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A phony philanthropist
Working as a ruthless loan shark, Magnus McGilded acquired his wealth from the exorbitant interest rates he put on his client's loans. The amount of money he obtained from his nefarious business meant that he could donate some of it to London commercial areas in order to appear as if he were a legitimate businessman who was a generous philanthropist; this plan made him a celebrity in the city and well-liked by its denizens who were unaware of his true nature.
Always looking for new income opportunities, he made a deal with a telegraph technician called Ashley Graydon; if Graydon was able to steal government secrets then McGilded would pay handsomely for them. Graydon was able to intercept a secret telegram from England to Japan and had his father, Mason Milverton, embed the information into two separate music discs for security, as the information could only be accessed if both discs were used as the same time. McGilded subsequently made the first of the two transactions with Graydon onboard an omnibus and obtained the first music disc.
Betrayal & death on an omnibus
- Main article: The Adventure of the Runaway Room
On a cold February night, McGilded met with Milverton inside an omnibus to proceed with the second transaction. However, an argument ensued, ultimately resulting in McGilded stabbing the man in the chest with a knife, killing him instantly. At that moment, a scream emanated from under his seat; lifting up the cushion revealed a hidden Gina Lestrade alongside her pickpocket tools. McGilded dragged her out and forced the young woman to sit beside Milverton's corpse, getting his blood on her hands in the process.
Fellow passengers Bruce Fairplay and Lay D. Furst looked down inside the carriage from the window above after hearing the commotion and quickly left to get the police. Knowing that the authorities would soon be arriving, McGilded gave his black coat containing the second disc to Beppo, telling him to deposit it with Windibank's Pawnbrokery and paying him to do so. He then told Lestrade not tell the police or anyone else what she had seen or heard. McGilded gave her the deposit receipt for the coat and ordered her to hold it for two months. In the event that he was unable to do it himself, Lestrade would go to the pawn shop in his place and extend the deposit time to prevent it from being sold off as unwanted merchandise. McGilded was soon after arrested for Milverton's murder.
Three days later, McGilded was put on trial, with Chief Justice Mael Stronghart arranging for Japanese exchange student Ryunosuke Naruhodo as his defense attorney and "Grim Reaper of the Old Bailey" Barok van Zieks as the prosecutor. During the course of the trial, Naruhodo put forth the possibility of a third party inside the omnibus, which McGilded confirmed. At this, Lestrade suddenly sent off a smoke bomb in the courtroom, allowing her to put some of Milverton's blood on the skylight and floor of the carriage while the commotion was going on, at McGilded's orders. Afterwards, McGilded and Lestrade testified together to claim that he took the fall to let the pickpocket escape. However, this was all a ruse to sway the jury to vote "Not Guilty". Prosecutor van Zieks then revealed that the omnibus had somehow been tampered with during the trial, which led everyone, including Naruhodo, to question McGilded's innocence. This caused the businessman to snap and slam his fist onto the witness stand, enraged that even his own attorney was turning against him. Since there was no evidence that the bloodstains had been planted, the presiding judge reluctantly declared McGilded "Not Guilty", despite many protests. Triumphant, Magnus McGilded laughed and clapped manically as the courtroom broke into an uproar.
Afterwards, McGilded tried to pay Naruhodo a thousand guineas for defending him, only to be turned down by the angry attorney. He was then summoned by a bailiff go inside the courtroom to inspect the crime scene. McGilded complied, saying that he considered it his duty as a celebrity of London. However, once inside the courtroom, he was locked up in the omnibus that Milverton had been killed in and it was set on fire. Although he desperately tried to escape, breaking the window in the process, Magnus McGilded soon perished in the inferno.
The following morning, Mael Stronghart revealed McGilded's death to Naruhodo and the young lawyer's legal assistant, Susato Mikotoba, telling them that Scotland Yard had made no arrangements for the businessman to be present during the inspection.
- Main article: The Adventure of the Unspeakable Story
Two months later, Lestrade went to the pawn shop to receive the coat and discs before they were sold off. But Ashley Graydon, under the alias of "Eggert Benedict", interrupted and attempted to claim them himself. After the murder of the pawn shop's owner, Pop Windibank, the pickpocket was put on trial for the crime. In the course of the trial, it was revealed that McGilded's death had been arranged by Graydon: the technician used the money that McGilded gave him for the first disc to hire people to kill the man to had murdered his father. After his crime was brought to light, van Zieks told Graydon that what he did made him no better than McGilded.
Magnus McGilded strove to put on the welcoming and jovial air of a selfless philanthropist and man of the people, spending vast amounts of his fortune on the preservation and restoration of many commercial areas, asking only for the newly restored areas to carry his name as compensation. However, this was all an act meant to mask his insatiable greed and garner the undeserved trust of others. His aforementioned charity was funded by the dirty money he obtained through his loan shark work. Money and fame were all he held sacred, and he was perfectly willing to resort to murder and treason if it benefited him.
- His Japanese name is a play on the Japanese phrase "kozeni megundaru", which is "kozeni megundeyaru" in the Kansai dialect, and translates as "I'll spare you some change"; this references both his supposed philanthropy and his actual occupation as a loan shark.
- His English given name "Magnus" may be a play on "magnanimous", which means to be kind and charitable towards the less fortunate, or "magnate", a wealthy and powerful businessperson.
- His English surname "McGilded" contains the word "gilded", which can be used to mean "rich" or "privileged". It can also be used to describe something as embellished to give the false impression of worth or validity. "Mc" is a common prefix used in Irish and Scottish surnames. In the English version, he is explicitly referred to as an Irishman.
- Character designer Kazuya Nuri struggled to decided how trustworthy or suspicious McGilded should appear physically, since he would be Naruhodo's first foreign client. He eventually settled on a design that leaned more toward "suspicious".
- McGilded is one of the only two victims of the so-called "Death Bringer Curse" whose death was not orchestrated by Asa Shinn, Tobias Gregson, or Mael Stronghart; the other victim being Odie Asman.
- McGilded is also the quickest victim of the "curse" to die; he fell victim almost immediately after his trial instead of the usual days or years.
- McGilded is referred to throughout the game by multiple people, including Gina Lestrade, as a "bogtrotter", a derogatory term for an Irishman. Although not considered as such during the time period of the game, by modern standards this term is considered highly offensive.
- McGilded is the second client of the player-controlled defense attorney to have been guilty of the crime he is being accused of, following Matt Engarde. Unlike Engarde, however, McGilded personally killed the victim.
- Relatedly, he is the only guilty defendant to date to have received a canonical, onscreen acquittal, although owing to his subsequent death moments later, his freedom was short-lived.
- At age 48, McGilded is the oldest defendant in the series thus far.