In mid December 1998, Lynsey Quy went missing from her home in Southport, England. It was 18 months before investigators discovered that her husband, Mitchell Quy, had brutally murdered and dismembered her and hid the body parts in different locations around Southport.
I actually had not heard of this case until about a week ago, but when a friend told me about it, I was really intrigued. I decided I wanted to write about it because as far as I can tell, it hasn’t really been looked at properly before. It’s also interesting to look at cases you don’t have pre-existing opinions about. I’m going to do my best to tell Lynsey’s story here and hope that I do it justice.
Warning: this post contains some graphic descriptions of violence as well as domestic abuse.
Lynsey was someone who sparkled both inside and out. She was beautiful and had a dazzling smile with a personality to match; her mother, Linda, described her as bubbly, fun loving and outgoing. Lynsey came from a large family, which included her parents and her five siblings. The family were not especially close, but they loved one another all the same. When Lynsey became pregnant when she was just 17 by her first serious boyfriend, she was adamant that she would keep the baby. However, several months into her pregnancy, the relationship ended and Lynsey was alone, 5 months pregnant.
Enter Mitchell Quy, who was 3 years older than Lynsey. On their first meeting, Mitchell quickly fell for Lynsey, while Lynsey thought she had struck gold; Mitchell was charming and constantly doted on her, coming by her house with flowers and cards. Given Lynsey’s pregnancy, she was particularly enticed by the idea of companionship and Mitchell seemed perfect. After just 5 weeks, the two were married.
Lynsey’s family, however, were less than thrilled. It was so fast, and how well did Lynsey really know Mitchell? On the evening of their wedding, the two were already arguing, as Lynsey’s father, Peter, recalled. ‘Possibly it was a sign of things to come,’ he remarked.
Another Side Of Mitchell
Soon Lynsey began to discover a side of Mitchell she knew nothing about, realising that the man she married was a stranger. They had found their first home together, but all was not well. Lynsey told Mitchell to leave and confided in her sister that Mitchell would have outbursts that were often violent. Just a year after giving birth to her first child, Robin, Lynsey became pregnant again, this time with Mitchell’s child. Afraid to bring a new baby into the unstable home, Lynsey had an abortion. This enraged Mitchell, who beat her and moved out.
As well as being violent, Mitchell regularly slept with other women while he and Lynsey were married. However, after 5 months of being apart, Lynsey allowed Mitchell to move back in. Having had a change of heart, she told Mitchell she wanted to have a baby with him. It wasn’t long before she was pregnant again.
When Lynsey was about halfway through her pregnancy, Mitchell had his most violent outburst yet. Lynsey wasn’t home at the time, but on her return, she found the house in chaos. There was broken glass everywhere, doors had been unhinged, and blood stained the walls. The two were kicked out of the house and once again the marriage was in turmoil. In October 1997, their son Jack was born. By the next year, however, Mitchell moved out again. This time it seemed as though it was over for good.
One Last Forgiveness
With the help of Women’s Aid, Lynsey moved into another house with her children away from Mitchell; he was not notified of the location of the new house. Lynsey was so terrified that Mitchell would show up that she carried a portable panic button. Just as she was getting her life back together, Mitchell persuaded her to let him see Jack on his first birthday. From there, he would find his way back into Lynsey’s home and her life. Lynsey did not tell anyone that Mitchell and she were back together. When her friends and family did find out, they were shocked that Lynsey would allow this man back into her life and steered clear of the two. Taking Mitchell back was the worst decision Lynsey would ever make.
As Christmas approached, Lynsey went about readying the house for the festive season. On December 11th, she spent time with her family, and at the end of the day, her mother dropped her back off at home. Little did she know, this would be the last time she would see her daughter.
The last sighting of Lynsey was on December 15th 1998. After that, no one saw or heard from her again. On the 24th, Lynsey’s mother attempted to get in touch with Lynsey throughout the day, asking when she could drop off Christmas presents for the children. Needless to say, she failed to get in touch.
