Former Chiswick estate Agent convicted of killing family

John Allen found guilty of the murder of his wife and two children 27 years ago

The extraordinary criminal career of John Allen came to an end this week as a jury found him guilty of the murder of his his wife Patricia, 39, and children Jonathan, seven, and Victoria, five, at Salcombe, Devon, 27 years ago. They disappeared without trace and their bodies have never been found. Allen was convicted principally on the evidence of Eunice Yabsley with whom he was having an affair with at the time of the disappearance. She wrote a book on the case in which she alleged Allen had killed his family.

After the murders Allen moved to the West London living in Kew. Along with Mrs. Yabsley he set up a restaurant in Richmond called the Galley. However, the restaurant went out of business in 1978 with Mrs Yabsley suspecting that Allen had been stealing from the takings.

Allen went on to open an estate agency business with an office in Chiswick. In 1990 he was convicted of theft at Isleworth Crown Court after police investigations revealed that £160,000 of client funds had gone missing with one woman losing £1,500 after he took money meant to pay her Land Registry and Stamp Duty fees. The Nationwide Anglia Building Society and the Mortgage Company also lost substantial sums. As a result Allen was jailed for three years.

This was just one episode in a life of crime and deception. Allen's real name was Anthony John Angel but in 1967 he stage a "Reggie Perrin" style suicide leaving his clothes by the sea at Beachy Head. Already married he moved to Yorkshire where he bigamously married Patricia. When the deception was discovered he was given a suspended sentence but ended up in jail in 1972 after setting up a private delivery company during a mail strike and burning letters he was supposed to deliver. The family later moved to Torquay but Allen started an affair with Eunice Yabsley. After his conviction for the estate agency fraud he moved back to the south coast where he was involved in the management of golf clubs. However, he appeared unable to resist the temptation to steal from his employers and after leaving other clubs under a cloud he was eventually convicted of theft from a club in Cambridgeshire in 2000 and given a suspended sentence.

Allen denied the murders claiming that he believed that his wife had taken their children to America but her passport remained at home and none of her clothes were missing. The Detective who led the original enquiry, John Bissett, died before the case came to court but he always believed Allen was guilty and felt the bodies of Allen's wife Pat and their two children had been dumped in Salcombe estuary near where the family was living at the time of the disappearance.

December 19, 2002

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