Anthony “Tony” Baekeland stabbed his 52-year-old mother to death in 1972, the climax of a bizarre incestual relationship she began hoping to “cure” her son of homosexuality.
Tony stabbed his mother to death in her luxurious London apartment on November 17, 1972. On this night, she and a friend dined at an exclusive London restaurant where she boasted about the extravagant life she led with Tony. When his mother returned home, he stabbed her with a knife.
When the police arrived, Tony was on the phone ordering Chinese food.
A Toxic Mother-Son Relationship
Tony and Barbara had a toxic relationship fueled by mental illness, possessiveness, and conflict. Barbara arranged for Tony to “hook up with prostitutes” because she wanted him to marry a woman. She thought the prostitutes would cure him.
Arguments between the pair often turned physical. Tony attempted to kill his mother on several occasions before finally succeeding. Weeks before he killed Barbara, Tony pushed her out in front of a bus. He was charged with attempted murder but Barbara refused to press charges so they were dropped.
Barbara was considered one of New York’s 10 most beautiful girls. She worked as a model with some of the top magazines in the world, including Vogue. Yet, her mental illness plagued her and most of her earnings covered the expense of therapists and psychiatrists.
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She married the handsome Brooks Baekeland, the grandson of Leo Baekeland, the investor in plastic. The couple’s marriage soon turned tumultuous.
Tony Meets a Man
In 1946, Barbara attempted suicide while living in Paris. In 1967, the family resided in Switzerland and 21-year-old Tony began a sexual relationship with an Australian man. This infuriated Barbara. She traveled to Switzerland to bring her son home.
Whether Barbara had an incestous relationship with her son is debatable, but many claim that it is true. She thought that if prostitutes did not cure her son of his homosexuality, surely sleeping with him would do the job.
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Brooks began an affair with one of Tony’s classmates and divorced Barbara. He remarried and had another child. Tony and Barbara relocated to the U.K.
Barbara was very controlling, which led to Tony’s unstable mental health. She lived a privileged life where she could hide reality from the outside world. On the inside, Tony had grown out of control and on several occasions, threatened to kill his mother.
On the night of the murder, Barbara and Tony argued about him bringing a friend over to the house. Barbara did not want him to bring the friend to the house. The argument turned violent and Barbara ran into the kitchen. Tony followed her, picked up a knife, and without a second thought, stabbed his mother once.
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Tony was convicted of manslaughter and sent to Broadmoor, one of the UK’s top psychiatric hospitals. He was released to the care of his 87-year-old grandmother in 1980. Now 33 years old, Tony headed to the U.S. to live with grandma in New York City’s Upper East Side.
Tony’s behavior continued to become erratic. His grandmother had no idea how to deal with the bizarre behavior. He built a shrine to his dead mother, repeated satanic masses, and seemed angry.
Tony Stabs His Grandmother
Six days after his release from Broadmoor, Tony and his grandmother got into an argument. Tony grabbed a knife and stabbed her eight times. When officers arrived, tony complained that his grandmother “wouldn’t die!” She was still alive, stab wounds and broken bones causing her to scream in intense pain.
He told the police that he wanted to have sex with his grandmother. She survived the attack. He was sent to Riker’s Island but eight months later on March 20, 1981, guards found 33-year-old Tony dead in his cell. Guards found him at 3:30 p.m. with a plastic bag wrapped tightly around his head. It is unknown if Tony committed suicide or if he was murdered but guards speculate that he offed himself.