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The Bradley Welsh Murder

The Bradley Welsh Murder

Episode Summary

Bradley, boxing gym owner and charity organiser, returned home from his gym, he had a brief chat with a neighbour before walking towards his flat. Just then a man appeared from nowhere and before Bradley could do anything he shot him in the head. But who would want to harm Bradley? Could the reason be rooted in his past?  

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:


Bradley Welsh shooting: Man arrested over ‘murder’ of Trainspotting star in Edinburgh

T2 Trainspotting star blasts ‘absolute clowns’ who left note on his van because it ‘lowers the tone’ of wealthy Edinburgh street

Bradley Welsh murder cops probed by watchdog over ‘events leading up to shooting of Trainspotting star’

Bradley Welsh cops probed over actions before Trainspotting star’s murder – Daily Record

Bradley Welsh murder cops release CCTV of car as probe into Trainspotting star’s death continues – Daily Record

Cops issue chilling death warnings to five gangsters after Trainspotting 2 star Bradley Welsh shot dead – Daily Record

Bradley Welsh: Police “warned of murder plot” against T2 Trainspotting actor | HeraldScotland

Bradley Welsh murder: Gangsters receive death threat warnings after film star’s slaying | UK | News | Express.co.uk

Bradley Welsh murder trial: Neighbour had shotgun pointed at him – BBC News

Bradley Welsh accused ‘not my attacker’, claims friend – BBC News

Thugs carried out axe attack on brother of T2 murder witness days after Bradley Welsh shooting – Daily Record

Bradley Welsh was murdered for branding mob figures ‘grasses’, T2 Trainspotting star’s pal claims

Murder victim Bradley Welsh ‘was put on death list’ in feud between notorious Scots criminals – Daily Record

Bradley Welsh murder: Gangland figure named as being behind £10k plot to kill Trainspotting star goes into hiding

Bradley Welsh murder: Chilling CCTV shows gangland hitman Sean Orman fleeing scene with shotgun

Bradley Welsh was ‘put on death list’ after getting caught in gangland feud – Edinburgh Live

Bradley Welsh murderer set to appeal conviction for ‘premeditated assassination’ – Edinburgh Live

Bradley Welsh was murdered for branding mob figures ‘grasses’, T2 Trainspotting star’s pal claims

Bradley Welsh murder: Gangland figure named as being behind £10k plot to kill Trainspotting star goes into hiding

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh set to return to roots for novel launch party – The Sunday Post

CCTV shows Bradley Welsh killer fleeing murder scene with shotgun | Edinburgh News

Bradley Welsh chillingly revealed he was haunted by ‘ghetto’ past before death – Mirror Online

Bradley Welsh murder: Actor Danny Dyer joins list of famous names to pay tribute | Edinburgh News

Bradley Welsh shooting: Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh pays emotional tribute after West End shooting | Edinburgh News

Danny Dyer pays tribute to ‘good soul’ Bradley Welsh after Trainspotting 2 star was shot dead

Bradley Welsh funeral – Trainspotting star taken to Edinburgh service in ‘Hibs’ coffin as Irvine Welsh among 1,000 mourners

Hunt for ‘baseball cap-wearing hitman’ who shot dead Trainspotting star over ‘£130,000 of drugs’ | Daily Mail Online

Moredun – Wikipedia

Gangs of Edinburgh: Feared Hibs casuals who moved up to the big league – Daily Record

Record attempt to raise funds for children’s charity | The Edinburgh Reporter

6 years ago tonight, Brad Welsh set the… – Holyrood Boxing Gym | Facebook

Trainspotting 2 star Bradley Welsh was ‘reformed character’ but it was sinister past that cost him his life

Bradley Welsh – Biography – IMDb

‘Your legacy continues’ – Bradley Welsh tribute shared by Holyrood Boxing Gym one year after death – Edinburgh Live

Edinburgh gangster Mark Richardson moved from Saughton prison after ‘taking over’ jail – Edinburgh Live

mark richardson gangster in prison – Bing images

Gangster jailed over high-speed chase through Glasgow – BBC News

Chester St, Edinburgh to Duddingston Road West, Edinburgh EH16 4AP – Google Maps

Man goes on trial accused of shotgun murder of T2 Trainspotting star Bradley Welsh – Daily Record

Sean Orman jailed for 28 years for ‘cowardly and wicked’ murder of Bradley Welsh – Edinburgh Live

Man accused of Trainspotting actor’s murder acquitted of 13 other charges | Evening Standard

Bradley Welsh trial: Gangland hitman found guilty of murdering T2 Trainspotting star – Edinburgh Live

Edinburgh – Wikipedia

Bradley Welsh funeral – Cryptic poem penned by slain Trainspotting star read to his mourners

Bradley Welsh ‘ordered man to remove mobile phone chip’ hours after machete attack, court hears | Edinburgh News

Bradley Welsh: The self-proclaimed ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ known for his boxing talents, football hooligan days and inspiring community work | Edinburgh News

Russell Findlay MSP tells of chilling threat from Bradley Welsh while investigating organised crime as journalist

Firearms discharge residue found on alleged gunman’s trackies ‘similar’ to substance found on Bradley Welsh | Edinburgh News

Bradley Welsh murder: Trainspotting 2 star ‘caught in crossfire’ of brutal gangland turf war

Interview: Bradley Welsh – his mother’s son | Edinburgh News

Trainspotting 2 star Bradley Welsh was ‘reformed character’ but it was sinister past that cost him his life

Bradley Welsh funeral – Daughter, 8, of slain Trainspotting star pays tribute to ‘hero daddy’ in emotional letter

Hitman convicted of murdering T2 Trainspotting actor Bradley Welsh – BBC News

‘I’ve done some horrible, horrible things’: Bradley Welsh tells of regret | Daily Mail Online

Notorious Edinburgh gangster hit with ‘super-Asbo’ crackdown – Edinburgh Live

Dawn:

Bradley, boxing gym owner and charity organiser, returned home from his gym. He had a brief chat with a neighbour before walking towards his flat. Just then a man appeared from nowhere, and before Bradley could do anything he shot him in the head. But who would want to harm Bradley? Could the reason be rooted in his past?

Dawn and Cole:

Hi Wee Ones, I’m Dawn and I’m Cole, and this is Scottish Murders.

[THEME TUNE]

TRUE CRIME FILES PODCAST PROMOTION

Dawn:

Mark and Simon sat on a wall just minding their own business, when a black car with heavily tinted windows slowed in front of them, and they were told to get in. Once inside they came face to face with a man who asked them “Do you know who I am?” Simon certainly did and nodded his head rigorously. This was Mr Doyle, sauna owner and gangland kingpin. Then Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting 2, shouted cut. Ewan McGregor and Johnny Lee Miller climbed out of the car, along with the man who had been playing the part of Mr Doyle, Bradley Welsh, whose background in real life had certain similarities to the gangster character he was playing.

Cole:

Oh I’ve seen both of the Trainspotting films.

Dawn:

Yeah, me too. I wondered if you would have recognised it.

Cole:

Well, seeing as I wrote my dissertation on it then I think I should have recognised it.

Dawn:

Did you?

Cole:

I did.

Dawn:

Oh I’m impressed. Oh so you must know all about Mr Doyle then?

Cole:

I know of him. (laughing)

Dawn:

Bradley John Welsh was born on the 4th of November 1970. He grew up in a council estate in Moredun with his mum Patricia and elder brother Sean, living on the eighth floor of a tower block. Moredun is about a 20-minute Drive south east of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and is located on the southern shore of the Fifth of Forth. According to Wikipedia, Edinburgh’s historical and cultural attractions has made it the UK’s second most visited tourist destination. His mum had thrown his dad out when Bradley was still a young boy. Moredun was a bad area back in Bradley’s day, rife with drugs and fighting, an area where you had to be able to look after yourself or you were in trouble . From a young age, Bradley’s mum noticed that he had a lot of energy, and according to Bradley himself he was a bit of a wayward child. So to try and keep him out of trouble his mum suggested he started boxing, which he did when he was about seven years old. He loved this sport and found that he excelled at it, winning title after title from a young age, having had 200 fights in the ring by the age of 12 winning most of them, and by 15 he was a champion boxer. However, Bradley wasn’t able to just contain his fighting to the ring, he had another passion, fighting on the streets at football matches. So much so that by the time he was 14 years old he had already been arrested numerous times for hooliganism at football matches.

Cole:

He was a football hooligan.

Dawn:

His football hooliganism days started when Bradley was taken to a football match when he was 12 years old and saw that the streets of Edinburgh were taken over by other football team supporters, so much so that his friends and family who supported Hibernian Football Club or Hibs, and had been at the matches were so scared of being attacked by supporters from other football teams that they hid their football scarves. Bradley couldn’t understand that, this was his City, he was a fearless wee boxer and he wasn’t having this, he wasn’t hiding anything. In 1982 football hooliganism was a massive thing in Scotland, supporters would just come to each game and absolutely take over the streets, and fighting and violence would ensue. It was horrendous. Bradley’s older brother was part of football hooliganisms major firm calling themselves the Capital City Service, also known as Hibs casuals, and they would defend their City from the invading football supporters. However. it didn’t stop there, the Capital City Service would also travel around the United Kingdom to football matches where there would inevitably be violent clashes with other such firms that had been set up. When Bradley was 14, and not yet having been initiated into the Capital City Service but not being one to sit on the side lines, decided in about 1985 to form his own group called The Blackley’s Baby Crew with his friends. Eventually there were a couple of hundred lads in this crew. You had to be a member to get into this elite crew though, and Bradley and many other guys in the crew made sure everything was organised and everybody was working together to ensure that when a football match was due to be played in Edinburgh, Blackley’s Baby Crew would be on the streets dealing with the descending football supporters who stepped out of line and wanted a wee fight. Bradley even got on the front page of a newspaper once standing right in the middle of a fight between Scotland and England football hooligans holding a big stick, which was unlucky for Bradley as that night he had gotten grounded by his mum and stepdad but Bradley has snuck out of the house in order to attend the match and subsequent fighting. He thought he’d gotten away with it and had snuck back into his house with no bother, however, the following morning the picture appeared on the front cover. This was the first time his mum had known about his football hooliganism and she was not amused. The Blackley’s Baby Crew eventually disbanded when most of the crew were initiated into the Capital City Service. Bradley and his crew were making a name for themselves by this time and just the mention of his name was starting to instil fear in people, and Bradley began thinking it might be time to step things up. So, as well as the football hooliganism, Bradley and his crew of friends started to steal clothes in bulk and sell them on, making them a tidy wee sum. Having a wee bit money in his back pocket for the first time coming from the background Bradley did, was probably what got him thinking just how he could make a whole lot more. So, with Bradley’s reputation as a fighter not to be messed with, his hooliganism reputation and his head for constantly thinking bigger and bigger and more and more, in early 1988 at the age of 17, he came up with a plan that would combine his love for fighting, violence and money. Security. But not just any security. In the late 80s and early 90s the club scene started to happen, ecstasy started to become a big thing, and more and more people than before started attending clubs to enjoy themselves, which obviously necessitated the need for more security on the doors to prevent trouble, especially when the Hibs casuals were notorious for causing trouble. Bradley jumped on this idea. With his obvious involvement with the Hibs casuals and his fighter background, he was the perfect choice of security to ensure there would be no trouble in the clubs. Bradley started working for a security company called Westlands, who at the time provided a lot of doorman at Edinburgh clubs and pubs, but on hiring Bradley they wanted him to get them even more. Bradley found that again he was very successful in this area, soon stamping out any competition in this area, and almost overnight he managed to secure Westlands Security, and himself, the doors of hundreds of the pubs and clubs in Edinburgh, where they would provide their own doormen to keep out any troublemakers, obviously at a price. This was a great wee earner for Bradley, and at the age of 18 years old he not only saw himself as invincible but as a gangster kingpin. Again, Bradley, never one for standing still, just had too much energy, he didn’t just stop at security, he also started to set up his own nights at the clubs where he could rake it in. However, this was bad news for any competing nightclubs, Bradley wasn’t having any competition. And, so, any club that decided to go up against his planned club nights quickly found themselves in trouble. Bradley’s objective being to ensure that any competition was quickly shut down. And this is where things started to go wrong for Bradley. Even though Bradley had a reputation for fighting and violence, he much preferred for people to see things his way by threats of violence rather than actual violence, however, that was to change, which would be his downfall. Bradley started carrying guns. No longer did competing clubs just fear the threat of violence, there actually now was violence. Unfortunately, this new tactic caught the attention of the police, who started to take a closer look at Bradley’s growing empire, including bugging his phone and his house. After six months of surveillance the police believed they had enough evidence against Bradley and he was arrested on three main charges, including extortion and demanding money at gunpoint.

Cole:

He must have been quite young still.

Dawn:

Yeah, he was only 18.

Cole:

Wow.

Dawn:

I know, he’s done a lot.

Cole:

He has done a lot.

Dawn:

That’s what I mean, he saw himself as this big kingpin. At the trial though, he was cleared of these charges and he thought he was free and clear, would be heading home, but nope. He was sentenced to four years for possessing ammunition and menacing an estate agent.

Cole:

Menacing an estate agent? (laughs) You know, you shouldn’t go to jail for that because they menace us enough when they want to.

Dawn:

[Laughter] As soon as Bradley was in prison, he realised that he didn’t want to go back and that he needed to change his lifestyle. This lifestyle change actually began in prison. After the initial shock and despair of being sentenced to four years in prison, with his control taken away, he managed to pick himself back up and turned to his passion. Boxing. Despite Bradley’s foray into hooliganism, security, firearms and extortion, he had still kept up his boxing. At the time of his arrest and incarceration, he was the Scottish Eastern District boxing champion and was due to represent Britain in the 1992 Olympic Games taking place in Barcelona. This was one fight he wouldn’t be taking part in. However, with the support of the prison service, Bradley was allowed to train again in the prison’s gym. And train he did. He also was allowed out on day release to compete in boxing championships, the first being the Scottish Western District Championships, which he won. But this wouldn’t be the last championship he competed in and won whilst in prison. This is what got Bradley through his time in prison and out the other side, better and stronger than ever, and he showed no signs of slowing down or stopping on his release. Feeling at the top of his game in amateur boxing Bradley decided it was time to become a professional boxer, and so he went to America to follow his dream. However, it turned out that his dream wasn’t quite what he thought. While Bradley did become a professional boxer in America having ten fights, winning nine of them, he soon turned his back on professional boxing, as he found it not too dissimilar to the world he was trying to leave behind. He found that it was all about getting as much money out of the professional as you could, about greed. So Bradley made his way back to Edinburgh. On his return to Edinburgh, Bradley found himself in a situation he hadn’t found himself in before, he didn’t have a plan, he was a wee bit lost. The one thing that Bradley never deviated from though was his love for his family. He was a big family man, absolutely adoring his mum, brother and two wee nephews, and so when his mum became ill Bradley became her main carer, throwing himself into this new role. He withdrew into himself, spending his time reading, learning and staying at home with his family. He enjoyed this time to reflect on his life. As always though, Bradley continued with his boxing, the other love of his life. Bradley’s mum’s health started to improve and she didn’t need a carer as much, so, once again, Bradley was lost. What was next for him? And then an idea came to him. What had been the one constant thing in his life? The one thing that had helped channel his energy? The one thing that had got him through tough times? Amateur boxing. He decided he wanted to share his love and obvious skills of boxing with others. And so around 2005, when Bradley would have been about 35 years old, he opened his own boxing gym from the proceeds of a short-lived professional boxing career. He specifically opened his gym in a rougher more deprived area of Edinburgh as he wanted to help underprivileged kids, channel their energy and give them some sort of direction. Bradley did make it clear though that this would only be amateur boxing, he would not be venturing into the professional boxing world again. The gym became a huge success, helping support many a wayward youngster stay off the streets. Bradley was in his element. He was really passionate about helping people that didn’t have a lot as this was his roots, where he had come from. Over the years Bradley threw himself into his new role, which saw him working with the various volunteer-based organisations to help underprivileged kids all across Edinburgh, such as the Helping Hands bike initiative which donated 150 bikes to city schools across Edinburgh. Bradley also carried out a food bank appeal which raised 22 tons of food, and he also began to offer free boxing lessons at his gym to underprivileged kids. He went on to work on a collaboration with Edinburgh Helping Hands charity which fights inequality in the city, Social Bite which is a movement to end homelessness, and author and friend Irvine Welsh, where they challenged social and economic inequality in Edinburgh. It looked like Bradley really had turned his life around and was determined to give back to his beloved Edinburgh, and to try and deter other children going down the same route he had. However, he couldn’t escape his past life completely. People were fascinated by him and his exploits and wanted to know more. In 2008 he appeared on a Bravo television show called Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men. I’ve watched this program and found it enjoyable.

Cole:

I don’t think that’s the right word. Enjoyable. Hilarious maybe. Danny Dyer’s hilarious. He’s, he’s… Every time he talks it’s funny. 

Dawn:

(laughter) But, no, it was it was informative, and it did give an insight into Bradley’s life. He came across as having a huge amount of energy and drive, as well as a massive personality. He also said that he felt he was a born leader, which he had certainly demonstrated from a very young age. He did say in an interview in 2006 that he felt that his past exploits as a kid and teenager had been stupid, but that he wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed by it, and felt that it’s life’s experiences that make you who you are.

Cole:

Very true Bradley.

Dawn:

Mhh hmm. Over the next couple of years, Bradley’s life consisted of his charity work, his boxing gym, but also extended to include the birth of a baby girl called Eva Tiger in 2011, with his then girlfriend Emma.

Cole:

Okay, interesting name.

