In the center of this photograph from a nearby Hampshire market town stands Sheila Buckley, an obscure woman who once scandalized British politics by dating John Stonehouse, a Communist traitor turned MP.
Mrs Buckley is about to become much more public after the release of two highly publicized true crime documentaries. One is about the Stonehouse case, and the other is an ITV drama about a politician who faked his death by falling off a Miami beach in 1974. Matthew Macfadyen stars as the latter character in Stonehouse, which is airing on ITV this week.
While scandalizing British politics, a romance involving John Stonehouse, a Communist traitor and handsome young brunet, rocked the world of politics. The seductive Mrs Buckley appears at her home after being greeted by a man in a 2019 Ford Fiesta. She also receives roses, a copy of The Daily Mail and an excited welcome from her husband.
Keeley Hawes is the actor’s wife in real life who portrays his wife Barbara in a three-part TV series about Harold Wilson’s government. The series recreates Stonehouse’s rise to prominence by mimicking the plot of a thriller The Day Of The Jackal. With financial institutions about to collapse and rumors that he was paid off by Czech intelligence swirling, Stonehouse invented a new identity by copying the plot of the film in an attempt to move to another continent. However, he created significant errors due to lack of experience with the process. Instead of a real-life lookalike of Sheila, his mistress Emer Heatley had an uncanny resemblance to young Sheila.
Victorian police assumed the man running away from Lord Lucan was actually him.
During a scandal, Sheila remained loyal to her disgraced lover even after she became the parliamentarian’s assistant. She flew out to meet him in Australia, where they later married and had a son. Stonehouse died in 1988 at age 62. A three-part series reveals Stonehouse’s successful political rise thanks to a plot ripped straight from a James Bond movie. With rumors that Czech spies were paying him swirling around, he tried to copy The Day Of The Jackal— even as the financial world began to deteriorate.
After her husband died, Mrs Buckley worked as a bookkeeper. Currently, she lives in Romsey, Hampshire on her own and is considered a talented gardener. It is understood that the woman had worked as an accountant or bookkeeper to support herself after losing Stonehouse, who was 21 years older than her. It’s been reported that she lives alone in a £700,000 detached home in Romsey on the River Test. She is known to be a gardening enthusiast and gardener.
The Real Stonehouse doesn’t mention her relationship in its documentary. She rarely speaks about it either.
Retired police detective inspector David Townley mentions the metropolis’s repatriation of Stonehouse and Sheila in his first speaking appearance. He claims that she was a “polite, gentle person” who had become entranced by Stonehouse. They ended up getting two years in prison for being in love. Townley also talked about how London had charged the two with multiple crimes. Stonehouse was young, attractive, and clearly in love with the person she controlled.
Detective Inspector David Townley explained to the police that he believed Sheilagh was kind and gentle. Apparently, she’d been easily duped by Stonehouse into becoming involved in an unsavory activity.
Stonehouse perpetrated 21 counts of fraud, theft and forgery. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison and declared bankrupt on £800,000 worth of stolen money— about $5.5 million today.
Julian Hayes, the great-nephew of Stonehouse and the author of a book about the scandal, stated that Sheila and Stonehouse’s post-prison life was “mundane and normal.”