Monday, May 17, 2021

Manacled to Mummy

The strange story of the murder of Barbara Baekeland by her own son

 

Murders can happen anywhere but Cadogan Square in Chelsea is not somewhere you’d first think of one so strange occurring. In 1972, however, just such a thing happened when the great grandson of the inventor of Bakelite killed his socialite mother in their penthouse home.

 

By all accounts Antony (Tony) Baekeland – 25 at the time – was a troubled man. He had had a privileged yet turbulent childhood at the hands of two reckless parents, Brooks and Barbara Baekeland, whose focus was on socialising and hedonism instead of creating a happy home. His “arrogant” father, for example, is said to have liked telling those he met:

 

“Thanks to my grandfather, I have what James Clavell has called ‘fuck-you money’. Therefore I need not please or seek to please; astonish, astound, dazzle or be approved of by anyone”.

 

Barbara Daly Baekeland with her son Antony
Barbara Daly Baekeland with her son Antony

A young Antony Baekeland
A young Antony Baekeland

Here, indeed, was a couple who “flitted gypsy-like” between London, New York and Paris and holidayed in such resorts as Zermatt and the Hamptons. They spent lavishly and lauded their son in public as a “genius” but neglected him in private. Antony Baekeland, in fact, was simply another plaything for two selfish Gatsby-like individuals who counted Salvador Dali, Dylan Thomas and Tennessee Williams amongst their entourage.

 

The young Baekeland had a “marked stammer” and was variously described as having been the kind of child that “enjoyed pulling the wings off butterflies” and one obsessed with the collar of his deceased Pekingese dog. At school this schizophrenic is said to have had his first homosexual experience at the age of eight and then when his father, Brooks Baekeland, left his mother for a “nubile female classmate that Tony brought home from school for a weekend visit”, this car crash of a child plainly tipped over the edge.

 

Mother and son were said to have become “neurotically clingy, dancing a minuet of codependency” in the coming years but the main problem for Barbara Baekeland was that her son’s sexual preference was for men. To “cure him”, a prostitute was hired and when that did not work, it is alleged that Mrs Baekeland took it upon herself to sleep with her child herself. Some, such as one of her former lovers, Sam Green, later argued that this was just the “self-indulgent ramblings of a mad international wastrel” and that Barbara Baekeland was someone who just reveled in notoriety, but it is for this that the case joined the ranks of notoriety. The 2007 film Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Dancy, that was based on the story made great play of this. Legal action brought by Sam Green in relation to a scene in which he is said to have had a threesome with Antony and Barbara Baekeland remained unresolved at the time of Green’s death in 2011.

 

The scene from 'Savage Grace' where Julianne Moore, Hugh Dancy and Eddie Redmayne portray a threesome between Barbara and Antony Baekeland and Sam Green
The scene from ‘Savage Grace’ where Julianne Moore, Hugh Dancy and Eddie Redmayne portray a threesome between Barbara and Antony Baekeland and Sam Green

Antony Baekeland’s descent into what his father described as the “personification of evil” was the inevitable result and incidents that followed included his being put into a private psychiatric clinic after attacks upon his mother with pens, knives and walking sticks. By August 1972, he was “often in catatonic trances, clutching himself and swaying to and fro” and he unsuccessfully attempted to throw his mother under a passing car in Cadogan Square at around this time. Though arrested, Barbara Baekeland refused to press charges and after a brief stay in The Priory, her son was free to strike again.

 

By October things Antony Baekeland’s condition had worsened and in desperation, his mother arranged for him to see Dr W. Lindsay Jacobs. The psychiatrist later lamented:

 

“I saw Antony Baekeland for the first time on 30th October 1972 – eighteen days before the crime – and afterward I told his mother, ‘Your son is going to kill you’. She replied, ‘He’s been murdering me since he was born – whether for him or his father, I don’t know. I’m used to murder’. ‘This isn’t a metaphor’, I told her. ‘This isn’t an analyst’s game. I think you’re at grave risk’. And she said, ‘I don’t’.”

 

On 17th November 1972, the situation came to a head when Antony Baekeland stabbed his mother with a kitchen knife in their penthouse at 81 Cadogan Square. When the police arrived, they found Barbara Baekeland dead and her son ordering Chinese food over the telephone. Antony Bakeleand told the officers who arrested him that he was “not responsible for the crime” and later wrote to his grandmother to tell her “a great weight has been removed from my shoulders”.