Dawn:

As previously stated, Bradley loved his family, so would have been over the moon to be a father. Life was good for Bradley. Sadly though this happiness was soon to be shattered. In 2012 his beloved mother died. Bradley would have been just distraught, he was a self-confessed mummy’s boy and his mum was now gone. However, by now we begin to understand that Bradley doesn’t stay down for long, and so two years later in 2014 he was back in the ring again with yet another challenge he had set himself, but this time in honour of his mother. He wanted to get himself into the Guinness Book of World Records by spending 24 hours in the ring sparring with 360 people, which he succeeded in and raised over £42,500 or about $58,600 for charity in the process. Rather him than me. It sounded brutal. He did say that the challenge had almost killed him, but that he’d been determined to make the world record in his mum’s name. Now, at this record-breaking attempt, and who also sparred with Bradley, was his friend Irvine Welsh, who was the author of The Trainspotting books, but also Danny Boyle, who just so happened to be the director working on the Trainspotting 2 film. Danny was impressed by Bradley and asked him if he would audition for a specific part he had in mind in the film, which Bradley agreed to. It just so happened that this part was for a gangland kingpin who intimidated the main characters Simon and Mark. Perfect part for Bradley, right?

Cole:

Renton and Sick Boy.

Dawn:

Yes, well, that’s… Simon and Mark’s their grown-up names. They were Renton and Sick Boy in the first one. (laughter) Anyway, so Bradley messed it up by being too aggressive and he didn’t get the part. However, he knew this part was perfect for him so he asked Danny Boyle for another chance, and this time he nailed it. Trainspotting 2 was released in 2017 and I loved it.

Cole:

Oh did you.

Dawn:

I did. Bradley is really good as the part of Mr Doyle. However, this would be Bradley’s last foray into acting. He had a feeling that he might be typecast. Bradley was pretty content with his life, he was now engaged to Emma, his boxing gym was thriving, and he excelled in charity work. Bradley had come a long way from that violent 12 year old boy. So it looked like Bradley had well and truly left his past behind. And he had for the main part. All he wanted to do was help the youngsters and underprivileged in his community. However, Bradley was a friendly guy and he’d made good friends along the way, including various people from Edinburgh’s underbelly who he continued to be in touch with, despite not being part of the lifestyle anymore. One such friend was Mark Richardson who he was very close to. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of Mark Richardson but he was heavily involved in major crime networks, which included drugs, firearms and violence, and he was a cocaine kingpin.

Cole:

Sounds like a dangerous guy.

Dawn:

Yeah, he’s currently in prison and he’s causing no end of problems in there too. So Bradley was friends with him but he was no longer involved in that lifestyle. It was reported in the Daily Record newspaper on the 8th of May 2021 Bradley might give advice or clear something up to try to make peace, but he wasn’t part of that world. In the end he wasn’t able to shake off these people he’d known for many years. And sadly it looks like what happened next was due to his friendship with Richardson, as well as his inability to turn his back on his longtime friends. Wednesday the 17th of April 2019 was just another ordinary day for Bradley. After saying bye to his fiancée Emma and his eight-year-old daughter Ava in the morning, he would have left his flat at Chester Street, about 1.6 miles or 2.5 kilometres west of Edinburgh City Centre, and gone to his Holyrood boxing gym, about an 18-minute drive east of his flat, where he would have spent the day taking boxing lessons with adults and kids alike. Once his work was done for the day, Bradley would have got into the ring and sparred with another trainer just to keep his hand in, before about 7:30pm driving the 18 minutes back to his flat, where his fiancée and daughter were waiting for him. Upon parking his car outside his flat about 8pm, Bradley got out and happened to see his upstairs neighbour, Edward Rennie, across the street having a cigarette and so he walked over to have a brief chat with him. After a few minutes Bradley said bye and walked across the street towards the stairs leading down to his basement flat. Just as he was about to take the first step down, a man wearing a baseball cup appeared out of nowhere and shot him a point-blank range in the head, before Bradley could even register what was happening. Bradley then tumbled down a few of the stairs to his flat and lay there, unmoving. His neighbour, Edward, hadn’t seen the man approaching Bradley either, but he sure heard the bang. He turned around immediately and saw a man pointing a shotgun at Bradley, just as the man saw Edward. The shooter turned the gun on Edward and told him not to look at him. Edward dived behind a parked car in response, and peered through the glass in time to see the shooter run away. Edward then made his way to Bradley’s lifeless body and realised immediately that he had been shot. He called the emergency services and stayed with Bradley until they arrived. Another of Bradley’s neighbours, Lucy, had been walking to her flat after finishing work for the day and had seen a man with his back to her on the street outside Bradley’s flat. She didn’t think anything off this until he turned round and she spotted the gun in his hand. She said she panicked and turned and started running in the opposite direction. The ambulance crew arrived and did their best to keep Bradley alive, however, sadly Bradley died in the street outside of his flat, due to suffering life-threatening wounds to his head. By this time Bradley’s fiancée Emma and his daughter Eva would have been made aware of the situation and would have been absolutely distraught. They apparently hadn’t heard the shot or the commotion outside their flat, but word of what had happened had quickly gotten around Bradley’s family and they raced to the scene, but it would be to no avail. The police now were also present and, upon Bradley being pronounced dead at the scene, they began to cordon the area off and begin a murder investigation. The police then gave a statement saying that they believed this was a targeted attack and that nobody else in the community was at threat, but they would be providing a presence in the area to help reassure the public, and also to gather as much information as they could to help with their inquiries. The police also appealed for any information on who could have carried out this horrendous attack and left a family grieving for the loss of their son, brother, partner and father, asking them to search their conscience and do the right thing. Dozens of forensic officers carried out a massive search of Chester Street and the neighbouring streets in the hope that the killer may have dropped something, such as a cigarette or chewing gum. They also carried out a fingerprint examination of the railings that surrounded the properties in the street, as well as carrying out a forensic examination of Bradley’s flat to see if that gave them a clue as to why he had been targeted. While the forensic teams were busy, the police had started the arduous task of searching CCTV cameras in the area, as well as from residential and business properties in the area, and also requesting dash cam footage from motorists to try and capture the murderer and his getaway route. As this would take time to collate and go through, the police began interviewing witnesses, starting with Edward and Lucy. Edward told the police that he thought the man was mid-20s to early 30s and that he was wearing a puffer jacket, and also that it looked like he had a fake tan. Lucy said that she hadn’t seen the man’s face as she was focusing on the gun, but that he wore a baseball cap. Not much to go on to help catch the shooter, but it wouldn’t be long before the police had all the evidence they needed. Once all of the CCTV footage available had been gone through a picture started to emerge, and it pointed straight to one man. The police had found footage of the killer wearing a baseball cap, a puffa jacket, dark jogging trousers and distinctive Nike Air Max 95 trainers, walking towards Bradley’s flat just before 8pm on the 17th of April. And then footage of him running away from the scene at 8:06pm carrying what looked like a shotgun. He was then seen driving off in a hurry in a stolen dark grey Ford Kuga. The footage was shown to the witnesses and they confirmed that this man was the shooter. Now the police just had to identify who this man was, which was going to prove easier than police had initially thought. The shooter had stolen the Ford Kuga about a week before the murder, but he’d made a mistake. The car he had stolen had a built-in tracker. The police requested the tracker information and they used CCTV footage from across the city to track the movements of the car and the shooter on the run-up to the murder, which helped build a very interesting picture. The Ford Kuga was found abandoned three days after the murder, which again via CCTV footage brought the police directly to the shooter. So from the tracker information and CCTV footage, chillingly, it showed that eight days before the shooting the Ford Kuga was seen driving slowly past Bradley’s gym, stopping outside for six minutes, before driving off again. It also showed that the car had been past Bradley’s flat four times in the days before the shooting, and also there was CCTV footage of the shooter walking up and down the streets near Bradley’s flat an hour before the shooting. Presumably the shooter was trying to work out Bradley’s schedule and figure out the best day and time to attack. The police then tracked the car’s movements from leaving the scene of the crime to where it was dumped, using CCTV cameras from along the route, and this is where the shooter was nailed. Obviously, unaware of the car’s tracking device, after shooting Bradley, the killer then drove the stolen car to a small village, which is where the car was found abandoned, about ten miles or 16 kilometres south west of Bradley’s flat, arriving there about 8:43pm. Shortly after that, a man wearing slightly different clothes, but still the distinctive white Nike Air Max 95 trainers, was caught on CCTV outside of a pub. He then called his friend who came and picked him up and took him back to Edinburgh. With the police being satisfied that the shooter had been identified, 28 year old Sean Orman was arrested on the 22nd of April 2019, five days after Bradley’s murder and was subsequently charged. Ormond denied this of course and insisted that he’d been cycling at the time of Bradley’s murder. The police would have liked to have organised an identity parade so the witnesses could confirm that they had their man, however, on this occasion it wouldn’t be able to be held, as Sean Orman had tried so hard to hide his appearance that in the weeks running up to the shooting he had visited nine different tanning salons in the hope no one would recognise him. He was deemed too tanned. Despite the lack of an identity parade the police had more than enough evidence, due to the tracker in the car and all the CCTV footage, private cameras and dash cams that had been sought and provided by Edinburgh citizens who wanted to help get this man off the streets. As word of Bradley’s murder got out, more and more tributes came, including from Danny Dyer who had met Bradley while filming Britain’s Deadliest Men who said “So sad to hear the news about Bradley. A good soul with a massive heart. A massive loss. Rest in peace my old son.”, and also from Bradley’s long-time friend Irvine Welsh who said “My heart is broken. Goodbye my amazing and beautiful friend. Thanks for making me a better person and helping me to see the world in a kinder and wiser way.” Also flowers, Hibs scarves and boxing gloves, were left by well wishers outside Bradley’s home, as well as outside his gym. A spokesperson for Boxing Scotland said “The Boxing Scotland family is extremely shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic passing of Bradley. He was one of a kind and will be sadly missed.” One local man who knew Bradley and his family said in a newspaper that he was also heartbroken and that Bradley did a lot for Edinburgh and for the community. Another said that he was a huge character.

Cole:

Oh that was really nice of them.

Dawn:

Yeah it was, wasn’t it.

Cole:

Yeah. You don’t expect famous people to come out and wish condolences, especially to someone like Bradley who, you know, was on Deadliest Men.

Dawn:

Yeah, he was. I mean, I know he was friends with Irvine Welsh anyway, but um I don’t think he’d kept in touch with Danny Dyer, so that was nice.

Cole:

Yeah. Obviously well thought of by many.

Dawn:

Yeah, he certainly seemed to be. Bradley’s funeral took place on the 7th of June 2019 at Edinburgh’s Mortonhall Crematorium. Bradley’s coffin was green in honour of the Hibs football team he loved so much. Around a thousand of his loved ones and close friends gathered to pay their last respects, with Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers being played, which also is the adopted anthem for the Hibs Football Team. Bradley’s ten-year-old daughter Eva also spoke at the funeral saying “My daddy made me feel brave when I was with him. He only wanted the best for me. I know he’s looking out for us like he always did. I will miss him more than words can say.”

Cole:

Wow, that’s so sweet. You wouldn’t expect that from a ten year old but that’s really eloquent.

Dawn:

Yeah, it must have been really hard for her to get up there in front of everybody as well and say that. It’s dead brave.

Cole:

Yeah, that would have been so scary.

Dawn:

Also, Bradley’s brother, Sean, had found a poem written by Bradley himself titled ”For my funeral should I die young’. It read “No matter what, right or wrong, I’m free, hee hee hee. Ye see? Now try to be me.”

Cole:

Okay, is it not a bit weird to have a poem written out just in case you die?

Dawn:

I thought it was cool. I liked the hee hee hee bit. (laughs)

Cole:

I do like that he’s showing his personality. I like when you know someone who’s passed away tries to make light of the situation, cause they know how horrible it must be for everyone.

Dawn:

Yeah, that must have um given the family maybe a smile just reading that.

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

It wouldn’t be until the 21st of April 2021, just over two years since Bradley had been murdered, at the High Court in Edinburgh that the trial of Sean Orman started, where he pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges, which included murder, attempted murder, firearms and drug offenses, assault, driving at speed and drug and driving offenses.

Cole:

Wow, they were really just throwing everything at him at this point weren’t they? But why is he only being charged with attempted murder and not just murder, because Bradley was murdered?

Dawn:

Well, the attempted murder charge was in relation to David McMillan.

Cole:

Oh okay. Who’s David McMillan?

Dawn:

Well let me tell you. Do you remember how I mentioned Mark Richardson briefly, saying how he was involved in crime and drugs and that he was friends with Bradley?

Cole:

Yes, I do remember that.

Dawn:

Okay. Well, David McMillan, who was 50, was friends with Mark and Bradley too. And what was revealed through the trial was that it appeared that the whole situation stemmed from Mark Richardson and his criminal fraternity.

Cole:

Oh. What do you mean?

Dawn:

So, it looks like it all started back around 2011 when Mark Richardson and a man called George ‘Dode’ Baigrie were in prison together. Baigrie had been sentenced to 12 years over a samurai sword attack, and Richardson for ten years for dealing in cocaine, heroin, guns, and his role in a £200million or $276million crime super gang.

Cole:

Ooh a super gang. I’d like to be part of a super gang.

Dawn:

Both men were involved in the Edinburgh criminal underbelly, their personalities clashed and they were also affiliated with rival gangs, Baigrie with the Lyons gang and Richardson with the Daniels gang. So, being locked up in close quarters was never going to be a winning combination.

Cole:

I know that feeling, I’ve had to live with you before unfortunately.

Dawn:

Yeah, that wasn’t a winning combination.

Cole:

It was not.

Dawn:

The pair had continuous run-ins, but Baigrie was known as “the top man” in jail and was always on Richardson’s case. However, Richardson also viewed himself as top dog, which Baigrie did not appreciate. In 2012 Richardson had his face slashed and it was rumoured that Baigrie had backed this attack. Anyway, Baigrie was released in 2018 and came to live in Edinburgh, but apparently he put the word out that anyone involved with Richardson would find themselves on the wrong side of Baigrie, and therefore on his hit list. And obviously as Bradley and David McMillan were friends with Richardson and weren’t going to turn their backs on him, then this could be an issue. And it wouldn’t be long before Baigrie was flexing his muscles. On the 13th of March 2019 three masked men broke into the Edinburgh home of David McMillan and seriously assaulted him and his son, also called David, in front of his wife and other children, leaving David senior with a fractured skull. Days after this attack, Sean Orman and a man called Peem were at an acquaintance’s house, Dean White, where Dean’s brother, Robert, was also present. Orman and Peem talked about the attack they had carried out on David McMillan and his son, and that they’d been paid by Baigrie to do it. Orman then went on to say that he was going to be paid £10,000 or $13,800 to murder Bradley Welsh. Robert White also said that Orman had a shotgun, and while he was showing off it accidentally fired into the floor of the property. He said in court, via a video link, that he was extremely nervous about what had happened at his brother’s house. He told the court how he had got in touch with the police straight away to tell them about the conversation and the threat to Bradley’s life, and also about the shotgun bullet being embedded in the floor. However, when under cross-examination, it emerged that he hadn’t actually told the police about the shotgun incident at all, saying that he was in fear for his life. He said he’d been unable to return to Edinburgh or see his family due to agreeing to be a witness at the trial. Robert’s brother, Dean, didn’t give evidence in court, he too was in fear for his life, as 13 days after Bradley’s murder he was attacked in his own home by two men with an axe. David McMillan Jr did give evidence in court though, but it did nothing to back up Robert’s statement. He said that when the men first came into his home they weren’t wearing masks, but that they later put balaclavas on.

Cole:

Oh right, but didn’t you say they were masked men?

Dawn:

Well yes, that’s what David initially said, but when he got to court he then said that they weren’t wearing masks to begin with but then put the balaclavas on.

Cole:

That doesn’t make much sense. David Jr is a liar.

Dawn:

God everybody’s a bloody liar as far as you’re concerned aren’t they?

Cole:

They are liars though aren’t they, so I’m not wrong.

Dawn:

No, it doesn’t make much sense. When he was asked if Orman was one of the men that broke into his home and attacked him he said a hundred percent not. The prosecutor put it to him that he had come to court to tell a false story about men coming in with their faces showing and then covering them up later. All so that he could say that the man in the dock was not the man that attacked him.

Cole:

So he was a liar?

Dawn:

That’s what the prosecutor was saying, yes. But of course he denied this.

Cole:

Do you think he was just lying because he was scared or why do you think he would have made up that story?

Dawn:

Yeah, I think he probably was scared. I mean, he had been attacked already so he wasn’t really going to want to point the finger at Orman.

Cole:

All right. Okay. So you said that the police had been told that Bradley’s life was in danger, did they do anything?

Dawn:

Well it appears that they did issue Bradley with a threat to life notice called an Osman. This is a notice that the police issue to individuals if they are aware of a real or immediate threat to their life.

Cole:

Oh right, I didn’t know that. So, if you ever get an Osman in the post you’re into some serious trouble.

Dawn:

Well you’re in serious trouble because there’s a threat to your life.

Cole:

Well was anything done about that or what was the outcome? Bradley apparently refused any help or advice from the police.

Cole:

Oh right, okay. So, he just accepted that it might be his time to go? Do we know why he was just so accepting of that?

Dawn:

It’s not known for sure, but it is speculated that Bradley didn’t take the threat seriously, thought he could handle it.

Cole:

Oh, I mean, I do understand that, especially with his background.

Dawn:

Yeah, definitely. However, an investigation by the police watchdog, PIRC, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, was launched to look into the actions of the police prior to Bradley’s murder and the handling of the threat to his life. The investigation was completed and a report has been submitted to the Crown for consideration. It was reported in the Daily Record newspaper on the 27th of April 2019 that a further five gangland figures had been handed an Osman notice following Bradley’s murder.

Cole:

Oh, so it was all kicking off.

Dawn:

It did say in a report in the Daily Record newspaper on the 8th of May 2021 that Bradley had reportedly been stressed and worried after David had been attacked at home by Orman.

Cole:

Oh so David did know who had attacked him then?

