It was 50 years ago when Ernest Dumoulin murdered his 18-year-old wife during their honeymoon at an Edinburgh beauty spot.
“It was the darkest night of my life,” he said afterwards, “I held Helga in my arms and kissed her passionately.
“I wanted her to feel I loved her above everything else. I spoke about how we would have a wonderful future filled with love and wealth. She believed me.”
Ernest Dumoulin pushed his new wife Helga Konrad from the cliffs at Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh in October 1972 (Photo: Archives/Scott Louden)
But only one of them would return to the Torphichen Street guest house. “I put a hand on her shoulder and acted as though I had tripped up,” Dumoulin said, “I didn’t want her to know I was a murderer. I pulled her and her body fell. And after that everything was quiet.”
This is the story behind the murder that shook the Capital on October 13, 1972.
Lonely hearts advert
Police investigating the crime would uncover Dumoulin’s unsavoury background as a financial adviser turned conman. The then 21-year-old met Helga Konrad through a lonely hearts advert in a local newspaper in Germany, where they both lived.
By July 14, he arrived at her father’s farm where he asked for her hand in marriage, and was denied. “I told him he was crazy and went back to feeding my animals,” Herr Konrad, Helga’s father, said later. Mr Konrad tried to postpone the wedding until at least Christmas. But on September 15, 1972, the couple eloped together in Dumoulin’s red Fiat.
They would eventually end up in Edinburgh, where on Friday 13, 1972, the pair wed in a registry office. The following morning, Helga’s body was found by a walker at the foot of Salisbury Crags, near Arthur’s Seat.
Reports state that Dumoulin was found in his hotel room, alone, playing the melancholic theme of 1970 film Love Story over and over.
Dumoulin told police the newlyweds had been on a “romantic walk” and wanted to watch the lights of the Capital. He insisted she had lost her footing and fallen to her death on the rocks below. During the investigation, he was reported to have said: “Why don’t people take my word for it?”
A crucial breakthrough was made when Dumoulin was taken to be interviewed by police, and the guesthouse owner cleaned his room. She found a letter to Dumoulin from an insurance company, revealing he had taken out a £1 million insurance policy on Helga’s life just days before.
Disturbingly, Dumoulin had not waited until his wife’s body was cold to attempt to claim the money. However, he was told the insurance company would not pay out as Helga had been “killed on a mountain”.
Dumoulin was charged with murder and appeared in court the following year, where he claimed it was Helga who had tried to kill him.
However, medical evidence at the trial suggested she had not slipped, butr been pushed with considerable force. Dumoulin was eventually found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 16 years in Saughton Prison.
Upon his release, Dumoulin said he had found God in prison. He studied theology and went on to work as a Protestant minister in Germany. It was even reported he had remarried.
A memorial to Helga Konrad was placed at the foot of Salisbury Crags by her family. The plaque reads: “In loving memory of our daughter, Helga Konrad, born 16.6.54, died 13.10.72. Buried at Schwerbach, Germany, only 300 yards from her parents’ home.”
Edinburgh crime: Man, 26, charged with attempted murder after disturbance and co…