[1]
  • 27 November 1961 – Trial began.  Address: Martin’s Place Cottage, Fairfield Road, East Grinstead.  [1]
  • 30 November 1961 – Sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, served at Winson Green, Birmingham. [1]
  • 30 May 1962 – Whilst serving his sentence at Winson Green prison, his creditors met at Brighton. [11]
  • 1 April 1964 – Died aged 71. [2]

CASES

Child bride number 1 and divorce case, March 1922

In the Divorce Courts, the daughter of an MP claimed that Miller had been cruel towards her and thus applied for a separation.  Kathleen stated that she was 19 years and 9 months old (born 9th June 1903) and her husband, Miller, was 29-years old. During the evidence she gave, Kathleen stated that she first met Miller when she was just 12-years old when he visited her school at Downham Market.

In October 1915 she was invited to stay with Miller’s mother, where Miller began the task of effectively grooming her despite the fact he was engaged to Flora Petersen.  By Spring 1919 their relationship seemingly became a sexual one.  On 9th June 1919 – Kathleen’s 16th birthday – they became engaged and in October 1919 they married in a rushed secret ceremony at Victoria registry office before telling their parents the news because Kathleen was pregnant.  On 18th October 1919 a second ceremony took place at Brompton Oratory.

In January 1920 they moved to Golders Green where their son was born in March 1920.  The Golders Green house was given up and no provision was made for further housing.  Aside from a stint living with his parents in Ennismore Gardens, Kathleen ended up returning to her father’s home in Cheltenham where she became ill, suffered a miscarriage and eventually divorced her husband.


Child bride number 2, 1 December 1927

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A creature of habit, Miller eloped with a young actress called Margaret (Peggy) May Shotter.  Despite her father’s insistence that Margaret was to have nothing to do with Miller, on 1st December 1927 the pair eloped to St Pancras Registry Office and married.  Her incensed father described her as “no more than a child” and she was already pregnant with the first of their two children. In February 1928, Margaret was fined £25 at Clerkenwell for a false declaration of her age, having stated she was 21 when she applied for a licence to marry when she had only just turned 18.

By April 1931 and following the birth of their second daughter, Margaret left Miller.  In July she and her two sisters had taken out a summonses against Miller whom they accused of assault after he had ‘kidnapped’ Margaret and taken her against her will to his mother’s home at Hurstpierpoint, Sussex.  Margaret claimed he threatened to murder her if anyone attempted to take her away from him.

In November 1932, a judge decreed their marriage dissolved and described Miller as “a most undesirable person” and “an unsavory pest of young women” who had pursued Margaret’s sisters throughout their relationship.  He also awarded custody of both children to Margaret.


The ‘adopted’ daughters and the ‘companion’, July 1958 [9]

Girl E

In August 1958 Miller was being investigated by a number of police forces.  Miller had placed an advertisement in the Catholic Herald for a companion for his young son for the summer holidays, which was answered by a family from Ealing.  Miller met them and their 11-year old daughter (Girl E), telling them that one of his adopted daughters would also be staying. So with the parents consent, he took Girl E to his mansion in Silchester where he lavished her with gifts.  Welfare officials contacted the mother expressing concerns about his previous convictions and advised them to remove her, which they did.

Girl F

Around the same time, officials at a Frinton hotel contacted police where Miller was found with a 10-year old girl from Newbury, Bucks (Girl F).  The mother stated that an advertisement had been placed in a local newspaper under the name of ‘Ann Miller’.  Police at Clacton advised her to remove her daughter immediately.

Girls G and H

As to his ‘adopted daughters’ these were in fact two sisters from Bracknell, Berks.  One was 20 (Girl G) and the other was 14 (Girl H).  Their mother explained that they spent weekends at Silchester and were also taken on holiday to Frinton by Miller.


Assault of girls, September 1958 

In August, Miller was arrested at the Hollybush Hotel in Dalrymple and transferred to Basingstoke where he once again in court charged with six offences against two young girls.  Known as “Uncle George”, he abused Girls B and C at his home in Silchester, a hotel in Frinton-on-Sea and a hotel in Newport, Wales. [11]

Girl B was just nine years old when her parents answered an advertisment in a local paper which read: “Family residing country manor, Hampshire, would welcome a bright little girl aged eight to twelve as companion to small son.”  Miller took the girl to his home at Silchester where he abused her, as well as at a hotel in Newport, Wales.  The girl wrote a desperately brave but heartbreaking letter to her parents, which stated:

Could you try to get me home as soon as possible because uncle interfered with me?  I am scared stiff because I don’t know what to do.