Dawn:

Well it implies that, yes. Apparently Bradley called Peem the day after the attack on David to try and make sure there wasn’t further trouble. He was worried that due to his friendship with David and Richardson that he could also be on the list.

Cole:

So Bradley was murdered just because he was friends with David and Richardson, is that right?

Dawn:

Well, it does seem that way doesn’t it? But there are other theories too. There have been a couple of underworld sources come out with a couple of different theories. One reported in the Daily Record on the 19th of April 2019 that it was because Bradley had been hired as security to protect three kilograms of heroin and two kilograms of cocaine, worth around £130,000 or $180,000, and this had disappeared and Bradley had to answer for it as it was his responsibility.

Cole:

I thought he’d got out of all of that and was more into charity work and his boxing gym?

Dawn:

Well, yeah, that was my thinking too, and from what I’ve read it was the case. Bradley also did an interview in the Edinburgh Evening News published on the 13th of April 2019, four days before he was murdered, where he said “The things I did, they were wrong, but I understand why I did them, because I had [ f__k ] all. Of course I regret them, I have a daughter and a wee boy who is like a son to me, I want a better society.”

Cole:

Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a guy that’s still heavily involved in the criminal underworld.

Dawn:

It doesn’t, but I guess we’ll never know for sure. But I’m swaying towards what another source has said who had known Bradley for decades and spoke to Bradley about three weeks before his murder. He said in the Sun newspaper on the 14th of May 2021 that he felt he had to break his silence as he wanted to get the truth out. He said that apparently Bradley was murdered for calling Baigrie “a grass”.

Cole:

Oh okay.

Dawn:

So, the story goes like this. When Bradley’s friend Richardson was on remand…

Cole:

Okay, back to Richardson again.

Dawn:

Oh yeah, cause all roads lead to him. So, when he was on remand a wannabe gangster started publicly speaking about Richardson’s case, which was going to jeopardise it. Now, this next bit’s not clear but appears the same wannabe gangster could have actually helped Richardson out by going to court and testifying for him but he refused, which is apparently going against the code of criminals. It was Baigrie who called Bradley and told him that this wannabe criminal wouldn’t be helping Richardson out, and apparently Bradley told them that the pair of them were as good as grasses, telling them that he thought they were just scared of Richardson getting out of jail. This obviously went down like a lead balloon, with Baigrie instantly starting a kill list.

Cole:

Oh wow. I’ve got one of those.

Dawn:

Am I on it on a bad day?

Cole:

You’re always on it.

Dawn:

(laughing) Anyway, from all the programs I’ve watched of Bradley and what I’ve read about him, he wasn’t one for keeping his mouth shut. He just said what he thought. And it didn’t help that he was still involved, if only slightly, in the underworld. They are ruthless.

Cole:

I also say what I think so I can totally understand that. I just don’t come with you know criminal ties. He still didn’t deserve that though did he?

Dawn:

No, he absolutely didn’t deserve it. A source summed it pretty much up in an article in The Daily Record on the 8th of May 2021 when they said that Bradley was collateral damage, an easy target. Everything went back to the hatred between Baigrie and Richardson. Bradley got murdered for no other reason than because of his friendship with Richardson and trying to help him stay out of prison. Well that and calling Baigrie a grass. But, again, that just stemmed back to his friendship with Richardson and trying to help him out. The source went on to say that Bradley wasn’t involved in organised crime, he might try and make peace, but wasn’t part of that world. Anyway, so, back to the trial. Another witness at the trial was a forensic scientist. She confirmed that when the jogging trousers that Orman had been wearing at the time of the shooting, as well as on the day he was arrested, were tested, and firearms residue discharge that had been found on Bradley were compared with the firearms discharge residue that been found in the pockets of Orman’s jogging bottoms, she said the samples were “similar in composition to each other.”

Cole:

Not conclusive, but with all the other witness statements and evidence it’d be good enough for me to convict him.

Dawn:

Yeah. And, so, on Friday the 7th of May 2021, after a 12-day trial, the jury took four hours to find 30 year old Sean Orman guilty of the murder of Bradley Welsh, and the attempted murder of David McMillan. Before being sentenced Judge Lord Beckett said the shooting of Bradley had been a “premeditated and meticulously planned assassination.” He went on to say that “to shoot an unarmed man as he approached his own house was a cowardly and wicked thing to do. His fiancée and young child were inside and you ended his life apparently in the expectation of payment. The court must do all it can to deter contract killings by imposing severe punishment.” Lord Beckett went on to say that Bradley’s fiancée Emma and ten-year-old daughter Eva had suffered following Bradley’s brutal murder. They had lost their home and no longer feel safe. Orman was given a life sentence, and ordered to serve 28 years for Bradley’s murder before he would be eligible for parole, and 10 years for the attempted murder of David. It was reported on the 21st of May 2021 in the Edinburgh Live newspaper that Orman would be appealing his life sentence.

Cole:

What a surprise.

Dawn:

Yeah. He still claims that he was riding his bike alone at the time of Bradley’s murder.

Cole:

Of course he was.

Dawn:

Despite George Baigrie being named during the trial as being the man behind Bradley’s murder, no charges have been brought. However, it was reported in the Sun newspaper that Baigrie, 38, is living in fear and knows he is a marked man. He hasn’t been seen for weeks and has instructed his family not to post any pictures of him on social media. He’s also apparently really paranoid now. So, anyway, the general consensus seemed to be that Bradley was a good guy, a guy with a heart and he loved nothing more than his family, his boxing and his charity work. Yes, he was still friends with gang members from his past, but he wasn’t one to turn his back on anyone. And, so, despite building a new life, his past life still caught up with him. Can you really ever escape the gangster lifestyle once you’ve been part of it? Regardless of which story you’re leaning towards or Bradley’s level of involvement in Edinburgh’s underbelly, he did not deserve to die on the street outside his flat from a shotgun wound to his head. He was 48 years old.

And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them, don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So that’s it for this week, come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there. Bye.

Granny Robertson:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter


The Scottish Witch Trials

The Scottish Witch Trials

Episode Summary

TRIGGER WARNING – Contains adult themes and some strong language

Witches may seem to be just part of Hallowe’en but there’s more to witches than you might expect from somewhere like bonnie Scotland.

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn.

Guest: Kathryn Herron

Researched and Written by Peter Bull and Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter


The Lynda Spence Murder

The Lynda Spence Murder

Episode Summary

27 year old Lynda Spence liked to live the high life; fast cars, expensive champagne, but in April 2011 her high life came to an abrupt and brutal end. 

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

Lynda Spence trial: Family heartache over ‘terrible ordeal’ – BBC News

Welcome To Naz-tra-demus Magazine: Lynda Spence: Two Jailed For Torture Murder

‘Unimaginable’ suffering and death of Lynda Spence – BBC News

Lynda Spence trial: Coats and Wade guilty of torture case murder – BBC News

Lynda Spence: Missing businesswoman ‘had kneecaps broken with seven iron during torture session’ – Mirror Online

Lynda Spence guard in tears at murder trial | Glasgow Times

Men get life for ‘monstrous’ murder – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Pair lose Lynda Spence murder appeals | Glasgow Times

Lynda Spence: Former accused breaks down in court | The Scotsman

Lynda Spence’s ‘monstrous’ killers jailed for 63 years | UK | News | Express.co.uk

Cross-dressing killer found with homemade shank down his trousers in prison – Daily Star

Lynda Spence: Two men jailed for life for murder and torture of missing businesswoman whose body has never been found

Lynda Spence trial: Murder accused pair DNA found | Edinburgh News

Murder is Everywhere: The Tragic Tale Of Lynda Spence

Calls for review into Lynda Spence’s role as police mole before her murder | HeraldScotland

Lynda Spence’s killers jailed for 33 and 30 years | HeraldScotland

Lynda Spence trial: Missing woman’s blood ‘in flat’ – BBC News

Lynda Spence murder accused ‘confessed’, court told | The Scotsman

Lynda Spence murder: Mum of murdered torture victim claims ‘psychic told me dangerous nutcases had mutilated my daughter’s body’ – Mirror Online

Lynda Spence murder trial hears of victim’s crime gang links – The Sun

Evil killer Phillip Wade who tortured and murdered Glasgow accountant Lynda Spence urged to tell family where her body is

Glasgow torture killer kicked off uni course after being caught with blade in Shotts prison

Lynda Spence so tense before she vanished, mum tells court | Scotland | News | Express.co.uk

‘Tell parents where Lynda remains are’ | Glasgow Times

Lynda Spence trial: Murder accused ‘made threat’ to parents – BBC News

Lynda Spence murder trial: ‘Monstrous lies’ to suggest I killed missing financial adviser, says suspect Colin Coats – Daily Record

‘Warning to Lynda Spence parents’ – The Sun

Grieving mum of torture victim Lynda Spence remembers her daughter as ‘happy and positive girl’ – Daily Record

From IT expert to wannabe gangster: How Colin Coats became involved in Lynda Spence murder – Daily Record

Ulster Defence Association – Wikipedia

Jury to resume deliberations in Lynda Spence murder trial – Daily Record

Lynda Spence trial: Missing woman was ‘police mole’ – BBC News

Lynda Spence murder Victim had thumb chopped off – YouTube

Lynda Spence – The Free Library

Hunt for missing Glasgow woman Lynda Zejaf stepped up – BBC News

Lynda Spence detectives look for wheelie bin witnesses – BBC News

Murder is Everywhere: The Tragic Tale Of Lynda Spence

Lynda Spence trial: Ex-accused ‘did not see murder’ – BBC News

Cancer-stricken mother of Lynda Spence begs killers to reveal location of her body before she dies – Daily Record

Lynda Spence so tense before she vanished, mum tells court | Scotland | News | Express.co.uk

Birthday appeal for missing Lynda Spence – BBC News

Lynda Spence case: Ex-accused admits part in ‘plan’ – BBC News

APPEAL AGAINST CONVICTION AND SENTENCE BY PHILIP WADE AND COLIN COATS AGAINST HER MAJESTY’S ADVOCATE

Wikipedia-West Kilbride

Crime spy Lynda Spence was left to her fate by elite squad – The Sun

Cole:

Trigger Warning – This story is pretty gruesome and graphic, so listener discretion is advised.

Dawn:

27 year old Lynda Spence liked to live the high life; fast cars, expensive champagne, but in April 2011 her high life came to an abrupt and brutal end.

Dawn and Cole:

Hey Wee Ones, I’m Dawn, and I’m Cole, and this is Scottish Murders.

[THEME TUNE]

100 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM FILM PROMOTION

Dawn:

West Kilbride is a village in North Ayrshire located on the west coast of Scotland by the Firth of Clyde looking across the Firth of Clyde to Goatfell and the Isle of Arran. Being on the coast, there are some magnificent views. West Kilbride was also the first town in Scotland to organise an annual scarecrow festival to foster community spirit and civic pride within West Kilbride and its surrounding area. Flat 4 114 Meadowfoot Road is located about half a mile from the centre of West Kilbride. This property was an old house that had been split into flats, flat 4 being on the first floor with access to the attic space. It was in this attic space where Lynda Spence spent the last 13 days of her life. She had been abducted, taken to this flat and held against her will. Lynda’s last days consisted of being systematically tortured daily by her captors, her toes were crushed by garden shears, her kneecaps were smashed by a golf club, her hands were burnt with a steam iron, her thumb was chopped off, and the tip of her little finger was cut off. Lynda was tied to a chair, not being allowed to use the bathroom and so had to urinate and defecate where she sat. It’s then believed that she was suffocated, beheaded and burnt. What had gone so wrong in Lynda’s life that it had ended in such a horrendous way? Lynda Spence was born on the 8th of September 1983 to her doting parents James and Patricia Spence. Lynda was brought up in Penilee, Paisley, which is about 7.5 miles and approximately 12 kilometres west of Glasgow. She started her schooling at the nearby Ralston Primary School before heading to Paisley Grammar School when she was 12. Upon starting at Paisley Grammar School Lynda got herself not one but two jobs in local chip shops, where she worked until she was 14. However, Lynda was always thinking of others, and so she made it her passion to help other local children also find work at Christmas time so they too could have some pocket money. In an interview in the Daily Record, Lynda’s mother, Patricia, said that Lynda was a typical teenager and that she never had any bother with her at all. She was a kind, happy girl who was always smiling and positive, and never had a bad word to say about anybody. While Lynda was still at school and between working her two chip shop jobs, she also joined the RAF Air Cadets, which she absolutely loved. So much so that when she was 17 Lynda and her mum attended an RAF recruitment drive, where apparently the recruiter said that he would be happy to take Lynda, but that she maybe shouldn’t put all her eggs in one basket and to come back to see him if she was still interested when she turned 19. However, Lynda wasn’t one for standing still and letting the grass grow under her feet, so by the time she was 19 she had already left school and secured a job working in a call centre for a bank. Over the next five years, Lynda continued to work in call centres, before deciding to try her hand at providing financial services herself, this was despite Lynda’s only experience in finance coming from working in call centres. Lynda’s new finance business mainly involved obtaining mortgages for those with poor credit histories. Lynda’s business wasn’t successful and in December 2008, a year after starting her finance business, she had to declare herself bankrupt, having debts at that time of about £40,000, which is about $56,000.  However, a year later in December 2009, once the debts were written off, Lynda, who was now 26, decided to start a new business called Fraser Properties, using money her parents had given her that they had inherited from the sale of her late grandmother’s bungalow. Lynda rented premises on Great Western Road, which is about 10 miles or approximately 16 kilometres north west of Paisley, where she grew up. Lynda’s new mortgage and letting venture appeared to be extremely successful and Lynda had been able to buy two flats in a well-off part of Glasgow, she had a Mercedes convertible and she liked to buy expensive Cristal champagne. Lynda also enjoyed eating in expensive restaurant and attending bars, strip clubs and casinos. Lynda also chose to share her apparent success and wealth with her friends, and she enjoyed taking her friends out for meals and nights out, paying for everything. This kindness also extended to a school friend, Amanda Robertson, who she employed to work in her finance business. She was definitely living one hell of a high life and appeared to be enjoying every second of it. Despite Lynda’s business taking up much of her time, as well as her enjoying herself when she wasn’t working, she still found time each Saturday to take her mum out to dinner and for a drive in her car. She also took her mum shopping each week, and sometimes would even take her to the theatre. Lynda and her mum had a great relationship, they were apparently best friends as well as mother and daughter, laughing when together and enjoying each other’s company. They would talk on the phone every day and Lynda’s mum described her daughter as a loving, caring girl. From the outside Lynda was living the high life and had not a care in the world, however, this could not be further from the truth. Lynda had quickly realised that she was not going to be making the money or big deal she craved if she continued to just focus on obtaining mortgages for people, and so she began to stray into different avenues. One such avenue was her becoming involved in property development. This particular development was known as Lochburn Gate and was in Maryhill in Glasgow, which was about 2.4 miles or 3.8 kilometres away from Lynda’s offices on Great Western Road. Now, Lynda was described as being confident, charming and likable and, as such, people trusted her with their money. And so, when Lynda approached Glasgow’s Chinese community regarding this new property development she was involved in, many people wanted to be part of it and so happily handed over their hard-earned money to Lynda. It was reported that Lynda had 30 clients that wanted a home in this new development and had amassed about £175,000 in deposits from them, which would be about £240,000 and $330,000 in today’s money. Everyone was happy, the clients had a lovely new property they would be purchasing when completed, and Lynda had secured the kind of money that she had wanted. However, as time went on and the development she promised never came to fruition, the clients who had given her their deposit money were beginning to get a bit concerned. Their concern then turned to anger and dread when, after continually attending the financial company premises and demanding an update, and later their money,  neither were forthcoming. They then turned to Strathclyde Police, where they claimed that they had been defrauded. Strathclyde Police in turn started an investigation into Lynda. Lynda was never satisfied and was always on the lookout for her next big deal and how she could make fast cash, and her next big deal came to her in the form of 41 year old Colin Coates, who she had been introduced to by a mutual business friend, Tony Kelly. Colin was a former I.T specialist and made his fortune in London’s financial services industry. At one time it looked like he had it made,  a millionaire, wife, kids, but the money had gone to his head and had made him selfish. He started drinking through excess and developed a cocaine habit, as well as an explosive temper, leading him to losing nearly everything. He also had a history of violence against his ex-wife, for which he was fined, against his ex-wife’s sister and an elderly man who had stopped to intervene, for which he was given two years probation, also for beating up a Celtic fan, for which he was given a suspended sentence, and in October 2010 he was convicted and fined for assaulting a cabin crew member and threatening passengers on a flight from Glasgow the previous year. It’s not known if Lynda knew this information about Coates, but in early 2010 Lynda and Coates entered into a business deal, where Coates invested £85,000, which is about £111,000 and about $154,000 in today’s money, with Lynda, which was all the money he had.

Cole:

That was all the money he had? I thought you said he was a millionaire?

Dawn:

Yeah, but because of the drinking and drugs he’d pretty much lost everything. That’s all he had left?

Cole:

That’s a lot of money to spend on alcohol and drugs.

Dawn:

I can think of better things to spend that amount of money on.

Cole:

It depends on the day for me really. (laughter)

Dawn:

Lynda promised he would receive a return of about £131,000 or $182,000. However, things started to go wrong quickly when Coates realised that he wasn’t going to receive any of his money back, because there was no such deal and Lynda had already spent all of his money. Lynda however wasn’t going to let this little detail get in her way, and so she made up another lie this time telling Coates that he would in fact earn millions from a land and property deal that she had ongoing near Stanstead Airport, if he would just wait a little longer. And so he waited and waited, but no deal ever materialised. Lynda kept stringing Coates along though and eventually she told him that she was going to be paid in Danish government bonds from another deal, which was worth about £6.6 million, which is about £8.6 million and $11.8 million in today’s money,  and that he would get his cut from this. He agreed. However, again, there was no such deal. So, in desperation, Lynda persuaded a printer in Glasgow to produce fake Danish bonds and she gave Coates his cut.  However, Coates, not being a particularly stupid man, realised pretty quickly that the bonds were actually fake, and finally he had had enough of Lynda’s lies and started to plan his revenge. Lynda’s worries didn’t stop with Coates however. Never to let the grass grow under her feet and always on the lookout for more money opportunities, Lynda had also made a deal with property developer, John Glen, who had given her £180,000, about £236,000 and $325,000 in today’s money, as part of a non-existent deal, and he too was wanting his money back. Lynda however had already spent this money too. John became very abusive, going as far as sending her text messages threatening to cut her fingers off and chop her head off. At this point Lynda finally started to accept that things were getting out of control and her life was beginning to unravel, and she was getting scared.

