I stumbled upon this story while surfing Google for Victorian homes. I love the sense of glamour and charm these old homes exude and frequently find myself surfing the real estate listings and living vicariously through those lucky enough to own a Victorian. The Victorian home in question was featured in a Daily Mail article in 2011.
The home, Oakleigh located in Bowden, Cheshire, England, was acquired by a developer in 2007 named Greenlink from its former owner, Christopher Lumsden. The developers had every intention of renovating the house and selling it for a profit, but the company went bust in 2010, leaving the property in a derelict state.
Let’s rewind for a moment. If the name Christopher Lumsden doesn’t sound familiar, let me take a moment to introduce the two of you. Lumsden murdered his wife in the master bedroom of the home in 2005. It’s hard to say if the murder has anything to do with the property falling into disrepair, but one might assume that fact might be more of a hindrance when it came to selling the place. According to Lumsden, his wife, Alison, was having an affair and came clean with him one night as the couple was getting ready for bed. She wanted a divorce because she was unhappy living with “a cripple.”; Lumsden suffered from muscular dystrophy. He stated that he grabbed a knife from the bedside table and walked up behind his wife, bringing the knife down as she turned to face him. Lumsden stabbed his wife more than 30 times, the damage to her neck and face so severe that figuring out the exact number of the of stab wounds was impossible. He claimed to remember nothing of the actual crime.
Although Lumsden was cleared of murder, he was convicted on a lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced to five years. Lumsden tried to convince the court that he had become so enraged by his wife’s statement that he had lashed out, but the judge ignored such a suggestion, saying he believed that Lumsden’s wife would never have called him a “cripple” and that he did not believe a simple statement like that would have sent him into such a rage.
Lumsden was released after serving only two and a half of those years. Upon release, he collected 1 million pounds from his wife’s will (I’m not sure how a murderer can claim such monies from their victims) and sold Oakleigh for 1.4 million pounds to Greenlink.
It’s no surprise that Oakleigh has remained vacant for so long. From what can be seen of aerial photos of the property, the amount of work required to bring the property back would be tremendous. Asking 2 million pounds for the property, then having to spend at least that much again in repairs is likely a turnoff for many potential buyers. Even if they aren’t aware of the history of the location, it would take a special buyer to bring Oakleigh back.
I’ve attached photos of the mansion from 2005, showing it as a green oasis, as well as map images/photos of the property as it looks today.
Is Oakleigh haunted? I think it would be difficult to rule the idea out given the past of the property. After a thorough search to find an answer to that very question, I found no mention of activity within the structure. Perhaps a ghost hunter or two should spend some time there and find out for sure? I think it would make amazing fodder for a Ghost Hunters International or Ghost Adventures show.
Do you live close to a murder house? Have you had experiences in such a location you’d like to share? Feel free to comment.
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I’m meeting with my co-host this week to hash out the finer points, but there should be some podcast episodes to binge soon! Stay tuned!