A Wealthy Heiress Is Killed By Her Own Son – 11/17/1972

History |


No matter where you live in the world, it is always sad to hear when a person is murdered. What makes an incident like this worse is hearing the victim is a child or a woman. However, how does one react when it is a mother that meets her end by the hand of her own child? Many must have wondered what was going on in the mind of Barbara Baekeland, a wealthy socialite who was living in her penthouse in London, England when her own son attacked her. The end result of this, 25-year-old Anthony murdered his mother by taking a kitchen knife and stabbing her to death! What must have really shocked police more than seeing the dead mother on the floor was the son speaking calmly on the phone while placing an order for Chinese food.

The history of the Baekeland family was a distressing one that started off with Leo Baekeland, Anthony’s great-grandfather, amassing his fortune through the creation of an early form of plastic known as Bakelite. Even though the family was stabile in their finances, in other areas they were anything but stable. Brooks, the son of the now wealthy inventor, was considered to be a self-described writer who rarely showed off his craft and was also known as a decadent adventurer. 

 Barbara, who was married to Brooks, had her own issues despite being a would-be Hollywood starlet and model. Despite attempting several times to kill herself, Barbara was said to be so upset deeply regarding her son Anthony being a homosexual that her way of trying to “cure” him was to try and seduce her own son! Even though Brooks’ son had showed definite signs of having schizophrenia, Anthony’s father declined to fund any treatment for him as he viewed psychiatry as being “professionally amoral.”

Anthony and Barbara’s tumultuous mother-son relationship was a great concern for her friends. After all, there was a cause to be worried for Barbara considering the erratic behavior of her son as well as the two over the years had more than one argument that would be considered threatening as knives were involved.

Anthony was sent to an institution after the murder at a facility called Broadmoor until he was released in July of 1980 as a result of a bureaucratic error. Anthony would end up relocating to America and went to live with his grandmother in New York City. His stay with her was short as he ended up doing the same thing to her as he did his mother, beating and stabbing her; fortunately, she lived through the attack. This time, Anthony would be sent not to an institution but to Riker’s Island. Unlike the last time, Anthony Baekeland would not be freed by a bureaucratic mistake, nor would he stay at Riker’s long as on March 21st, 1981, he committed suicide through suffocation.

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