Cole:

I get the feeling that Lynda’s not really learning from her mistakes and she just keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.

Dawn:

Yeah, I get that feeling as well. I just want her to stop and just pay some money back!

Cole:

And I feel like you never actually know who you’re getting into business with. And, I mean, I would be scared at this point.

Dawn:

Yeah, I would be scared as well. If somebody’s threatening to cut your fingers off. Yeah, a bit scary. So, while Lynda’s manipulating ways of getting people to part with their money and never paying them back was finally coming to a head, something that Lynda had been involved in almost ten years earlier while working in a bank was also beginning to come back to haunt her. When Lynda was 17 years old she became involved with an Albanian man called Sokal Zefraj, who was an asylum seeker. Mr Zefraj wanted to stay in the UK and Lynda, always wanting to help others, decided the best course of action would be for Mr Zefraj to marry a UK citizen. However, Lynda herself was unable or unwilling to marry him as she didn’t want her parents to know about him, so Lynda asked her school friend, Amanda Robertson, the same friend who would become an employee at Lynda’s finance business, to do her the favour of marrying Mr Zefraj to help him out. Amanda agreed to this deal and the two were married. Then apparently approximately four years later, Amanda divorced Mr Zefraj and Lynda supposedly married him herself, a fact that Mr Zefraj denied, stating that he never in fact married Lynda. It’s not known which version is true, but Lynda did use his surname when making business deals. However, Lynda did have numerous aliases that she used when she was securing fake UK passports for people from Eastern Europe, another sideline of Lynda’s. And so due to her alleged marriage to Mr Zefraj and her apparent close relationship with him, shortly before Lynda’s disappearance, she was in the process of being recruited as an informer or a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) by the now defunct agencies Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), who both were interested in the activities of Mr Zefraj. Apparently the go-ahead to recruit Lynda as an informant had been given on the 14th of April 2011. So, had this information somehow come to light and was Lynda kidnapped and tortured due to her apparently being in the process of becoming an informant? Lynda was getting in deeper and deeper and it was only a matter of time before her dealings caught up with her.

Cole:

She’s juggling a lot of plates this girl.

Dawn:

Yeah, I don’t know how she can keep up.

Cole:

And she’s got fake aliases for fake passports to help people come into the UK?

Dawn:

Yes, that’s correct. She’s busy. Lynda’s world really began unravelling in late 2010 when her school friend, Amanda Robertson, left Lynda’s finance business due to customer complaints and rarely being paid. Amanda was however still able to access Lynda’s emails, and Amanda had sent a text message to a mutual friend following reading a specific email sent to Lynda in which she said to the mutual friend “She’s got some deal involving Arabs and Albanians going on with peeps in New York. It’s all a bit dodgy sounding.” Was this another business deal Lynda was involved in to try and keep her head above water? But was it too little too late? Despite Lynda’s pending downfall, she spent Christmas 2010 in a plush hotel in Glasgow drinking Cristal champagne, but by the New Year things were visibly falling apart as Lynda’s finance business finally dissolved. Sadly though the failing of Lynda’s finance business didn’t just impact Lynda, it also impacted her parent. As when they had given Lynda the money from her grandmother’s bungalow sale for Lynda to start up her own business, Lynda had agreed with her parents that she would pay their rent, but Lynda was now unable to continue doing this and therefore her parents were made temporarily homeless. Lynda then had to apply for benefits and Job Seekers Allowance, and in March she pawned her jewellery. Lynda’s high life at this time must have felt like a distant memory, apparently telling people that if a deal didn’t go through soon she would be in a lot of trouble. Was this the same deal that her former employee and friend Amanda had seen in her emails? No one will ever know. Whichever deal Lynda had been trying to secure, it is doubtful that Lynda could have predicted just how much danger she was shortly to be finding herself in. According to Lynda’s mum, Patricia, Lynda’s behaviour had started to change towards the end of 2010, where she would still call her mum daily but she apparently became distant and said that she was too busy to meet her mum as much. This behaviour would continue until about 6pm on Wednesday the 13th of April 2011 when Lynda went to her parents home in Castlebank Gardens in Glasgow, a mere 2.3 miles or 3.7 kilometres from Lynda’s finance business for her mum’s birthday, giving her flowers as a gift.  Patricia said that the pair had kissed and cuddled and Patricia had asked Lynda where they were going for her birthday, however, she said that Lynda was very tense saying that she had to leave but that she would be back in half an hour. She never returned, and this was the last time her parents ever saw her. It is not known what Lynda did for the remainder of the day on Wednesday the 13th of April and why she wasn’t able to go out to celebrate her mum’s birthday, but on Thursday the 14th of April Lynda was apparently lured from her home in Glasgow to a house in Broomhill Path, also in Glasgow, about 2.2 miles and 3.7 kilometres from where Lynda’s parents were currently residing, which belonged to none other than Colin Coates.

Cole:

And he was the person that she gave fake bonds to, right?

Dawn:

That’s right. Yep. Lynda drove to his property in a silver Vauxhall Astra car that had been hired for her on the 1st of April 2011. Upon arriving at the property she came face to face with both Coates and his friend Philip Wade. Wade, who was 40 years old, was a drug dealer and also enforced drug debts, and he just happened to have a grievance against Lynda as well, as apparently Lynda had extorted £2,000 or $2,700 from Wade’s family. 

Cole:

So, did she know whose house she was going to? Because I wouldn’t have willingly gone to his house after selling him fake bonds.

Dawn:

No, I think she didn’t know where she was going, whose house it was. She probably thought, you know, she was good at blagging her way out of any situation, so I don’t think she thought she would have a problem with this one.

Cole:

Did she know that Wade was going to be there?

Dawn:

No, I don’t think she knew anything about Wade being there, that probably threw her off a wee bit.

Cole:

Right, okay.

Dawn:

I certainly don’t think she was aware of the danger she was walking into when she went there.

Cole:

Okay. Yeah. Maybe she just should have thought about that before she, you know, went ahead with it.

Dawn:

Yeah, just a wee second thought.

Cole:

Yeah. Yeah.

Dawn:

Either way, when she arrived at the property there was no way she could have anticipated or expected what happened next. Coates and Wade restrained Lynda and transported her to a flat in Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride, which is a 47 minute drive south east of Coates’ home. A 47 minute drive where Lynda would have been absolutely terrified, thinking about what fate awaited her. Flat 4, 114 Meadowfoot Road belonged to David Parker, who was 36 and was a drug addict. Parker apparently had been approached at the beginning of April 2011 by a fellow drug addict, Paul Smith who was 45, to ask if it was possible if he could let his flat out for a couple of days. Parker had agreed to this, as he had not actually been living in the flat since October 2010 due to problems with flooding. Apparently a couple of days afterwards Parker was picked up by Coates, Wade and Smith and they all went to the flat, where Parker was told to remove photographs and anything that had his name on it. Parker said at this point he began to wonder what exactly was going on and what he was getting himself involved in, but said nothing and did as he was told. Parker and Smith were at the property on the 14th of April when Wade and Coates arrived there with Lynda, as they had been hired by Coates and Wade to stay at the property with Lynda in between Coates and Wade’s daily visits. Lynda was forced up to the attic, and Parker said he had heard “raised and muffled cries.” Once Coates and Wade had left, Parker went up to the attic and said he saw Lynda tied to an office chair by her waist and arms, and had tape over her mouth, with glasses on covered in tape so she wasn’t able to see her surroundings or where she was. He said that he was shocked and scared and just couldn’t believe what was happening. He said that when he spoke to Smith about his concerns Smith told him that Coates and Wade were serious guys not to be messed with and to just go along with it, what choice did they have now?  Unbeknownst to Lynda, she would spend the last two weeks of her life in this attic, tied to a computer chair, facing the most horrendous torture imaginable.  Apparently when Coates and Wade returned Wade had a torture kit with him, which included large garden shears, bandages, surgical tape and a bucket. Coates and Wade would apparently attend the attic daily, but as Wade was six foot six inches he was unable to stand up properly in the attic, and so it was left to Coates to inflict the torture on Lynda while Wade just stood and watched from the side-lines. Parker and Smith apparently would give Lynda cups of tea and soup when Wade and Coates left, and were well aware of her injuries and what was happening to her. They knew that she had injuries to both of her hands, her toes, bruising to her face, and she also apparently complained her legs were sore, but they said that they were too frightened to do anything to help her, too frightened to save her life. Parker said that Lynda was in a frightened state at one point saying that she wished she hadn’t got herself into this mess. All Parker said he could do was urge Lynda to tell Coates and Wade what they wanted to know. Apparently Lynda asked Parker at one point “Do you think Colin and Phil will ever let me go?” Parker was unable to answer this question. In the meantime, obviously Lynda’s parents would have been concerned, as, yes, Lynda had become distant and they hadn’t been seeing her as often as before, but she still called daily and obviously hadn’t been able to since being abducted on the 14th of April.

Cole:

Was anyone aware of Lynda’s disappearance or was anyone searching for her?

Dawn:

Well no, not initially, because, allegedly, in the days following Lynda’s disappearance, Coates and mutual business friend, Tony Kelly, paid a visit to Lynda’s parents home and warned them about contacting the police, telling them Lynda owed Coates £10,000 or $14,000, and that she had pawned two of his watches.  On hearing this information apparently Lynda’s mum, Patricia, said “If she’s stolen your money I’m going to report it to the police. She has no right stealing money.” In response, allegedly Coates jumped to his feet and banged the couch saying “If the polis look into my computer I’ll get years, and don’t forget I’ve got UDA people and London people.

Cole:

The polis. [Laughter] UDA?

Dawn:

Yeah. It means Ulster Defense Association and it’s an Ulster loyalist parliamentary group in Northern Ireland that was involved in the troubles in Ireland.

Cole:

Okay. So did Coates have involvement with these groups or people?

Dawn:

Well, it’s not actually confirmed anywhere that this was the case, but Lynda’s parents took it seriously enough as they didn’t get the police involved for another month after this. Apparently, Mr Spence did ask Coates if he knew where Lynda was and he said that he didn’t.

Cole:

I don’t think that would have put my mind at rest though.

Dawn:

No, me neither. I would have at least checked it out and tried and got hold of Lynda.

Cole:

Yeah, definitely.

Dawn:

And then on the 20th of April 2011, six days after Lynda just disappeared and stopped calling her parents, Mr and Mrs Spence received a phone call on their mobile phone from Lynda.

Cole:

What? Had she escaped?

Dawn:

No, she hadn’t, and it’s never been explained why she was allowed to make this call. Maybe it was in order to stop her parents actually getting in touch with the police, maybe Coates realised that as time went on his threat would be less effective. Whatever the reason, she was allowed to call her parents.  Mr Spence said that they were on their way to the supermarket and the phone rang and the caller ID said it was Lynda. Lynda’s mum answered but she was so distraught Mr Spencer had to take the phone off her. He asked Lynda where she was, but she apparently was very evasive saying that she was in London. He said that she seemed normal but he was not reassured by this phone call at all, and she would not tell him exactly where she was and just kept being evasive. Before ringing off, Lynda told her parents that she would speak to them again soon, but this was the last time they would ever speak to their daughter again.

Cole:

Okay. So, I don’t really understand, because if she’s been kind of tied up to a chair and she’s been tortured, why would she not ask for help or say I’m being held against my will? 

Dawn:

I thought about that and maybe she was just trying to protect her parents. I mean she now knew exactly what Coates and Wade were capable of, maybe she thought if she didn’t comply then they might hurt her parents too. Or she thought if she did comply they might let her go. I mean, she probably wasn’t in her best frame of mind after having been abducted, tortured and held against her will for six days at this point. How she managed to come across as normal is a mystery.

Cole:

Yeah, I guess I suppose she didn’t actually know where she was, so I guess maybe she just didn’t know what was going on and she thought the best thing to do was to kind of follow what they told her to do.

Dawn:

Yeah. I can’t explain it at all. I don’t know what it was about. It didn’t appear to be a coded message, or at least if it was Lynda’s parents didn’t understand it. Anyway, on the same day this call was made by Lynda to her parents, Wade and Coates had already paid their daily torture visit to the flat in Meadowfoot Road, where Coates had cut off the tip of Lynda’s finger. However, later the same day Smith said that Coates came back by himself to the flat, which was unusual as Coates and Wade always came together. He said that Coates was extremely angry at this point and he said that he was “going to take her thumb”. Coates then apparently proceeded to go up to the attic, where Lynda could be heard to cry out “No Colin!” Coates then reappeared in the living room and indicated that he had Lynda’s thumb in his pocket. After Coates left, Parker went to the attic and saw that Lynda had tape around her hand, but that there was nothing where her thumb was supposed to be.

Cole:

So, did he leave the house with her thumb? Why would he even take that with him?

Dawn:

Well, because he had a plan. While Lynda was being tortured and questioned by the pair of them about her financial dealings, she’d mentioned a man that she was doing business with called John Glen, and that she had given a lot of Coates’ money to him. So, on the same day, the 20th of April, Coates decided to pay John Glen a visit to try and get his money back from him, as he obviously wasn’t getting it back from Lynda, and maybe he felt that taking Lynda’s thumb with him would give him more leverage. And he would be right. As when Coates threatened John and showed him Lynda’s thumb in a plastic bag and demanded he give him his money back that Lynda had given to him, John was frightened enough by this to hand over what money he could to Coates. Now you’d think at this point Coates would be satisfied because he’s got some of his money back and he’s taken out some vengeance on Lynda by the torture that he had carried out, however, Lynda’s nightmare would continue for a further seven days and nights, where she continued to be beaten and subjected to horrific torture daily.

Cole:

I just don’t understand why he would continue to do that when he’s already got what he wanted.

Dawn:

I have no idea. It’s horrific. He’s just evil.

Cole:

He really does sound evil.

Dawn:

So, on the 27th of April, 13 days after Lynda was first abducted, Coates  and Wade told Parker and Smith that they could leave the property. Both Parker and Smith at this time apparently had the feeling that this wouldn’t be good news for Lynda, and still they didn’t go to the police to try to save Lynda’s life. Lynda’s parents had also not informed the police that Lynda was missing at this time, so no one would be coming to save Lynda. Apparently on the 28th of April, Coates dragged Lynda into the bathroom and killed her, before cutting off her head with a hacksaw. He then put her remains in the boot of Lynda’s silver Vauxhall hire car.  On the 29th of April, using mobile phone records of the pair to track their journey, Coates and Wade drove Lynda’s hire car to a friend of Wades’, Lee Winyard’s, caravan in Tighnabruaich in Argyll, which is a two-hour drive away from the flat at Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride. Wade apparently asked to use Lee’s boat, saying that they had something to get rid of, however, Lee refused their request. It’s not known where Lynda’s car or body were taken. A week after Lynda’s body was removed from the attic, Coates, Wade, Parker and Smith started on a month-long clean-up of the flat, where every square inch was scrubbed with bleach, and all the furniture, including the chair Lynda was tied to, bedding , crockery and carpets, were removed, as well as the floorboards being ripped up and replaced. Apparently the majority of the items removed were burned by Wade.

Cole:

So, it sounds like they did a really good job of cleaning up then, they’re not taking any chances to find any of Lynda’s DNA or of them being found in the flat either.

Dawn:

Yeah. They certainly did do a good clean-up job, however, not quite good enough, and they completely forgot that bought items can be traced too. The first time that Lynda is actually reported missing in any way is on the 13th of May 2011, a full two weeks after Parker and Smith were told to leave the flat where Lynda was being held, when fraud investigators called at Lynda’s parents home asking for her whereabouts, due to Lynda being investigated for defrauding a number of people in Glasgow.

Cole:

Oh yeah, the Chinese community went to the police didn’t they? So, they started an investigation into that. So that was exactly a month later when she was reported missing?

