The Manacled Mormon Case: How An American Beauty Queen Enraptured The British Tabloids

The following article includes topics such as kidnapping and sexual assault. 

Joyce McKinney (above) was a tabloid favorite for several decades. It's hard to believe that one person could carry out a series of such truly bizarre events over the course of so many years, but McKinney is a very special case. Per The Guardian, McKinney was born in a small Appalachian town in North Carolina, where she began entering beauty pageants at a young age. She was also known for being religious and having strong views of morality. 

In 1973, she was crowned Miss Wyoming and represented the state in the Miss World pageant, according to AP Images. She converted to Mormonism at this point, and later that year, she moved to Provo, Utah, to study at Brigham Young University. There, McKinney attempted to befriend the Osmonds, the famously Mormon family behind the popular musical group, including breakout stars Donny and Marie. Some report that she had a relationship with Wayne Osmond and that his mother, Olive, eventually took steps to keep McKinney away from her children. 

Joyce McKinney stalked Kirk Anderson for years

Joyce McKinney later met and dated a man named Kirk Anderson (shown above in 1999), who was also a practicing Mormon. At the time, McKinney was 25 and he was 19. As reported by The Guardian, McKinney and Anderson started a sexual relationship, with McKinney reporting that Anderson was her first sexual. She later described Anderson as overcome by guilt, particularly after McKinney got pregnant and miscarried. This led him to confess his physical relationship with McKinney to church elders. The elders told Anderson he had to end his relationship with her and moved him out of Utah. 

McKinney left the Mormon church as a result of the elders' decision and began pursuing Anderson, tracking him to California and Oregon. Anderson started using a pseudonym in order to keep McKinney from finding him and eventually moved to England to perform missionary work for the Mormon church. Per The Express, McKinney hired a private detective in England to find Anderson, later stating that this "took 18 months and all my savings." Accompanied by a man named Keith May, McKinney traveled to England to find Anderson. When Joyce McKinney and Keith May arrived in England, they found Kirk Anderson and kidnapped him using a bottle of chloroform and a fake handgun. What happened next isn't disputed by either McKinney or Anderson, but their experiences and description of the events vary wildly.

Three days inside a cabin

According to Kirk Anderson (via the Express), Joyce McKinney brought him to a rural cottage in Devon, tied him to a bed, and proceeded to sexually assault him repeatedly for three days. As Anderson testified during McKinney's trial, "She came into the room wearing a negligée and put on some music. I was manacled to the bed. She grabbed the top of my pyjamas [sic.] and tore them from my body until I was naked." 

McKinney later testified that she tore his top off to arouse him and bragged, "He was grinning like a monkey. I don't have to beg for boys' services. I am 38-24-36, so I don't beg. I was Miss Wyoming." She also claimed that the "bondage games" were the only way that Anderson could enjoy sex and the two had consensual intercourse on Anderson's third day of captivity. McKinney reportedly unshackled May after he agreed to marry her, at which point he escaped. He went to the police and reported that he'd been raped. McKinney and May were arrested and held in prison on remand for three months, per The Guardian. At the time of Joyce McKinney's arrest, there was no British law regarding the sexual assault of a man. The Mirror reported that McKinney and Keith May were arrested and charged with "false imprisonment and possessing an imitation firearm."  

Arrested and let out on bail

Per Surrey Live, Joyce McKinney was released on bail due to her failing mental health, and her trial date was set, with prosecutor Neil Denison proclaiming (via the Express), "A kidnapping for the sake of or because of love is no less a kidnapping than a kidnapping for monetary gain."

McKinney attempted to get word to the press about her story during her incarceration and became famous for the salacious details she imparted during the proceedings to decide if the case should go to trial. Per The Guardian, she became particularly notorious for her statement in court that she "loved Kirk so much that I would have skied down Mount Everest in the nude with a carnation up my nose." Once released from prison, Joyce McKinney and Keith May began in earnest to attempt to sell their story to the British tabloids for £50,000 per The Guardian. McKinney reportedly told editors that she wanted to reveal secrets of the Mormon church as well as information on the Osmond family. She took out ads in Variety in an attempt to attract the attention of agents and movie studios.

From criminal to celebrity

In the midst of Joyce McMinney's attempted media blitz, photographer Kent Gavin of the Daily Mirror tracked down a former Los Angeles boyfriend of McKinney's, Steve Moskowitz, and flew him to London, per The Guardian. Moskowitz provided Gavin with nude photographs of McKinney and claimed she worked as an escort in the United States. However, the Mirror couldn't run any stories about McKinney before her trial as the publication would be considered in contempt of court. 

Meanwhile, McKinney was becoming a celebrity. Former actor and gossip columnist Peter Tory of the Daily Express took McKinney to the premier of the Joan Collins movie "The Stud" where she "behav[ed] like a seasoned Hollywood star, posing this way and that way for the cameras." She also appeared in photographs with drummer Keith Moon of The Who (above). Just before her trial, McKinney disappeared. With the help of her landlord, McKinney and May assumed the identities of two dead people and returned to the United States while pretending to be deaf and mute. Back in the United States, Joyce McKinney contacted the Daily Express and offered to sell her story for £40,000 in cash. Peter Tory flew into the Atlanta airport and met McKinney and May, presenting the money in a suitcase.

McKinney was eventually caught back in the States

Peter Tory later said of the reporting experience, per The Guardian, "She told it in a colorful way, but there was no sense that she had ever been anything but a sweet country girl and she got caught up in this business in London, and everything was part of a Mormon conspiracy. I thought it was a bit boring really, but I thought, here am I involved in a great scoop." The Daily Express ended up running its story on the same day as a competing story from the Daily Mirror, which decided to run a much more tawdry version, complete with nude photographs, writing "She called herself Little Miss Perfect. But there was another side to the runaway beauty queen Joyce McKinney. As a sex hostess she earned $25,000 in 18 months on America's shady vice circuit." McKinney was reportedly so upset by the Daily Mirror story that she was hospitalized and sedated.

Six years later, McKinney was arrested at the Salt Lake City airport (above), which at the time was Kirk Anderson's place of employment. Authorities found handcuffs, rope, and a notebook full of observations and information about Anderson. As later reported by The Chicago Tribune, McKinney was charged with lying to the police and harassment, but once again left town before her trial, leading to the case's dismissal.