Hectorina Maclennan was one of John Christie’s victims. Her name caught my eye because it is so obviously a name of a woman from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It is sad that she immigrated from so far to be murdered by a pathetic man in Notting Hill.
Her shared pauper’s grave is in Gunnersbury Cemetery in west London which is owned and managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Her age in most accounts is 26 although it says 27 on the gravestone.
The most information I can find about Hectorina herself is from this talk by Dr Jonathan Oates of Ealing Council libraries.
A prolific burglar, 39-year-old engineer Frank Collyer, who has links with the above case, was active in Acton, and indeed in Twyford Crescent at this time. On 25 January 1953 he broke into number 15 and stole clothing to the value of £175 from Mrs Rae Harris and on 16 February stole £80 worth of goods from 48 Churchfield Road. He had had nine previous convictions, dating from the 1930s and was arrested when he arranged to meet one of the people he had robbed, claiming he could help restore their property by them buying it back from him. His victim contacted the police and they arrested him when he met her. Collyer was the on and off boyfriend of Hectorina MacLennan, whom he had lived with in February 1953 before being arrested. He later said that the two were in a milk bar in Notting Hill Gate when they saw a balding, middle-aged man, and Hectorina said that she knew him and that he was trouble. However, this, if true, did not prevent her from accompanying the man back to his rooms on 6 March (after having stayed there for three previous nights with Alexander Baker, another boyfriend), where she became the final victim of John Christie. Collyer’s estranged wife worked as a welfare officer at Acton Town Hall and gave Hectorina gifts and advised her to return to her family and children in Scotland – advice fatally disregarded.