Dawn:

Yeah. it was a bit of a gap between going missing and being reported missing. So, by this time Coates and Wade presumably thought that they had gotten away with what they had done to Lynda, as they had tortured Lynda for two weeks, disposed of her body, and still there was no police involvement or even a report of Lynda being missing. Coates must have thought the threat he had made to Lynda’s parents had resulted in their silence. And this continued even when the police arrived at Lynda’s parents home looking to speak to Lynda on the 13th of May.  Lynda’s parents did tell the police that they hadn’t seen Lynda since the 13th of April, but also that they’d spoken to her by phone on the 20th of April. They also didn’t divulge the fact that Coates had visited them and warned them from contacting the police. Therefore, a more serious missing person inquiry did not begin. It might have been assumed at this time that Lynda had chosen to disappear based on the allegations she was facing rather than anything else . At this point only posters were put up detailing that Lynda had been last seen on the 13th of April 2011 and was believed to be driving a silver Vauxhall car. It wouldn’t be until around three weeks when a full-scale missing person inquiry finally began. This was because Lynda’s mum, Patricia, had received a phone call from Lynda’s mobile phone, but it wasn’t Lynda calling. On the 2nd of June 2011, Lynda’s mobile phone had been found in a bin at a cafe in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, a 20-minute drive north east from where Lynda was being held, and also apparently about a mile away from where Wade lived.  The lady who found the phone called Lynda’s mum saying “I’ve called mum. I’ve found this phone.” The woman immediately took the phone to the local police station. It was following Lynda’s phone being found that Mr and Mrs Spence went immediately to the police station and told them everything they knew regarding Lynda and Coates’ business dealings, including the fact that Coates had visited them and threatened them into not contacting the police about Lynda’s disappearance. Finally on the 14th of June 2011 an appeal was made by Lynda’s mum and dad where Lynda’s mum was incredibly upset and sobbed throughout the appeal. She pleaded for anyone with any information about Lynda’s disappearance to contact the police. The investigation started with the police carrying out an extensive proof-of-life inquiry, which led to no clues about Lynda’s whereabouts. These lack of clues demonstrated to detectives that Lynda’s life had most likely been taken, not a case of choosing not to make contact but not being able to. Now, obviously, police were investigating Coates due to his business dealings with Lynda and also due to the threats he had made to Lynda’s parents about not calling the police, but the police had got nowhere with Coates and found that no one was willing to talk about him, so they hit a brick wall. Until that is they found that an automatic number plate recognition camera had picked up Lynda’s hire car on a section of motorway which runs between Glasgow and Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire on the 20th of April, but even more interesting is that both Coates and Wade’s mobile phones were cell cited in the same area at the same time. Coates had denied that he had seen Lynda since her disappearance. So could it just be a coincidence that Coates, Wade and Lynda’s hire car were in the same vicinity at the same time? Yeah, the police didn’t think so either. But yet again the police came across a brick wall, no one was willing to talk to them. But it was becoming clear to the police that Coates and Wade were somehow involved in Lynda’s disappearance, they just needed a breakthrough, and this came in the form of John Glen on the 16th of August 2011.

Cole:

So, John Glen was the guy that Coates showed Lynda’s thumb to so that he could scare him into giving him more money, is that right?

Dawn:

Yep, that’s the guy. John Glen had been sufficiently scared by the thumb incident that he had also kept his mouth shut about what he knew. Until that is Coates paid him a visit again on the 15th of August 2011, where, before he extorted money from him, he made him strip naked. John was terrified and scared that he would become Coates’ next victim, and so this time he didn’t keep quiet but went straight to the police the next day and told them everything he knew. Armed with this new information, the police bit by bit managed to get other witnesses to come forward and talk to them about what they knew, including Pamela Pearson, a friend of Wade’s, who said that Wade had actually told her that he’d help dispose of a woman’s body, until finally even Smith and Parker admitted to the police their part in the horrific last two weeks of Lynda’s life, including the address where it all took place. On the 28th of October, six months after Lynda was murdered, police broke down the door of Flat 4, 114 Meadowfoot Road, where they were met with a completely refurbished flat and attic space. Forensic teams spent a week examining every inch of the flat and attic space and, despite the clear clean-up job, a tiny blood speck was found on the linoleum next to the bath, which following being swabbed and tested was identified as matching the DNA profile of Lynda. A fingerprint was also found on the bathroom door which was identified as belonging to Coates. So, the police had witnesses coming forward with damning statements, they had Lynda’s DNA in the flat, and now Coates’ fingerprint was placing him in the property.  To add to the evidence mounting against Coates, through some great detective work, CCTV footage was found of Coates buying floorboards, sandpaper, white spirits and nails on the 25th of May 2011, presumably purchased for the clean-up job at the flat. Things were starting to seriously unravel for Wade and Coates, but it only got worse for them on the 31st of October 2011 when Coates, Wade, Smith and Parker were taken into police custody and charged with Lynda’s abduction and murder. The trial of Coates, Wade, Smith and Parker on the charge of abducting, torturing and killing Lynda Spence began on the 16th of January 2013 at the High Court in Glasgow, one year and nine months after Lynda first went missing, with all four men pleading not guilty. The jury consisted of six men and seven women. The jury were firstly made aware of Lynda’s lifestyle and of the many “deals” she had on the go where she would take other people’s money in the pretence of investing it but actually spending it herself. They were told of her financial business and of how she helped those with poor credit gain mortgages fraudulently. They were also told that Lynda had been secured as an informant by the now defunct Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency on the day she was abducted. Now, I’m going to come back to that later in the story. They were also told that Lynda was being investigated by the police in connection with a fraud allegation involving the Chinese community. They were then told of Lynda’s abduction, the horrendous torture she suffered and her subsequent murder, based on witness statements and evidence. They were told DNA evidence had been found in the flat at Meadowfoot Road proving Lynda had been there, along with Coates’ fingerprint. They heard from witnesses, including Wade’s friend, Pamela Pearson, who told of Wade’s confession that he had helped dispose of a woman’s body. As well as evidence from Wade’s friend, Lee Winyard, that the two men had driven to his caravan at Tighnabruaich and had expressed a desire to get rid of something. Lee also testified that he believed the car the two men arrived in was the same car that had been featured in the missing person poster, Lynda’s silver Vauxhall hire car. They also heard from an inmate, Peter Hadley, who had been friends with Coates while he had been in prison for suspicion of murdering Lynda, who advised that Coates told him that he had killed Lynda, that she had tape over her mouth and he’d held her nose until she died, before cutting off her head and burning her remains in a furnace, having to set it to its hottest temperature as there were” still parts of it left”. He told the courts that Coates had told him that there had been other people present when she was killed, but that apparently no one else was directly involved. Although when cross-examined by Derek Ogg QC, Hadley was accused of being a malicious self-serving liar who had simply made up this story in order to secure benefits for himself, such as an early release from prison. The jury were also played a taped police interview with Parker when he was arrested on the 31st of October, in which he denied being involved in Lynda’s murder, but talked about being aware that his golf club had been used to hit Lynda but he wasn’t sure by who only that he had found it twisted to bits. John Glen also gave evidence against Coates from behind a screen, having been forced into a protection program as he was so scared of repercussions. He told the jury that Coates had threatened to kill him and had brandished Lynda’s thumb. John Glen wasn’t the only witness that was scared of repercussions from Coates and Wade if they talked, as both Coates and Wade threatened any potential witnesses. It was suggested at the trial that even the three men that were on trial with Coates were afraid of him. Thankfully, regardless of how scared of Coates and of any repercussions people were, they were willing to come forward as witnesses for the prosecution against the four men on trial because they were disgusted by what they had learned had been done to Lynda.

Cole:

It really sounds like none of the men involved could keep their mouth shut. I can’t decide if they were boasting about what they had done hoping to scare people to be quiet or if they were just stupid.

Dawn:

Yeah, I’m not sure either. Will we go with stupid?

Cole:

I would hazard a guess it’s stupid. 

Dawn:

And then on the 6th of March Parker and Smith were cleared of murder and instead a reduced charge of detaining Lynda against her will, assaulting her and attempting to defeat the ends of justice was accepted by the Crown. The pair had decided to turn on Coates and Wade and give evidence against them to save themselves. Wade and Coates continued to be on trial for the murder of Lynda and continued to deny this charge. Both Paul Smith and David Parker appeared in court on the 15th of March to give evidence against Wade and Coates. The pair both testified that they were asked by Wade and Coates to keep Lynda at the flat in Meadowfoot Road and that Wade and Coates would visit the flat daily to inflict violence on Lynda. Parker actually broke down in tears when he recounted the violence that was inflicted on Lynda, recalling one particular time he heard Lynda crying out “No Colin” just after Coates had told him “I’m taking her thumb.” The pair may have given evidence against Coates and Wade, but they still did nothing to help Lynda in the last weeks of her life. Smith justified this by saying that he was too scared to do anything saying that he quite liked his fingers the way they were. Then it was Wade and Coates’ turn to take the stand. When Wade was questioned by the prosecutor, Leslie Thomson, regarding Smith and Parker’s testimony about Wade’s involvement in Lynda’s kidnapping, torture and death, Wade replied that it was “total fantasy.” He continued to state that he had no idea of Lynda’s whereabouts, but that he hoped she would hand herself in. He also stated that when he saw her last she was alive and “just the usual Lynda.” Wade had been described throughout the trial by witnesses as Coates’ right-hand man in the abduction, torture and killing of Lynda. When it was Coates’ turn to take the stand he had a completely different story to tell about Lynda’s disappearance than anyone else that had testified already. Coates told the court that he was in fact a close friend of Lynda and that he had helped her when she had to get out of Glasgow as she was being threatened by other business associates due to unpaid debts. He went on to say that she had actually arranged to stay at the flat with Smith herself and that it was sort of a safe house for her until she could get further away from the area, and then she simply disappeared one day, taking with her Coates’ laptop and Parker and Smith’s drug stash.  Because, wait for it, that was actually what the attic was being used as, a cannabis factory.

Cole:

Was there any evidence of that when the flat was taken apart?

Dawn:

Eh, no, none that I can find. I think it was just more lies. Coates said that it was actually monstrous lies that had been told about him abducting, torturing and killing Lynda. Coates said that he did think people were scared, not of him though but of the police, and that every witness that had testified was under pressure by them to tell these lies about Coates. Not surprisingly Coates also denied showing John Glen a thumb in April 2011, as well as denying that he kept Lynda on a chair in the attic at the flat at Meadowfoot Road. Coates’ defence QC, which is Queen’s Council, Derek Ogg, tried to back this up by saying that Lynda’s DNA being found in the flat could have a perfectly reasonable explanation, and that Lynda may simply have cut herself. The defence stated that the Crown had not proven that Lynda was even dead. However, Prosecutor, Leslie Thomson, QC, countered this by saying that if Lynda had indeed been laying low in the flat as suggested, her DNA would have been all over the place instead of minuscule drops of blood being all that was found, thus indicating a thorough clean-up job. She went on to state that although no body had been found Lynda’s lack of contact with her parents, who she was in constant contact with normally, could conclude that Lynda was indeed dead. Following the closing statements, the jury finally retired for deliberations on the 2nd of April 2013. It took the jury about 20 hours over five days to come to their verdicts, following the 11-week trial, but on the 8th of April 2013 Wade and Coates were found guilty of abducting, torturing and murdering 27 year old Lynda in April 2011. They found Coates unanimously guilty of murdering Lynda and disposing of her body. Wade too was convicted of both of these charges, but he was cleared of cutting off Lynda’s head. Coates was also found guilty of threatening behaviour towards John Glen and of trying to extort money from him. Before sentencing, Lord Pentland said that it was due to Parker and Smith’s “despicable and cowardly” actions of providing Coates and Wade a place to keep Lynda and by keeping guard on her that ultimately led to what had happened  to her. He went on to say that Coates and Wade had been convicted of “a truly monstrous and barbaric crime”. He described Wade as a “violent, dangerous man with no respect for human life or respect for civilised society”. He went on to give his opinion on Coates saying “from the extensive evidence I am left in no doubt you were the more dominant actor. You were the prime mover behind the abduction, torture and murder of Lynda Spence. I am convinced you have a devious and cruel personality. In my view you are a ruthless and dangerous man.” As the four men’s sentences were heard, they stood with their heads bowed. David Parker, 38, was sentenced to 11 years and three months and Paul Smith, 47, was sentenced to 11 years.  Philip Wade, 42, was sentenced to spend at least 30 years behind bars and Colin Coates, 42, was sentenced to a minimum of 33 years in prison. This was one of the longest jail terms that had ever been handed down in a Scottish Court. There were gasps from the gallery as the men were handed down their lengthy sentences, before being led away. Following the verdict, whilst I’m not saying Lynda’s family felt relief as their beloved daughter was still presumed dead, they certainly must have felt that justice had indeed been served. Lynda’s parents, James and Patricia, did release a statement saying “There is no verdict that will bring our daughter Lynda back or spare her the terrible ordeal that took her life. We will never begin to imagine her suffering or comprehend the cruelty of any person who would do that to another human being. We cannot begin to understand or forgive what they did to our daughter, Lynda. No words can begin to describe the heartache and pain we are suffering. Lynda was a warm, kind and thoughtful daughter and was someone who always had time for others. We miss her so much.” In this statement, Lynda’s parents thanked the lead detective involved in the murder investigation, Alan Buchanan, and his team, the prosecutors who had worked to bring their daughter’s murderer to justice, as well as an organisation called PETAL, standing for People Experiencing Trauma And Loss, who had offered them a great deal of support. The detective who was in charge of the murder investigation, Detective Superintendent Alan Buchanan, advised that he was pleased with the guilty verdicts and the sentencing. He hoped that in some way it gave some satisfaction to Lynda’s parents, especially after they had to endure the horrendous details in the court case of what had been done to their daughter. He appealed to the accused to show some common decency and tell Lynda’s family where her body was so they could lay their daughter to rest.  Unfortunately, Coates and Wade have shown that they have no such thing as common decency as they have never told the family where Lynda’s body is. While there was a search carried out in February 2012 in a well at a farm at Law Brae, West Kilbride, and a field has been excavated in the search for Lynda’s body, so far the searches have turned up nothing. Sadly, due to not having Lynda’s body, the exact details of what happened to her and how she died may never be known. All there is to go on is the boasts by her killers and the confessions of their accomplices. Now, I mentioned earlier about the Court being told that Lynda had been recruited as an informant. Well, after the ourt case, senior officers were asked to investigate their dealings with Lynda, as it had emerged in Court that Lynda had actually been recruited as an informer before she had disappeared not the day off as previously thought. Well, apparently, because she was an official informer for the agency before her disappearance, things maybe should have been handled differently. For example, apparently Lynda’s handler at the defunct SCDEA actually got told that Lynda had disappeared within 48 hours of this happening, but her handler didn’t deem it necessary to inform Strathclyde Police of Lynda’s  involvement with them. Sharing this information between agencies could have proven vital, not only because Lynda was an authorised Cohort Human Intelligence Source and her safety and welfare should have been protected under the law, but also because if this information had been relayed to the police 48 hours after Lynda went missing, the police presumably would have started an investigation into her whereabouts a whole lot sooner, but also it might just have given Lynda a fighting chance of being found. In my opinion, agencies need to learn to better communicate and share information so that everybody involved has the big picture instead of small parts of it, because nobody can work effectively this way. So, what happened to Coates and Wade? Well, of course, after the sentencing they both launched an appeal, stating that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice, and also a further appeal against their lengthy sentences. After reviewing their appeals, one of the judges presiding over the case, Lord Gill, said that in his view it was an overwhelming case that the accused murdered Lynda and that in his opinion there was no miscarriage of justice. As for their sentence appeal, Lord Gill said he considered their sentences to be appropriate and he saw no basis to interfere with them. The appeal judges deemed that there was overwhelming evidence that both men were guilty of the crime they were charged with. Coates continues to cause trouble in prison. In January 2019 it was reported that he had been found with a plastic pointed three-inch t-shaped weapon on him made from plastic cutlery from the canteen. As punishment, he had been put in segregation for three weeks and removed from his Open University course he had been on. He was given a four-month sentence to run alongside his life sentence for this crime and was moved to another prison. Also in 2019 it was reported that Wade, who was then 49 and in Kilmarnock prison, had been given a job counselling other convicts. Apparently he got this role after being trained by the Samaritans. Lynda’s family were up in arms about this saying that it was all rubbish, how can he have this role after the horrific crime he committed? And if he was reformed and so caring now, why wouldn’t he tell them where Lynda’s remains were and put them out of their misery? Apparently, other inmates think it’s a joke that after what he did he is in this role. But a Samaritans spokesperson said “the listener scheme is our peer support scheme which aims to reduce suicide in prisons. Volunteers select, train and support prisoners. The listeners then provide face-to-face support to fellow prisoners who are struggling to cope. We have a rigorous selection and application process.”

Cole:

I think I’m with Lynda’s family and friends here, how can this man be the right person for the job?

Dawn:

Yeah, I agree. Now, sadly, in February 2014, Lynda’s mum, Patricia, who was aged 57 at that time, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she was given less than two years to live. At this time, she appealed again to Coates and Wade to finally tell her where her daughter was, but again this fell on deaf ears. Now, Lynda was portrayed in Court as a con artist, known for providing fake bank statements and other documents to aid people with low income or bad credit to appear able to get a mortgage or loan etc, as well as manipulating people into giving her their money for ventures and projects that never were to take place and spending their money like it was her own, however, Lynda was a daughter and loved very much. Her mother, Patricia, stated that Lynda was a loving, caring girl and that she meant everything to her.

Cole:

I think this is a really unfortunate case, and obviously Lynda didn’t deserve what happened to her. I think she made some questionable decisions, but to kidnap and torture someone for two weeks over money, it doesn’t seem… I mean murder never seems justified, but to kidnap and torture someone over money doesn’t seem right at all.

Dawn:

It’s not right Cole. It’s just absolutely horrendous what they did to her, regardless of what she had done.

Cole:

Yeah, it really was horrendous.

Dawn:

Lynda clearly was a swindler and she had made many people victims of her manipulation and they did deserve justice for having their money taken from them, but by means of the proper legal channels. Lynda did not deserve what happened to her. Lynda was a victim too.

And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them, don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So that’s it for this week, come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there. Bye. 

Granny Robertson:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter


The Arlene Fraser Disappearance

The Arlene Fraser Disappearance

Episode Summary

A violent husband, a hit man or a pig farm owner; who kidnapped and murdered Arlene Fraser?