Lynsey was not actually reported missing until February 5th 1999, 53 days after anyone had last seen her. She was not reported missing by Mitchell or a family member, but rather by a worried social worker. In the end, Lynsey was completely alone.
In the 18 months that Lynsey was missing, Mitchell kept up a public facade of a jilted husband who had been left to look after two young children on his own, while his wife ran off with another man. Nobody who knew Lynsey believed this; she would never choose to leave her children. Mitchell claimed several times that he had seen Lynsey, walking around town or driving a Mercedes. He was, however, the only person who claimed to have seen her.
Lies and Deceit
Enjoying the publicity, he told the media his story whenever he got the chance. He invited journalists into his home, meticulously constructing a web of lies, aiming to generate public sympathy for himself. Mitchell was always cryptic with the journalists. When asked if he had killed Lynsey, instead of replying ‘no’, he would instead say ‘I’m not going to answer that question, because I don’t need to. You make up your own mind, because eventually everyone will find out.’
Mitchell toyed with police, sending the lead detective on the case, Geoff Sloan, a Christmas card and a bottle of hair dye, claiming it would “cover up his greys and give him extra confidence”. Acts like this confirmed just how relaxed Mitchell was; he certainly didn’t come across as a husband worried for his wife’s welfare.
Whenever Mitchell appeared on TV, he didn’t come across as someone you felt sorry for; watching him speak made me decidedly uncomfortable. He came across as insincere in his appeals for Lynsey to come home and wore a constant smirk on his face, as if sharing a private joke with himself.
Meanwhile, Lynsey’s family were in the dark. They knew that Mitchell was guilty, they didn’t trust him and knew how violent Mitchell could be, but the lack of evidence meant Mitchell could not be convicted. While Lynsey was missing, they would regularly go out searching in and around Southport for signs of Lynsey’s body.
Mitchell’s Mask Crumbles
Mitchell thought he had been successful in the deception of the police, the public and Lynsey’s family; for almost a year and a half, there was no sign of Lynsey anywhere. Investigators were beginning to lose hope of ever finding out what happened. As Mitchell grumbled about how his life had essentially been ruined by the media coverage (despite the fact he did nothing to discourage it), the truth was finally about to come out. On June 7th 2000, police came to conclusions that Lynsey had died on or shortly after December 15th 1998. They went to Mitchell’s home and brought him in for questioning. Mitchell did not give up any information for almost a day and a half, but then on the evening of June 8th, he couldn’t take it anymore; he confessed to everything.
The next day, Mitchell agreed to show the police the area(s) he had hidden Lynsey’s body. Mitchell continued to smile; the knew the media were there and what seemed most important to him, even after everybody knew he was guilty, was the limelight. That day, he showed the police where he had hidden her torso and legs. Her head would never be recovered.
On December 16th 1998, Lynsey had finally got up the nerve to get Mitchell out of her life for good. She didn’t plan to, but ended up telling Mitchell that she had arranged an appointment with a lawyer because she wanted a divorce. Mitchell flew into a rage; he strangled Lynsey and then hid her body in their bedroom. With the help of his brother, Elliott, he later dismembered her and disposed of the body parts.
Mitchell was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. His brother was sentenced to 7 years for his role. Mitchell was branded with the name the ‘Smiling Killer’ due to the smile he wore throughout the search for Lynsey and right up until he showed the police Lynsey’s various gravesites.
There’s something really wrong with the justice system when the perpetrator of such a heinous crime could actually be free. Early this year, after serving his minimum sentence of 17 years, Mitchell became eligible for parole. He applied and was denied, but will be able to apply again at the same time next year. Petitions have been made to keep Mitchell behind bars. Lynsey’s father says that every time he hears of a prisoner committing suicide, he hopes it’s Mitchell.
I have little to say now, other than I hope that Lynsey is finally at peace. While she was alive, she really was radiant and I hope that those who love her are able to remember her in that way.
A really good fly on the wall documentary of Mitchell Quy’s last month before we was convicted of murder.