 

Baekeland was defended at his trial by John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole of the Bailey, and found guilty of manslaughter through diminished responsibility. He was subsequently institutionalised at Broadmoor Hospital prison but after a group of “well meaning” friends campaigned for his release, he was released in July 1980 on the condition he left England for good.

 

On the plane to New York, after leaving prison, Antony Baekeland is said to have explained to his escort, Cecelia Brebner, about what had happened on the day of the murder. His alleged words sum up the ultimately destructive interdependency of the mother-son relationship. In her account, Brebner stated that after stabbing his mother, Baekeland told her that:

 

“‘Mummy was dying. I knelt down and turned her face toward me and asked: ‘What is your name? Who are you?’ … But it [didn’t] matter… Mummy and I are one. It really doesn’t matter at all.”

 

A week later, Antony Baekeland attempted to stab his own grandmother to death. Miraculously, she survived and of why he did it, he told a psychiatrist:

 

“All this happened because I was denied physical contact with my grandmother and homosexual relations with anybody else”.

 

Sent for assessment at Rikers Island prison, Baekeland remained there for eight months. He expected he would be bailed at a court hearing on the 20th March 1981 but because of a delay in the transfer of his medical records in England, the case was adjourned and he was returned to his cell. Thirty minutes later, Antony Baekeland was dead. He had suffocated himself with a plastic bag and in doing so ended the Baekeland dynasty.

 

The notes on this most curious case remain closed until 2047 at the National Archives at Kew on the justification of there being “commercial and personal information supplied in confidence”. When they are opened, goodness knows what else will be revealed about the son of a woman who once commented: “You’re manacled to Mummy now”.

 

 

Subscribe to our free once daily email newsletter here:

     

    5e3b97728b2e4bf58c9ff7822befe328?s=96&d=mm&r=g
    The Steeple Times
    We research and background check our articles. If you believe we have made and error in some detail please get in touch, we seek always to write the truth and stand against a press owned by a self selected few. Please help us, we will accept all your likes, subscriptions and anonymous suport. The Editor and his team at the Steeple Times.

    3 COMMENTS

    1. Maybe “Clockwork Orange” is to blame. I found the following letter written by Ann Whitaker of the Community Standards Association in the early 1970’s.
      I am very sorry that “Clockwork Orange” for instance is at this moment being shown in Newquay. This film provides an education in the techniques of mugging and the lessons are being learned. The assault of a girl and her rape by four men (described in the national press) was classical “Clockwork Orange”. When Arthur Bremer was tried for the attempted murder of Governor George Wallace it was disclosed that he had written in his diary, “I saw “Clockwork Orange” and thought about getting George Wallace during the film. It all produces a sense of outrage in people who know that life has more to offer than violence, promiscuous sex, drugs and pornography and who are grieved to think that these are increasingly being presented to young people as a way of life.
      Perhaps she was crazy or maybe not? Surely violence, promiscuous sex, drugs, pornography has not become part of life in Britain? The woman was a scaremonger.

        • There were concerns raised during the 1960’s and 1970’s regarding the culture at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC} The red flags were raised, but it was ignored. The letters can be retrieved from the archives. I regret that you regard this as drivel.
          Sophisticated Steeple Times readers familiar with Research Methodology can investigate it for themselves.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Advertisement
    Advertisement

    Become a Patron of The Steeple Times

    Independent journalism will only remain independent if it is supported by clear-thinking people like you. We each have the command to make a real difference. Join us.

    2,641FansLike
    2,068FollowersFollow
    10,969FollowersFollow

    Subscribe For DAILY NEWS

    Please subscribe, like and share this very British site, it helps us grow. Your data is protected and The Steeple Times will send you an email at noon everyday that we rather trust you will enjoy.

    Advertisement

    Other Stories You May Enjoy

    Randy Rob Deserves The Rod 2021 – Sex pestering Rob Roberts MP – Nikolay Kalinin slams the slapdash attitude of the Conservative Party to the sex pestering of both men and women by rabid Rob Roberts MP.