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

Refuge – 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 (UK) or nationaldahelpline.org.uk

 

Death in a cold town: The Arlene Fraser case

by Steve MacGregor

Synopsis

There is a common misconception that, if a body can’t be found then no-one can be brought to trial for murder. That isn’t true, as one Scottish man discovered. Twice!
Arlene Fraser was an attractive, vivacious mother of two young children who lived in the peaceful town of Elgin in the north-east of Scotland. On the morning of April 28th, 1998, she was seen waving to her children as they left for school. One hour later, she called the school to check about a trip. It was a very ordinary day in an ordinary Scottish town. Yet, that was the last time that anyone saw or heard from Arlene Fraser.
Police found no signs of a struggle or foul play in the house and Arlene’s spectacles, contact lenses, medication, keys and passport were all still where she had left them. A vacuum cleaner was found in her daughter’s bedroom, plugged in but switched off, as if Arlene had been interrupted during housework and had stepped outside for a moment. However, despite one of the biggest police operations ever mounted in Scotland and a massive search involving the RAF, police dogs and members of the public, no trace of Arlene or her body were ever found.
Despite having a cast-iron alibi for the relevant time, Nat Fraser, Arlene’s husband, was eventually charged with her murder. However, many people felt that his trial was unfair, with the police accused of withholding vital evidence and questions being raised about the motivations and honesty of one of the main witnesses for the prosecution. Nat Fraser appealed, his sentence was eventually quashed and he was freed. Then he was tried again using essentially the same evidence and the same witnesses. The original verdict was repeated. He appealed, again…
This case raises a number of questions which still remain the subject of heated debate in Scotland. What happened to Arlene Fraser in April 1998? Did her husband really arrange for her abduction and murder? Were any of the trials and appeals fair? Were the verdicts correct? Who was the murderer?
Find out the answers to all these questions in this detailed and unbiased look at this extraordinary case.

Our Review

Dawn:

A violent husband, a hitman or a pig farmer, who kidnapped and murdered Arlene Fraser?

Dawn and Cole:

Hi wee ones, I’m Dawn and I’m Cole, and this is Scottish Murders.

[THEME TUNE]

WINE, DINE AND STORYTIME PODCAST PROMO

Dawn:

33 year old Arlene Fraser was living at number two Smith Street in Elgin with her two children, Jamie ten and Natalie five, at the time of her disappearance. Her husband Nat had a restraining order as he had attempted to murder Arlene previously, however, this hadn’t kept him away. The 28th of April 1998 was just like any other weekday for Arlene Fraser, she got her kids ready for school and waved them off, but that wave goodbye to our children would be the last time she was ever seen again. Elgin is a town in Moray, now with a population of over 24,000, and is situated in the northeast of Scotland, lying on the south coast of the Moray Firth, approximately halfway between Inverness and Aberdeen. Elgin once had been a city in the 13th century when an imposing Cathedral had been built, but the cathedral was later abandoned making Elgin a town. The ruins of the cathedral remain to this day. For today’s story I gained most of the information from a book called Death in a Cold Town by Steve McGregor, where you can find even more in-depth information about Arlene and Nat Fraser than I’ve been able to include in this story. Arlene was a popular and outwardly confident person, but internally she lacked confidence and didn’t believe people when they told her she was pretty. This lack of confidence could have stemmed from always being compared to her elder sister Carol, who could apparently do no wrong. However, by 1985 Arlene’s sister had married and had moved to Erskine, just outside of Glasgow, and her parents had split up, with Arlene opting to stay with her father Hector in Elgin, where she worked in a clothes shop. At Hogmanay in 1985, when Arlene was 21 years old, she attended a party where she and Nat Fraser, who was 26 years old, finally got together. Nat appeared to be quite the catch as he was a friendly, confident, popular man, and he was a partner in a successful fruit and veg business in Elgin. Nat also played the guitar in a local band as well as being a rugby player. However, there was another side to Nat, he had a habit of fighting with others, both verbally and physically, after a few drinks, but due to his friendly nature this was shrugged off as just being Nat’s way. Nat was also very popular with the females and he would regularly have new girlfriends, sometimes even having a couple on the go at the same time. However, when Arlene and Nat finally got together at the Hogmanay party, he seemed to, at least initially, change his ways and to have really taken to her and she him. However, not everyone was quite as taken with Nat and Arlene’s relationship. Apparently Arlene’s sister, Carol, advised her to be careful and that Nat wasn’t the best match for her. However, Arlene ignored this advice and forged ahead with her relationship with Nat, actually moving into his bungalow at number two Smith Street only four months after meeting. The couple lived together quite peacefully and happily it would appear, both carrying on with the normal duties, Nat carrying out fruit and vegetable deliveries in the Elgin area and Arlene working in the clothes shop. It was in September 1986 that the couple announced they were engaged and had set a date for their wedding of the 9th of May 1987. However before the big day arrived, in late 1986, Arlene found out that she was pregnant. The couple were delighted with the news and were so looking forward to their wedding and their child’s arrival shortly afterwards. Arlene’s wedding day finally arrived and she looked beautiful in her white wedding dress with her father Hector walking her down the aisle to the waiting Nat, who wore a kilt and sported two black eyes. Apparently the stag do had turned a bit violent, but well that was apparently to be expected from Nat and it was just brushed off, and the couple went on to have a great evening reception. In August 1987, three months after the wedding, Arlene and Nat welcomed baby Jamie into the world. Nat and Arlene apparently were thrilled with the new arrival and they seemed to settle down into newly married, new parents bliss. Nat did want to continue to play with his band every weekend, and with him working Monday to Saturday delivering his fruit and veg, Arlene was finding it difficult to bring up Jaime without Nat’s support. Arlene asked Nat if he would give up playing in the band but he refused saying that he needed to let off steam after a full week of work, and he said that they needed the money. It also appeared that Nat had returned to his old ways from before he met Arlene. Arlene had heard that Nat had been seeing other women, but when confronted of course he denied this vehemently. The problem was Arlene was feeling more and more isolated, she had given up her job at the clothes shop to take care of Jamie and she also was finding it increasingly difficult to see her friends. Nat liked this though as he became extremely jealous if she went out without him, criticising what she was wearing for starters. He was very controlling and she was completely dependent on Nat, not only for support but financially as well, as her only source of money was her weekly allowance that Nat gave to her. Arlene was lonely and stuck at home more and more by herself, until she met 17 year old Dougie Green, a delivery driver who worked for Nat, less than a year into their marriage. Dougie ended up visiting Arlene when Nat was out at weekends and one night the pair ended up sleeping together. Nat found out about this and was furious with Arlene. As Nat’s jealousy and suspicions towards Arlene escalated, he became more and more angry and eventually his anger turned physical and he started to push her around. Arlene had apparently confided in her family that she was afraid of him sometimes when he got like this. One night in 1990, when Arlene came home from a Saturday night out with her friends, she was met by an angry Nat who accused her of being with another man. He ripped at

her clothes, slapped and punched her until she fell to the floor, where he then proceeded to kick her in the stomach. At this point Arlene had had enough and she was terrified of Nat, so she took Jamie and went to stay at a woman’s refuge for ten

days. During this time she also saw a solicitor in regards to divorce proceedings. However, as always, Nat was very sorry, he hadn’t meant to hurt her and that he got angry because he loved her so much and the thoughts of her being with another man had just taken over. He sent her gifts while she was at the refuge, until finally she agreed to move back home. Everything seemed to settle down again for a while, and in 1992 Arlene and Nat welcomed baby Natalie into their family. However, Nat’s jealousy festered continually in the background, and every time Arlene went out with her friends an argument between the two ensued when she returned. Apparently from the time Natalie was born and Arlene’s disappearance she had visited her solicitor a further three times regarding a divorce, but each time Nat would apologise and give her a lovely gift and convince her to give it another go. She actually had an appointment with her solicitor on the afternoon she went missing to discuss the divorce and finalise the paperwork, an appointment that she unfortunately wouldn’t be able to keep. In 1997, with Natalie now being five and Jamie being ten, Arlene decided that it was time to get some of her independence back, financially at least, and so she enrolled in a two-year business studies course at the local college to learn new skills she could use to make her own money. It appeared though that the allowance Nat gave Arlene was very generous as she had somehow manage to save up £3,000 or about $4,000, and in 1997 she had decided that she wanted to spend this money on a breast enhancement. She went ahead with this procedure without telling Nat who, because he hadn’t been in control of Arlene, was pretty angry about this.

 

He took his bad temper out on her in various ways for the rest of 1997, such as hiding her glasses or contact lenses and ripping her clothes, all to try to prevent her from going out with her friends. However, in February 1998 his temper erupted again and he attacked Arlene, beating her so badly in the jaw that she was unable to eat. Following this attack she lost weight and became depressed. She apparently told her friend, Michelle Scott, that she didn’t love Nat anymore and was terrified of him. After this vicious attack Nat agreed to leave the home for a month and to go and live with his friend Hector Dick, who lived in a farm just outside Elgin. However, after less than a week Nat was seen by neighbours back at the home, and soon after he had worn Arlene down and had moved back into the home. Only a month later on the 22nd of March 1998, which was Mother’s Day, Nat beat Arlene and strangled her to the point that she passed out. She had been on a night out with her female friends at a bar and after closing time the group decided to go back to Arlene’s friend Michelle’s house to continue the party. What had set Nat of this time, although it didn’t take much, was that Arlene hadn’t got home until 5:30am. I think maybe he could have been worried about her, but it does sound more like he was angry that he wasn’t in control of her. Yeah, I agree. However, when Arlene came around

she hadn’t remembered the attack.  Nat had told her that she’d had some kind of fit and had collapsed.  So, she didn’t remember being strangled? Yeah. Maybe she had passed out and blocked out what had happened. Maybe she was just in shock. However, later that morning Arlene noticed some worrying red dots on her eyelids and eyes, so she took herself to the doctor. Terrifyingly, the doctor told her that the red dots were caused by strangulation and that he had only heard of this being seen normally on the dead bodies of strangulation victims.

Cole:

Wow! I’m not surprised she didn’t remember after that then.

Dawn:

After some persuasion, Arlene went to the police and told them about the attack and what the doctor had said. This was confirmed by the police’s own specialist. Subsequently, Nat was arrested and charged with attempted murder. Nat was bailed and had an injunction against him not allowing him to go near the house on Smith Street or Arlene. Arlene visited her solicitor again after this and this time decided to start the ball rolling with a divorce and settlement. The settlement figure that her solicitor came up with was £250,000, which is about £460,000 and $577,000 in today’s money. Arlene was a bit reluctant to ask for this amount of money as she knew Nat would be angry, but her solicitor reminded her that Nat had a very successful business and that this was just a starting figure and that it was best to start high and come down, so Arlene agreed and a letter was sent to Nat’s solicitor. When Matt found out that Arlene was going ahead with a divorce and that the settlement figure she was asking for was in the region of £250,000 he was furious. Apparently he had said to Arlene that if she wasn’t going to be living with him then she wouldn’t be living with anyone. Nat was clearly thinking of himself as the victim in the situation he found himself in. To further anger Nat, part of the injunction was that he wasn’t allowed access to his precious car, a Ford Granada, as it was parked at the house in Smith Street. Arlene had apparently started using this car. That is until the 5th of April, two weeks after the horrific attack on Arlene, when this car that was parked on Arlene’s drive went up in flames, destroying the car. This fire was apparently deliberately started.

Cole:

Wow, that’s a coincidence, isn’t it?

Dawn:

Yeah. I wonder who could have done that? Then just over three weeks later on Tuesday the 28th of April 1998 Arlene disappeared. Arlene was seen hanging out washing at around 8:15am by a neighbour, and then seen by another neighbour at around 8:50am when she was waving Jamie, ten, and Natalie, five, off as they walked to their school not far away. Jamie was apparently going on a group event to Inverness with his school that day so Arlene called the school at about 9:41am to find out what time he was returning. The receptionist didn’t know the time so she said she would check and call Arlene back. However, when she called Arlene back approximately ten minutes later, there was no answer. The receptionist had been the last person to ever speak to Arlene Fraser. So, what had happened to Arlene between 9:41 and 9:51am? As Arlene had Tuesdays off from college, she liked to use this day to catch up with her friends whenever possible, and on Tuesday the 28th of April she had arranged for her friend, Michelle Scott, to come and have lunch with her at the bungalow. When Michelle arrived at about 11am for this lunch date, she knocked but there was no answer. The door however was unlocked so she went inside. She did find the fact that the door was unlocked very strange as Arlene was very security conscious.

Cole:

Yeah, I think that would have been a red flag for me too after what she’d been through.

Dawn:

Yeah, me too. Definitely. So, Michelle called out but there was no answer. When Michelle had a quick look around she didn’t find Arlene, but she did find a vacuum cleaner standing in the middle of Natalie’s room plugged in as if ready to be used but not switched on. She also found the washing machine on, which she also found strange as Arlene was terrified of the washing machine going on fire so she never put it on if she wasn’t going to be in the house. She also found Arlene’s contact lenses, glasses and Crohn’s medication lying on her bedside cabinet. Arlene had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a few years previous and had had bad flare-ups, she never would have left indefinitely without her glasses, contacts or Crohn’s medication. Michelle did notice that Arlene’s favourite brown coat was missing, so she assumed that Arlene hadn’t gone far and maybe she had just got delayed. Unfortunately, Michelle had to leave as this had just been a quick lunch visit, however, she did ring Arlene a couple of more times, but each time there was no reply. This was just so unlike Arlene, she was a creature of habit and didn’t just go missing for hours on end. Michelle went back to the bungalow again about 1pm, but there was still no sign of Arlene and everything was still the same way it had been when she was last there. This time Michelle left Arlene a note asking her to call when she got back. By 3pm Natalie had returned home from school and was spotted outside her house crying by neighbours, Irene and Graham Higgins, as her mum wasn’t home. They knew Arlene and Natalie so took Natalie into their home until Arlene arrived home. However, at 8pm there was still no sign of Arlene, but Michelle had arrived back and this time was beginning to think something was seriously wrong. Irene and Michelle went back to Arlene’s home again and found everything exactly the same as before, except there was now a note from Jamiee saying he had been home and had gone to a friend’s house as Arlene wasn’t there. Nobody had seen Jamie arrive or leave the home. When they returned to Irene’s home, following a debate with her husband, they decided to call the police. Two police officers, PC Neil Lynch and PC Julie Clark, arrived that evening and they looked around Arlene’s home, spoke with Graham and Irene Higgins and Michelle Scott. However, at this point, as it was very late in the evening and there was no body or crime scene, all they could do was put out a description of Arlene to see if she was spotted around the area. It wasn’t until the following day, the 29th of April, the detectives arrived on the scene and a detailed examination of the house was carried out and video recordings of the whole property were taken. While it clearly didn’t look like anything untoward had occurred in the property, the fact that Arlene’s glasses, contact lenses, medication, passport, driving licence and keys were all in the property, and after taking into consideration that her husband had been charged with strangling her until she passed out just over a month ago, the police decided to treat Arlene’s disappearance as something much more sinister than a missing person case. However, as there was no body or crime scene they knew it was going to be an uphill struggle to prove this. It wasn’t until the 3rd of May, five days after Arlene was last seen, that a massive search took place of all open spaces around Elgin. This was carried out by police and volunteers, including Arlene’s father and stepfather, however Nat did not attend.

Cole:

Okay, so why did it take so long to arrange a search?

Dawn:

I think it was because there was no body or crime scene, and that they were just busy searching the house and doing interviews. I think they also held out a bit of hope that Arlene would probably just come back.

Cole:

And do we know why Nat didn’t attend?

Dawn:

No.

Cole:

Well that’s suspicious.

Dwan:

Isn’t it. Interviews were carried out with any potential witnesses or locals that could give a better picture of Arlene and her life. A lot of people were of the impression that Arlene had just gone on holiday without telling anyone, and had just left her children to come home from school with no one to look after them.

Cole:

People actually thought that that’s what she would have done?

Dawn:

Yeah, I can’t believe it either. She was supposed to be a caring and compassionate person and doted on her kids, there was no way she was just going to have left and gone on holiday.

Cole:

No, that would be classed as neglect and she doesn’t sound like that type of person at all.

Dawn:

No, I don’t know what these people were thinking. There were also other rumours going around which also got into the newspapers, that Arlene was into drugs, drink and sleeping around. Well she had had that one affair and she did enjoy a night out with her female friends now and again, but did this really make her a bad person or parent or mean that she would just have left her children suddenly? Not only did her friends and sister Carol both confirmed that these stories were nonsense, but the police actually carried out tests using hairs from Arlene’s hairbrush post her disappearance, and this proved conclusively that she had not been taking drugs. It turned out that these rumours had actually come from Nat himself trying to paint a bad picture of Arlene and draw attention away from himself. Nat appeared to have a lot of supporters in and around Elgin and they were happy to repeat these untruths about Arlene. When detectives went to interview Nat, he was ready with a cast iron alibi. He stated that he started work at around 7:30am that morning, and that he had also taken a van boy with him on this occasion to help him with the deliveries. This was a very unusual thing for Nat to do, he always preferred to do the deliveries alone. He stated that about 9am he had made a phone call from a phone box in Elgin, leaving the van boy in the van. He had called a Hazel Walker, who he had previously been in a relationship with but hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while and he didn’t call again afterwards either. He said that the call had lasted about 40 minutes and then he continued with his deliveries. And wait for it, it just so happened that of all the phone boxes in Elgin this phone box was one of the few that had a CCTV camera pointing right at it, further providing and backing up Nat’s alibi.

Cole:

Very smart if you’re looking for an alibi.

Dawn:

Yeah, that was clever. And he just so happened to have made this phone call at the approximate time that Arlene is thought to have gone missing as well.

Cole:

That’s also suspicious.

Dawn:

Detectives were also immediately suspicious of Nat as this was a pretty cast iron alibi, backed up by witnesses and a camera. Who normally has such a cast iron alibi when carrying out the day-to-day duties?

Cole:

Having such a solid alibi such as his is almost as incriminating as not having one at all I think, sometimes.

