Murdered 60s model inquest opens
Published 09/10/2013 | 03:11
An inquest is to be held today into the death of 1960s model Eva Rhodes, whose murder in Hungary was followed by allegations of a cover-up by Hungarian authorities.
The 65-year-old, a former friend of John Lennon, ran an animal sanctuary in Bony, near Gyor in north-west Hungary, and disappeared in September 2008.
The former beauty queen was born in Hungary but moved to England as a child when her family fled the country in 1956.
Hungarian police initially classed the divorced animal-lover as a ''missing person'' despite her family's insistence that she had been robbed and murdered and campaigners claim there has been an "appalling cover-up" involving police and the judiciary in Hungary to prevent the truth emerging.
They say the Hungarian authorities have refused UK government requests for details of the case to be handed over so Scotland Yard can investigate fully and that a r eport by Gaille MacKinnon, one of the UK's leading forensic anthropologists, presented to the coroner at Westminster Coroner's Court, contradicts evidence that underpinned the Hungarian investigations and reveals new crucial details of how Mrs Rhodes died.
Campaigners say that Foreign Secretary William Hague and former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the family's MP, have championed the case and, following the inquest, the family will write to Home Secretary Theresa May asking her to support moves for an investigation by the Yard.
The family maintains a cover-up has gone on for five years with the Hungarian authorities only launching a 'missing persons' inquiry after the intervention and relentless investigations of her sister Judith Majlath, whose decades-long work on landmines was recognised with others by the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mrs Rhodes had clashed with local police and one officer in particular, accusing them of assaulting her and her daughter, relatives say.
Most of Eva's body was never recovered - it was dismembered and set ablaze, possibly when she was still alive - and her torso remains missing. A worker at the remote animal sanctuary was convicted of murder but provided little information as to what happened to the body. The family says there is now a compelling case that others were involved and the convicted man has lied to protect them.
Mrs Majlath said: "The report by the expert says that my sister suffered countless severe injuries before she was dead, which totally contradicts the Hungarian findings which state that she died from one punch to the face and a blow to the head.
"We want the outcome of the inquest to be that the coroner recommends further investigation with the involvement of Scotland Yard, to find out who else was involved in this horrific murder."
Mrs Rhodes' daughter Sophie and granddaughter Agatha live in Chelsea, London.