Girl C was the 13-year old daughter of friends that Miller had known for many years.  He abused her at his Silchester home and at a hotel in Frinton-on-Sea.

Miller pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to four charges and not guilty to two charges and was jailed for three years.


Child-sealing, August 1961

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In August 1961, just as before, Miller inserted an advertisment in a Birmingham paper in which he stated he was looking for a young girl as a companion for the 15-year old son of a “titled family shortly motoring to Scotland and the seaside for a period of a fortnight.  Preference given to child who would not otherwise get a holiday.

Girl J 

The advertisement was answered by a mother in Birmingham, whom Miller visited.  He arranged to take her daughter (Girl J) on holiday with him the following week.

It seems that suspicion was aroused, as Miller was visited by a police officer at his home in Worthing, following which Girl J’s mother received a telegram which stated that he could not take her daughter as “plans had been altered.” 

Girl D

Another set of parents also replied to the advertisement, and just a week later Miller arrived in his Rolls Royce at their home in Stoke on Trent to meet with the parents of Girl D.  Describing her as a “nice little girl and suitable companion“, he claimed that a Mrs Lane and her daughter would also be accompanying the party as a chaperone and that they would initially head to Cheltenham to make a business call but would then head to Cardiff to collect his son before setting off for Scotland where they would meet his grandchildren. [9] He then took out Girl D’s father in his Rolls Royce and for drinks before he stayed overnight in a hotel in Hanley. [12]

The following day – 23rd August 1961 – and with the parents agreement, Miller collected 11-year old Girl D, and thus another elaborate set of lies ensued.

Miller turned up unexpectedly at the home of an acquaintance – Peter Guy Manners, an osteopath of Lippiatt Terrace in Cheltenham and was invited to stay the night.  He then claimed his son couldn’t get to Cheltenham and despite Manner’s suggestion that Miller should take Girl D home, he instead wrote to her parents claiming that a doctor had advised him not to make a long journey to Scotland due to a health issue.  Manners felt compelled to invite them to stay and that’s exactly what Miller did.

Over the next few days it was alleged Miller assaulted the girl three times as well as took photographs of her naked.  He also showed her a number of photographs of semi-naked girls around the same age before eventually taking Girl D home on 30th August. [12]

Miller was arrested at his first floor flat in Lansdowne Road in Worthing on 26th September, where police found two sets of negatives – each containing indecent photographs of Girl D.

During the trial he claimed that Mrs Hodgson had been the companion and not Mrs Lane, as he had originally claimed.  There was no Mrs Hodgson.

Miller’s ex-wife, Cynthia, gave evidence and stated that no provision to collect his son or holiday was ever made.  In fact, he hadn’t seen his son for 15 years. [13]

Letters shown to the court proved that although Miller’s eldest daughter and grandchildren did live in Nairn, Scotland, he hadn’t seen her for around ten years. [13]

Mrs Greenwood, the elderly housekeeper of Peter Manners, confirmed to the court that she had found Miller in the girl’s bedroom in his pyjamas and on another occasion saw the girl in Miller’s bedroom. [13]

After he had taken Girl D home, the court heard how he sent her a number of gifts, claimed he would finance a private education and would also alter his will in her favour before suggesting that she accompanied him on holiday again. [9]

Girl D spent her 12th birthday giving evidence to a closed court, which Miller claimed was all rubbish.  He also denied the allegations of assault. [13]

Girl I

The court also heard how Miller had also advertised in The Lady for two young girls for a holiday trip to Scotland.  This was answered by a family in Sutton Coldfield, who sent a photograph of their seven-year old daughter (Girl I).  Miller wrote back three times but upon noticing the signature of ‘George Miller’ (presumably realising it was a man and not a woman who had placed the ad), the mother changed her mind and refused to let her daughter go. [12]

Miller was found guilty of child-stealing, but the jury found him not guilty of the assaults.  He was jailed for a year.

 


REFERENCE

  • [1] The Times
  • [2] The Peerage
  • [3] Daily Mirror
  • [4] Motorsport Magazine, 2006
  • [5] Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
  • [6] Surrey Advertiser
  • [7] Suffolk and Essex Free Press
  • [8] Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail
  • [9] Daily Herald
  • [10] Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser
  • [11] Coventry Evening Telegraph
  • [12] Aberdeen Evening Express
  • [13] Birmingham Daily Post
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4 thoughts on “SIR ALASTAIR MILLER, BARONET OF DUNBLANE

  1. Hi! How’s you?
    I just went to tweet you, only to find you are not there!!! Hope they didnt shut you down & you are just taking a well deserved wee break! If so, enjoy!
    Catch you later

    Cat xx

    Like

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