Dawn:

In this case certainly. So, the police at this point have no body, no crime scene, no forensic, no witnesses, and Nat has a solid alibi. So, what had happened to Arlene Fraser? Now, the police did continue to have their suspicions about Nat Fraser having something to do with Arlene’s disappearance, even though he had a cast iron alibi, but all they could do was keep an eye on him. For the first few days after Arlene went missing, Nat came across as being very upset and concerned about Arlene, he checked the hospitals in the area and would constantly get in touch with the police to find out if they had any developments. However, after a couple of weeks his attitude completely changed, he stopped contacting the police for updates, they had to contact him to tell him what was going on. He was apparently joking to his friends that the kids would get used to Arlene being away. So, he’d gone from this really caring, worried estranged husband, who behind closed doors was controlling and beating Arlene, to showing his true colours and really not caring about where Arlene was or what had happened to her. Also, a few months after Arlene’s disappearance, Nat started to tell anyone that would listen the story that Arlene had simply ran away and had betrayed and abandoned her family, she had left her children, Nat, her sister, her mom and dad behind to start a new life. Now it all made sense why he had been spreading untruths about Arlene’s character, so he could set the scene for his next plan of telling everyone that she’d just ran away, all to take the limelight off him as a suspect. He was no fool, he knew that he would be suspected by the police of being involved in Arlene’s disappearance, which the police did suspect practically from the start of the investigation, but they just had no proof. Now, something else strange happened. On or around the 7th of May 1998, after the police had finished with the bungalow forensically and they had taken video recordings of all the rooms, they had allowed the family back in to use it. It was a few days after that a member of the family found Arlene’s engagement ring, wedding ring and eternity ring in the bathroom on a special hook. The family member was sure they had not been there before and so let the police know. The police immediately checked the video recording and discovered that these rings had indeed not been there at the time of Arlene’s disappearance. So, where had they come from? Nat had access to the house after the police had finished with it, so had he removed the rings from Arlene’s dead body and placed them back in the house? But why? Was this perhaps to back up his story that Arlene had simply ran off and left them? But wouldn’t she have taken her rings with her so she could maybe sell them for money?

Cole:

Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense if he was trying to portray that she ran away, she would have had her rings on her, she wouldn’t have stopped to take them off. And I can’t imagine why putting those rings back there would work out for him. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Dawn:

Then in October 1998, six months after Arlene’s disappearance, the police issued a further appeal asking for information on Arlene’s disappearance, but this time stating that they believed she had been murdered. Following this appeal, a mechanic who worked in Elgin was identified, who stated that he had sold a beige Ford Fiesta to a very good friend of Nat’s, Hector Dick, on the day before Arlene’s disappearance, that he had delivered it himself to Hector’s farm, and he said that Nat had also been present at the farm for the delivery of the car.

Cole:

What’s strange about that?

Dawn:

Well, nothing, if it hadn’t been a cash in hand job, with extra cash given to the mechanic if he said nothing about the deal, and the fact that three men proceeded to take the same Ford Fiesta, having been partially crushed and burnt, to a scrapyard at the beginning of May 1998 to be crushed and recycled. Although Hector Dick was questioned repeatedly about this, he denied ever having seen this car. At the beginning of 1999, with no word or sightings from Arlene, the police felt sure that she had been murdered, but without any evidence or a body they had to set about trying to prove for sure that she was indeed dead. They needed to prove this in order to charge anyone with her murder. They did this by checking Arlene’s bank accounts to see if there had been any withdrawal since her disappearance, which there hadn’t been. They had to establish that she had not been in contact with any friends or family since her disappearance, which she hadn’t. They checked that she had not been in contact with any GPS or Opticians in the UK to get vital medication or glasses or contact lenses, but she hadn’t. All the while Nat continued his daily routine of fruit and veg deliveries and maintained that Arlene had just gone on holiday, nearly a year since her disappearance. But fewer and fewer people were buying that story anymore. Plus, Nat had the most motivation for killing Arlene, he was waiting a criminal trial for her attempted murder five weeks before her disappearance. He possibly thought he wouldn’t go to prison if she wasn’t around to give evidence. She was also asking for a divorce and a huge settlement which would damage him financially, and he had an injunction against him after he had attempted to murder her so he wasn’t allowed in or near his home. If Arlene wasn’t around he would get back into his home again and see his kids. But he had a cast iron alibi, so even though the police felt he was involved somehow, obviously he couldn’t have kidnapped Arlene that morning, so the case went cold. Until October 1999, a year and a half later, when Hector Dick and Nat Fraser were charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the Ford Fiesta. However, due to the lack of evidence, the charge against Nat was dropped and Hector’s trial was deferred. Then on the 1st of March 2000, nearly two years after Arlene went missing, Nat had his day in court in Inverness for the charge of attempted murder of Arlene just over a month before she went missing. This charge was reduced to assault and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Unbelievably he was released from prison in December 2000 after serving only half of his sentence. While Nat was in prison for the assault of Arlene, the police investigation continued and they were monitoring who had visited Nat in prison. He had frequent visits from another of his good friends, a Glen Lucas, so the police started looking at this man in connection with Arlene’s disappearance too. The meetings between Glen and Nat were recorded but there was no audio, so the police got in touch with a deaf lip-reading expert to help them determine what had been said between the two. Her findings were very damning. Basically she said that Nat was describing to Glen how he had cut Arlene’s bones into very small pieces so that no DNA could be found.

Cole:

Oh wow.

Dawn:

He made the motion of sawing his wrist as he spoke about how he had cut her up, with Lucas supposedly agreeing that this had been a good idea and that he was sure Nat would get away with it. They also mentioned a third man involved, Hector Dick, and how he had been instrumental in Arlene’s disappearance. Unfortunately the lip-reading expert’s findings were not able to be used in court, but had given the police what they had needed, they now knew that Nat had definitely been involved with Arlene’s disappearance.

Cole:

So, why would it not be usable in in court?

Dawn:

I think it was because things of this sort were relatively new and hadn’t undergone rigorous testing to ensure this was a valid practice to be used.

Cole:

How could he have been so stupid to say these things while he was in prison.

Dawn:

Oh don’t worry, we’ll get into that later.

Cole:

Oh interesting.

Dawn:

February 2001 was when Hector Dick’s trial for perverting the course of justice in relation to his involvement with the Ford Fiesta finally went ahead, with him pleading not guilty. However, on the fourth day Hector changed his plea to guilty. He now was stating that he had indeed purchased the beige Ford Fiesta but that it had been to use for a drink smuggling scam he and Nat were involved in. Due to his change of plea he was sentenced to one year in prison, and during his time in prison he attempted to hang himself. Now, in April 2001, Nat also found himself back in prison after being found guilty for lying about his finances in order to receive £18,000 or about $25,000 of legal aid funding. This was four months after being released from prison for assaulting Arlene. He was sent back to prison this time for 12 months, although he was out again in October 2001 after serving half of his sentence.

Cole:

There seems to be a pattern going on here.

Dawn:

Yes, half seems to be enough. After being released again in October 2001, Nat tried to get on with his life again, still doing his fruit and veg deliveries, but by this time there were less people who actually believed that Arlene had simply gone on holiday and left her children, people were starting to look at Nat a bit differently.

Cole:

It’s about time.

Dawn:

Plus the police were constantly questioning him about Arlene’s disappearance. Things were not going too well for Nat. Then on the 26th of April 2002, about six months after Nat was released from prison for fraud, Nat, Hector Dick and Glen Lucas were indicted for the murder of Arlene Fraser, each being charged with conspiracy to murder Arlene, murdering her and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Cole:

So, did they find her body or have any other evidence?

Dawn:

Nope, nothing had changed, but things were about to get interesting. The trial of the three men began on Tuesday the 1st of January 2003 at Edinburgh’s High Court. The prosecution laid out their case, and on the Friday the jury were shown the video recordings of the bathroom, showing how there were no rings present at the time of Arlene’s disappearance, but that they had appeared in the bathroom on or around the 7th of May 1998. Everything seemed to be going well for the prosecution, until Tuesday the 14th of January when it was announced that the charges had been dropped against Hector Dick and Glen Lucas, and they were immediately released.

Cole:

What? Why?

Dawn:

Well, over the weekend Hector Dick had decided to turn on his long-term friend Nat to save himself, and he had told the police an amazing story of what had happened to Arlene. He said that Nat had hired a hitman to kidnap and kill Arlene, but her body had then been burnt and dismembered in a machine on Hector’s farm that was designed for cow disposal, and then her ashes were scattered. Now you might think okay, great, now we know what happened, good for Hector, however, it just so happens that Hector had been caught by the government and had a humongous tax bill to pay due to him smuggling booze, and this bill would have ruined him. Hector didn’t agree to testify against Nat until he had it in writing that the tax bill would be wiped out, which he received.

Cole:

Wow, you’re kidding, right?

Dawn:

No. So, now Nat would be standing alone with a new charge of arranging Arlene’s abduction and murder. So, the trial reconvened on Monday the 20th of January 2003 and Hector Dick was questioned for a prolonged period of time, and of course the question of the purchase of the beige Ford Fiesta was brought up again. Bearing in mind that at Hector’s trial in 2001, he said that he had bought the car for drink smuggling that he was involved in with Nat, however, now at Nat’s trial he said, under oath, that he had bought the car on behalf of Nat. So Hector had lied about ever buying the beige car initially and now he was saying under oath that he had been lying about what it was used for. What was to say that he was now telling the truth? Were the police and the prosecutors just grasping at anything they could to convict Nat as they knew they didn’t have enough evidence, regardless if it was lies or not?

Cole:

Yeah, I’m beginning to wonder that myself.

Dawn:

Over the course of the trial, Hector continued to say very derogatory things about Nat, blatantly pointing the finger at him for Arlene’s kidnapping and arranged murder any way he could. Nat also gave evidence at this trial in his defence where he denied vehemently murdering his wife or being involved in any way. Nobody knew what the outcome of the trial was going to be, it was very superficial, and the case rested on whether the jury categorically believed that Nat had returned Arlene’s rings to the house after she had been murdered. Carol, Arlene’s sister, and Hector, Arlene’s dad, were extremely nervous about attending for the verdict on the 29th of January 2009, almost five years since Arlene’s disappearance. But they needn’t have worried, Nat Fraser was found guilty with a majority verdict. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 25 years. So, finally the family had some closure and peace to grieve for Arlene, even if they didn’t have her body they could try to get on with their lives as best they could.  Right? Wrong. The story doesn’t end there. Following the trial Hector Dick appeared to have negotiated various deals with newspapers and he continued to give new statements about what had happened to Arlene, saying things like Nat had hired a hitman who had strangled Arlene at home and then Nat had gone and cleaned up, amongst other things. Bearing in mind this man had already lied repeatedly. This was extremely difficult for the family to hear, especially when they had their suspicions that Hector was more involved in Arlene’s disappearance than he had been letting on. Now, Glen Lucas didn’t just fade into the background either, he was apparently sick of having the finger pointed at him by everyone and so persuaded a newspaper to pay for him to have a lie detector test to prove once and for all that he wasn’t involved. He passed. In April 2005 a book was published called Murdered or Missing? The Arlene Fraser Case, which was co-written by Glen Lucas himself.  This book basically suggested that Arlene was still alive and had walked out on her children. He alleged that she had been into drinking and drugs and having affairs. The book also ridiculed Hector Dick’s testimony. Glen Lucas was still a good friend of Nat’s and had stood by him protesting his innocence for years, he wasn’t going to stop now. That was until he died in September 2006 from a heart attack. Now, following Nat being convicted and sent to prison, revelations about the prosecution’s leading evidence for charging Nat started to come into question. There were now questions being raised about the three rings that were found in the bathroom.  PC Neil Lynch and PC Julie Clark, who were first inside Arlene’s home on the night her disappearance was reported, came forward to say that they had actually seen these rings in the bathroom when they had first checked Arlene’s home that evening. They had apparently informed their supervisors about this but for some reason this information never reached the relevant people and Nat was charged, with the three ring saga being a large part of the prosecution’s case.

Cole:

So, who removed them then?

Dawn:

Well, it was claimed by a PC David Alexander, who had been part of the investigation, that these rings had been seen in a desk drawer of a Detective Sergeant. However, PC Alexander had his own problems and was in court for a breach of the peace charge in 2004 and was subsequently suspended from the police, however, he widely made it clear that he felt there was a cover-up going on in this case. He went on to give Nat’s solicitors a statement where he admitted that it was a Detective Sergeant David Slessor who had told him about seeing the rings. David was also involved in Arlene’s investigation. However, this fact couldn’t be corroborated by Slessor as he had apparently killed himself in July 1998.

Cole:

This just keeps getting more and more confusing.

Dawn:

So, was it true that there was a cover-up going on with this case, or was this just a scorned police officer wanting to have revenge?

Cole:

Why would it be a cover-up?

Dawn:

Yeah, exactly, I don’t know why. It doesn’t make sense. After this came out, an announcement stated that an investigation would be carried out into what had happened in the Arlene Fraser case to see if there was any merit behind the former PC’s statements. So, obviously this was great news for Nat, and so his solicitors immediately appealed against his conviction, and on the 12th of May 2006 Nat Fraser was released from prison on bail while he waited to hear about his appeal against his murder conviction.

Cole:

Okay, so he’s out of prison again?

Dawn:

Yep.

Cole:

So, is that him out of prison for good?

Dawn:

Well Nat might have thought so.  Nat’s appeal hearing started on Tuesday the 13th of November 2007 in Edinburgh, this lasted for two weeks where all the evidence was presented and gone over. It can often take months for a verdict to be decided after all the evidence is presented, so Lord Johnston, the judge overseeing the appeal, instructed that Nat go back to prison to await the result. Everyone was shocked by this. In actual fact the verdict of the appeal wasn’t announced until the 8th of May 2008, so Nat had been in prison for six months waiting for the verdict. His verdict was upheld, his appeal was refused, and he was to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Cole:

It’s like being on a roller coaster now.

Dawn:

I can’t keep up. So, following this, Nat’s legal team continued to ask for appeals, which were all refused. That was until May 2011 when Nat finally had an appeal granted. He won this appeal and his conviction for the murder of Arlene was quashed and he was free to live his life again.

Cole:

Are you kidding?! What is going on here?

Dawn:

(laughs) At this point I just feel really sorry for what Arlene’s family must be going through. They just weren’t allowed any peace. It’s bad enough that they still didn’t know what happened to Arlene or have her body, now the only person who has the strongest motive for wanting Arlene dead and who had been making her life a living hell while she was alive, was now a free man, free to carry on with his life. This verdict must have crushed them. They thought that finally at least the ordeal of going through a trial was over, but it had all been for nothing and they were back where they started, no Arlene, no evidence, no witnesses, and Nat free to live his life. It was however announced straight away that the Crown office would be building a case in order to bring a future charge against Nat for the murder of Arlene Fraser. Upon Nat’s release, the police decided that it would be a good time to release extracts of the lip reading report which was pretty damning for Nat. There may have been a few stragglers in Elgin who still believed that Nat was innocent, but after these extracts were released, their minds finally changed. Nat was on his own. Even his fruit and veg business partner turned against him saying he wanted nothing further to do with him, going as far as suing him for an unpaid tax bill. So life for Nat probably wasn’t as great as he would have expected back home, but at least he was still alive. However, things were about to take a positive turn for Nat. Reports had started to surface questioning the lip reader’s expertise who had been used to determine what Nat and Glen had spoken about during the prison visits. Her credentials turned out not to be true, and when police gave the recordings and the original transcript of Nat and Glen talking in prison to experienced forensic lip readers to see how it compared, the results were alarming. The original lip reader produced a transcript which consisted of 2,100 words, and the new experts agreed with only 234 words of this.

Cole:

Oh no.

Dawn:

Not only that, but other lip-reading recordings the lip-reader had produced detailed transcripts for were reviewed, and many were deemed to be such poor quality that they weren’t able to confirm any words, even though the original lip-reader had produced a detailed and long transcript of what was being said.

Cole:

Oh my God.

Dawn:

So not only had the three rings appearance in the bungalow come into question, but now also the only other evidence that the police had had now been proven unusable. How could they now possibly bring a murder case against Nat? But they did, as on the 23rd of April 2012 the second murder trial of Nat began in Edinburgh, this time with the addition of cameras being allowed to record the trial as a documentary, which was later shown on TV, and called The Murder Trial. Nat’s defence team started the proceedings by saying that Nat had a solid alibi and he could not possibly have kidnapped or murdered Arlene, and Hector Dick was named as the actual murderer. In this trial, the questions about the ring placement validity and the lip-reading expert’s report was brought up by the defence. Also, Hector Dick appeared again as a witness for the prosecution.

Cole:

Really?! I mean it’s been proven that he lies and lies again under oath, why bring this man to be a witness again? Plus, he was happily selling stories to any paper that would pay him. It’s just annoying.

Dawn:

Yeah. It annoyed others too, and the defence spent four days ripping his stories apart, basically making him out to be a liar, although he did a good job of this by himself with his ever-changing answers. Other witnesses that were called included Hector’s brother James, Nat’s previous business partner Ian Taylor, police officer Neil Lynch, who had been first on the scene, the manager and employees of the scrapyard, and a taxi driver from Elgin, amongst others. None of these witness statements were as damning as Hector’s.  Nat did not take the stand at this trial. Arlene’s sister, Carol, and her father, Hector, went through the ordeal again of not knowing what the verdict would be and were terrified this monster would walk free again. Thankfully they wouldn’t have long to wait, the jurors took only one day to deliberate. On the 30th of May 2012, 14 years after Arlene’s disappearance, the verdict by majority was guilty. Nat was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison without the possibility of parole. It was finally over for the family, they again had the verdict they deserved. They must have been overwhelmed with emotion this time, that finally they could concentrate on their grief of losing Arlene and not have the continual threat of her killer, her husband, being a free man. And that was the case until September 2013.

Cole:

Oh no, not again. 

Dawn:

When Nat tried to appeal the verdict of the second trial. However, this appeal was refused. 

Cole:

Thank God.