    Randy Rob Deserves The Rod

    Nikolay Kalinin slams the slapdash attitude of the Conservative Party to the sex pestering of both men and women by rabid Rob Roberts MP.
    A Boat For Brenda 2021: Sir Philip Green should give his yacht to Queen – As decidedly dippy Dame Esther Rantzen calls for tyrannical twerp Sir Philip Green to hand over his gin palace to the Queen, we suggest Sir James Dyson or Sir Charles Dunstone’s tubs as other options.

    A Boat For Brenda

    As decidedly dippy Dame Esther Rantzen calls for tyrannical twerp Sir Philip Green to hand over his behemoth boat to the Queen, we suggest Sir James Dyson or Sir Charles Dunstone’s gin palaces as other options that could be commandeered.
    Moron of the Moment 2021 – John H. Cox – Bear abusing Republican wannabe Governor of California John H. Cox deserves to be sanctioned for his senseless stunt in San Diego.

    Moron of the Moment – John H. Cox

    Bear abusing Republican wannabe Governor of California John H. Cox deserves to be sanctioned for his senseless stunt in San Diego.
    The Plotless Pillock Prince 2021 – Prince Harry should wind his neck in – Matthew Steeples suggests decidedly dim Prince Harry has well and truly lost the plot; he should heed the words of the equally ‘woke’ wally Lily Allen and finally “wind his neck in”

    The Plotless Pillock Prince

    Matthew Steeples suggests decidedly dim Prince Harry has well and truly lost the plot; he should heed the words of the equally ‘woke’ wally Lily Allen and finally “wind his neck in”
    Menendez Take on TikTok 2021 – Erik and Lyle Menedez convictions – As the Menendez brothers case goes viral courtesy of their newfound TikTok supporters, it is time for their case to be reassessed and their convictions reduced to manslaughter suggests Matthew Steeples.

    Menendez Take on TikTok

    As the Menendez brothers case goes viral courtesy of their newfound TikTok supporters, it is time for their case to be reassessed and their convictions reduced to manslaughter suggests Matthew Steeples Brothers Erik and Lyle...
    Nathan in November – Ghislaine Maxwell trial moved to 29th November – Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial before Judge Nathan moved to 29th November in spite of her crackpot lawyer claiming jurors won’t be fair to her because they will want to be home for Christmas.

    Nathan in November

    Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial before Judge Nathan moved to 29th November in spite of her crackpot lawyer claiming jurors won’t be fair to her because they will want to be home for Christmas.
    Wisdom From Wales 2021 – Analysis of election results and Labour – Nikolay Kalinin delves into Labour success in Wales in the recent elections and suggests if the party wants to win nationwide they should pay heed to what went on there.

    Wisdom From Wales

    Nikolay Kalinin delves into Labour’s success in Wales in the recent elections and suggests if the party wants to win nationwide they should pay heed to what went on there.
    Hoping v Helping 2021 – Sue Homan slams Michael Barrymore – Sue Homan “slams” deviant disgrace Michael Barrymore for not helping secure justice for her murdered ex-husband Stuart Lubbock.

    Hoping v Helping

    Sue Homan quite deservedly “slams” deviant disgrace Michael Barrymore for not helping secure justice for her murdered ex-husband Stuart Lubbock.
    Fagin’s Bentley – Ex-Ron Moody 1961 Bentley S2 Continental for sale – 1961 Bentley S2 Continental drophead coupé owned by Golden Globe award winning actor Ron Moody – best known as ‘Fagin’ in ‘Oliver!’ – for sale for 329% more than it sold for in 2014 after restoration. Offered by Frank Dale & Stepsons for £295,000 ($413,000, €339,000 or درهم1.5 million).

    Fagin’s Bentley

    1961 Bentley S2 Continental drophead coupé owned by Golden Globe award winning actor Ron Moody – best known as ‘Fagin’ in ‘Oliver!’ – for sale for 329% more than it sold for in 2014 after restoration.
    A Hiding in Hartlepool 2021 – Labour loses Hartlepool to the Tories – Nikolay Kalinin shares his thoughts on Labour’s electoral hiding in Hartlepool.

    A Hiding in Hartlepool

    Nikolay Kalinin shares his thoughts on Labour’s electoral hiding in Hartlepool.

    Popular Articles From The Past

    Weather

    London
    overcast clouds
    9.9 ° C
    11 °
    8.9 °
    82 %
    4.6kmh
    100 %
    Tue
    13 °
    Wed
    16 °
    Thu
    16 °
    Fri
    16 °
    Sat
    11 °