Dawn:

To this day Nat continues to plead his innocence, and has tried to appeal the verdict on numerous occasions. He will be 69 when he is eligible for parole. After the second trial, Hector continued to give exclusive interviews, for money obviously. Even as recently as the 28th of April 2018 he’s been making statements to the newspapers, this time he was urging Nat to finally reveal where he had buried Arlene’s body. Arlene’s family continue to believe that Nat arranged for Arlene to be killed, but many of them believe they know who the actual murderer is and that he should be behind bars too. Now, Nat’s daughter Natalie, who in 2020 was 27 years old, went on to have her own children. She has always maintained that her father is innocent of killing or being involved in her mother’s murder. She insists that the actual killer was her dad’s then friend Hector Dick. Jamie apparently lived in the bungalow in Smith Street for many years, with Natalie living there when she briefly split up with her partner. Arlene’s dad, Hector, who at the time of recording was 79, has only one wish, for Nat Fraser to finally reveal what he has done with Arlene’s remains. And finally, Hector Dick. He is still living in Elgin. Is it fair that this man told so many lies that he didn’t know himself what was true anymore, and that he had his tax bill written off? This man turned on his friend, told more and more outrageous lies, and yet he has lived a long and free life. Has there been justice for Arlene Fraser? Now, obviously there is a lot of information about this case and there’s only so much I can say in this episode, but like I said I did get a lot of information for this episode from a book called Death in a Cold Town The Arlene Fraser Case by Steve McGregor. I really enjoyed reading this book, as strange as that sounds, there was so much information there that I just couldn’t find anywhere else. If you have time and want to know even more about this case have a read, I’d highly recommend it. And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them, don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So that’s it for this week, come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there. Bye.

Granny Robertson:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter


A Murder, a Shooting Spree, and a Royal Pardon

A Murder, a Shooting Spree, and a Royal Pardon

Episode Summary

TRIGGER WARNING – This episode contains strong language, so listener discretion is advised. 

A murder, a shooting spree and a royal pardon. Nobody could have predicted the shocking events that took place in Glasgow, that all started with a murder in a town almost 40 miles away.  

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

The Ferris Conspiracy

Paul Ferris with Reg McKay

Synopsis

On Glasgow’s meanest streets life started well for the young Paul Ferris. How did he become Glasgow’s most feared gangster, deemed a risk to national security?

Arthur Thompson, Godfather of the crime world and senior partner of the Krays, recruited young Ferris as a bagman, debt collector and equaliser. Feared for his capacity for extreme violence, respected for his intelligence, Ferris was the Godfather’s heir apparent. But when gang warfare broke, underworld leaders traded in flesh, colluding with their partners – the police. Disgusted, Ferris left the Godfather and stood alone.

They gave him weeks to live.

While Ferris was caged in Barlinnie Prison’s segregation unit accused of murdering Thompson’s son, Fatboy, his two friends were shot dead the night before the funeral and grotesquely displayed in a car on the cortége’s route. Acquitted against all the odds, Ferris moved on, determined to make an honest living.

They would not let him.

The National Crime Squad, MI5, the police and two of the country’s most powerful gangsters saw to that. A maximum-security prisoner, Ferris is known as ‘Lucky’ because he is still alive.

This is one man’s unique insight into Britain’s crime world and the inextricable web of corruption – a revealing story of official corruption and unholy alliances.

Our Review

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Cole:

Warning Wee Ones, this episode contains some strong language.

Murder, a shooting spree and a royal pardon. Nobody could have predicted the shocking events that took place in Glasgow, that all started with a murder in a town 40 miles away.

Dawn and Cole:

Hi wee ones, I’m Cole and I’m Dawn, and this is Scottish Murders.

[THEME TUNE]

CRIME DIVERS PODCAST PROMOTION

Cole:

On Tuesday the 15th of July 1969, James Griffiths went on a shooting spree lasting about two hours, which started in the west of Glasgow and ended up in an area in the northeast of the city. What started as a misunderstanding created a domino effect, that might otherwise not have been if it were not for a cruel and heinous robbery and a murder that had happened on the 6th of July 1969. This case is still being talked about on the streets of Glasgow today by those that remember the terror of the day or through stories passed down by family members. Today, Glasgow has a diverse architectural scene and is the fifth most visited city in the UK. Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde which is host to an abundance of futuristic looking buildings, including the SEC Armadillo. The population is estimated at over 611,000. In 1969 however, the Glasgow streets were known for their bloodshed due to gangs such as the Cumbie and the Tongs, but nobody was prepared for what happened on an otherwise quiet Tuesday morning. James Griffiths was brought up in Rochdale, Greater Manchester in England, and from an early age he was involved in crime, later turning to armed robbery and safe blowing by the age of 13. James was in and out of young offenders centres as a child, and as an adult he frequented prison. However, even though James was a time-served criminal, he was not respected by his fellow cons, mainly because he would spend his time in prison boasting about his crimes and saying things like one day he’d use a gun on the police and that he would never be taken alive. He wasn’t taken seriously and just thought to be all talk. After being caught and arrested for yet another crime, James was sent to HMP Parkhurst prison, which is a high security prison on the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. Here he shared a cell with two Scots; Archibald Hall, who went on to become a serial killer known as the killer butler, and Paddy Meehan. Meehan was a top safe cracker and friend to Arthur Thompson, who the media dubbed The Godfather. Neither could be bothered with James and his usual boasting ways, until that is James managed to escape from HMP Parkhurst and get off the island, spending the ferry crossing chatting to a prison warden and his wife.

Dawn:

Did the prison guard not recognise him? Was he still in his prison clothes?

Cole:

It’s presumed that James had somehow changed from his prison clothes into civilian clothes, or at least had a coat on to cover his prison gear.

Dawn:

Okay.

Cole:

James was, however, captured again a few hours later on the mainland and brought back to Parkhurst, where he suddenly had a friend in Meehan, who invited him to Glasgow when he was released in early 1969, presumably for criminal activity as they were both safe crackers. Whatever the reason, this would prove to be a massive mistake by Meehan, one he would pay for dearly. James took Meehan up on the offer to come to Glasgow once he was released. On Sunday the 6th of July 1969, the two set out for a town called Stranraer, which is about 88 miles or 141 kilometres Southwest of Glasgow, to scope out a post office there that they had wanted to rob. On the way to Stranraer, Meehan and James would have passed through a town called Ayr, which is just under halfway between Glasgow and Stranraer, and it just so happened that the same night two men were breaking into the Ayr home of a wealthy elderly couple, Abraham Ross and his 72 year old wife Rachel, to steal their valuables. These two men tied up the couple before disgustingly assaulting and torturing them until they revealed where their valuables were. Mrs Ross had been bludgeoned so badly that she had sustained horrific head injuries from which she died. Abraham Ross was tied up and he had to lie beside his wife for a further 24 hours before being found.

Dawn:

Oh no, that’s horrible.

Cole:

It really is. And this murder shocked and scandalised Scotland.

Dawn:

I can understand why.

Cole:

Now, as Meehan was very well known to the police they frequently kept an eye on him, and they knew that Meehan was in the vicinity of Ayr that night, so he was arrested and taken in for questioning. On Monday the 14th of July 1969, eight days after the horrific murder, an identity parade was set up and a very frail and grief-stricken Abraham Ross identified Meehan as being the man that had broken into his house that night.

Dawn:

What?!

Cole:

There’s more. Abraham had also reported to the police that the robbers had addressed each other as Pat and Jim. Both the identity parade and the evidence was later stated by Meehan and others to have been set up by the police.

Dawn:

Oh okay.

Cole:

So, Meehan was in a bit of trouble. He knew he didn’t do what he was being accused of, but he’d been up to no good with James that night. Meehan didn’t want to point the finger at James and use him as an alibi, something to do with the criminal code, and James wasn’t coming forward by himself. When it became clear that Meehan was facing a murder charge he eventually gave the police James’ name as an alibi, and said that he was staying at 29 Holyrood Crescent in Glasgow’s West End under the name of Mr Douglas. Meehan was released from custody while the police spoke to James about providing him an alibi. The police knew that James, now 34, had a criminal record for armed robbery and safe cracking, so they sent five plain clothes detectives to question James about providing Meehan an alibi, at his flat in Holyrood Crescent on the morning of Tuesday the 15th of July 1969. They could not have imagined in their wildest dreams exactly what was about to unfold in front of them. Now, from his flat, James saw the detectives arriving. He heard them climbing the stairs of the block of flats and knock repeatedly at his door. They received no answer. The detectives knew that James was home and upon getting no answer they broke the door down, coming face to face with James screaming, swearing and firing a sawn off shotgun at them.

Dawn:

Shit!

Cole:

The detectives ran for the stairs but a shot caught one detective, DC William Walker who was 28, square in the back, sending him tumbling down the stairs. James barricaded himself in the flat, and going from window to window took shots at anyone that had the misfortune of being near his flat at the time, including Samuel Collins who was 65, Mary McKinnon who was 46 and Jack Kerr who was 22. All had been short but thankfully survived their injuries. Now, apparently a lady who lived just along from where the shooting was taking place was up a ladder decorating her front door. At first she didn’t pay any attention to the gunfire, maybe just a normal Tuesday for her. It wasn’t until a bullet embedded itself right next to her in the wall that she decided that maybe she had better get inside out the way. James would have known that if he was to continue to keep the police at bay, then he would need more ammunition, so he made his way down to his car, undetected, and from the boot of his car he retrieved a sniper’s hunting rifle and bullets, before heading back to his flat and continuing to shoot at anything or anyone in the vicinity, including the ever-increasing police presence with their bulletproof shields and police marksmen. There’s actually a picture of James at the window of his flat in Holyrood with his rifle in his hand taking shots at everyone below, which I’ll put on our website. It’s really eerie to see it now. The street would have been in complete panic with gunfire raining down onto the street, and people below screaming and running to escape. The police were just about ready to move in with tear gas when suddenly there was silence. The police below looked at each other perplexed. Had James given up?

Dawn:

Well had he?

Cole:

No. James had escaped his flat through an attic window and made his way down into an alley behind the flat. The next sighting of James was on Henderson Street, about a six minute leisurely stroll from his flat, although I doubt he would have been strolling, I think he would have been running.

Dawn:

I think he might have been.

Cole:

Here he came across a 57 year old salesman, James Kerr, in his car, who probably just stopped to find out the details of the next client he was going to visit. He hadn’t seen James approach, so he was a bit taken aback when a dark-haired frenzied man with a bandolier of bullets across his chest loomed over him, with a rifle in one hand and a shotgun in the other. His surprise rapidly turned to fear as James raised his gun and fired a shot through the car window, deafening Kerr, before pulling him out of his car and speeding off in it.

Dawn:

Was Kerr shot as well?

Cole:

Yeah, James Kerr had been shot on his left shoulder, but thankfully he survived the shooting.

Dawn:

Oh good.

Cole:

As James drove manically about the nearby streets, he continued to shoot at passers by, and unfortunately shot at and grazed 24 year old John Curry’s ear in Napier’s Hall Street. He also shot Ian Watson who was 23 in Great Western Road, and shot at Robert McAdam, who was 57, in Barrington Drive. Again, thankfully, although they would have been in an absolute shock and disbelief, these men survived their injuries. Obviously, James found it quite difficult to drive while firing shorts at pedestrians as he passed them, as after only driving the stolen car for about three miles or just under five kilometres he crashed it. Unfortunately he was unhurt and he ran to the nearest pub, which was The Round Toll on Possil Road. Now, pubs in the area were used to a bit of trouble, but I think this was even a step up for this pub. Once in the pub James waved his rifle around, firing two shots into the ceiling and yelling “Don’t Mess! I’ve got a gun, I’m gonna stick you up!” Bang, bang, bang, bang. bang!

Dawn:

(laughs) You fuc*ing idiot. What did he really say, Cole?

Cole:

“Don’t mess! I’ve shot two coppers already.” He then helped himself to a bottle of brandy and proceeded to gulp it down, while the punters looked on terrified. A 65 year old man called William Hughes happened to move slightly, causing James to turn around and shoot him twice. William died a few days later from his wounds.

Dawn:

No!

Cole:

Yeah. It was really unfortunate.

Dawn:

Oh poor man.

Cole:

The bar manager, James Connolly, was having no more of this. He had tolerated James helping himself to a drink, but when he picked on his customers he stepped over the line for the bar manager. The bar manager shouted at James “You dirty bastard! What did you do that for?! He was just an old man.”

Dawn:

Oh I love this man.

Cole:

He then grabbed James by the scruff of his neck and forcibly threw him out of the pub, dumping him on the pavement, before turning on his heels and walking back into the pub.

Dawn:

Yay!

Cole:

Usually in Scotland you get oxtered out of the club.

Dawn:

Is that true?

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

I’ve never heard of that.

Cole:

Yeah. They put their hands under your armpits and oxter you out of the club.

Dawn:

Oh. No, I did not know that.

Cole:

I saw Billy Connolly talking about it once. Do you want to explain what an oxter is?

Dawn:

Oh, it’s your armpit.

Cole:

It’s the Scottish word for your armpit. James Connolly, the bar manager, was recognized for his bravery and received the Glasgow Corporation Medal for Bravery for his heroism. So well deserved. What an amazing guy for protecting his punters.

Dawn:

I’m so glad that he was recognised for doing that. That was pretty amazing.

Cole:

Yeah. Really brave. No doubt James wasn’t too happy about being dumped outside on the pavement, and probably fully intended to march back into the pub and finish the job he started. However, another brave passer-by had seen James wielding a gun and a rifle and decided to tackle him outside the pub. Unfortunately, the man was unsuccessful and was left wounded in struggle. By this time the police had heard the shots being fired and were in pursuit. James would have heard the sirens getting closer, so now he was looking for his next mode of transport to escape. It just so happened that a lorry driven by John Craig had pulled up nearby the pub when he heard what he thought was an explosion. He certainly didn’t expect to see a man wielding a rifle and a shotgun, firing shots at him, while running in his direction on a Tuesday morning. John, thankfully, had quick reactions and was out of his cab sprinting away to take shelter behind a lamppost as fast as he could, with James taking a final shot at him and thankfully missing, before he jumped in his lorry and sped away.

Dawn:

I’m sorry, he hid behind a lamppost?

Cole:
Yes, he hid behind a lamppost, he must have been a very skinny gentleman. So, James, in his newly acquired lorry, continued to shoot at unsuspecting pedestrians as he flew down street after street, this time hitting Peter Patterson who was 39 in Possil Road. James wasn’t that familiar with the city but he probably would have thought that as long as he could hear the sirens of the police then he could avoid them, changing his direction and just keeping one step ahead of them. This might have been a good strategy if he’d known the area, however, he ended up in the Springburn area of Glasgow, about a 1.5 mile or 2.4 kilometre drive from The Round Toll Pub. He hurled the lorry into Kay Street and slammed on the brakes, he had reached a dead end. He then jumped down from the lorry cab, with his shotgun and rifle in hand, and made his way to 26 Kay Street, where he broke into the top floor flat. There have been two different reports about what he found when he broke into this flat; one version is that the tenants, Valerie Boyd who was 21 and her young daughter, were inside the flat.  It was reported that Valerie had been shot but not fatally, before they managed to escape the flat. The second version is the flat was in fact empty when James broke.  I’m not sure which version is true,  either way nobody was killed. James then went from window to window in the flat in Kay Street, from the back to the front of the flat, again firing at anyone that happened to be in the vicinity. Unfortunately, situated at the back of the flat and within shooting distance was a children’s playground where many children were enjoying being out and about in the sunshine, as it was the school holidays. James’ shots managed to hit an eight-year-old boy, called Peter Traynor, in the stomach, but thankfully it was only superficial, still traumatic though. And also a mother called Mrs Irene Reid, who was shot in the leg. The police eventually did manage to get all of the terrified and crying children and their mothers out of harms way. The police had by this time surrounded the whole flat, back and front, so there was at least no chance of James slipping out through a back alley this time. The police also by this time realised just what they were dealing with and a phone call was made to the Army asking for help. In the confusion a baby in a pram had been left on Kay Street and bullets were fired around the pram. I really can’t imagine why the pram with a baby in it had been left in the streets, in the line of fire, when a gunman was firing shots, but thankfully the baby was not hit and a brave policeman crawled out from safety, grabbed the baby and it was passed safely into a ground floor flat. Hopefully, afterwards, Child Services were also called.

Dawn:

(laughs) Can you imagine though. You’re just walked along the street, and you’re like, gunfire, I know what  I’ll do. (laughs) I’m just leaving this thing here, fu*k it. It’ll be fine.

Cole:

Fu*k this baby.

Dawn:
Didn’t like it anyway.

Cole:

Also walking down Kay Street, unaware of what was about to happen, was a man who had just come out of hospital where he’d been recovering from a knife attack. James shot this poor man in the neck. Someone else who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time was a couple who had only just got married, Irene Reed, who was an 18 year old, was hit, and her new husband was so angry that the police had to jump on him and hold him back as he ran towards James and his shotgun.

Dawn:

Oh don’t mess with his woman eh?

Cole:

Exactly. So, with the shooting spree now having been going on for almost two hours, and shots still being fired from every room of the flat above, endangering everyone below, and with no end in sight, the daunting task of stopping James was given to two brave police officers, Chief Superintendent Malcolm Finlayson and Detective Sergeant Ian Smith. They both armed themselves with revolvers and made their way undetected to the flat, slowly and quietly going up the stairs. When they got to the front door of the flat Finlayson opened the letterbox so that you could see inside. However, the metal squeaked on being opened and gave them away to James inside.

Dawn:

Oh no.

Cole:

On finding out that the police were at the door of the flat he raised his rifle and came running towards the door. Knowing James would be more than likely to shoot them if they didn’t do something, Finlayson placed the barrel of his gun through the letterbox and fired once, hitting James in the shoulder. James fell to the floor and the two men instantly came through the door and surrounded him. They kicked his guns away and carried him downstairs to their waiting colleagues. However, on reaching the street, James had died from his wounds. Apparently, the bullet had gone into James’s shoulder, ricocheting off a bone and sliced through his aorta artery, the main artery of the heart. Later, a pathologist said the path the bullet had taken was a chance in a thousand. The frenzied shooting spree was finally over, but not before James had shot a hundred bullets, injured 12 people and killed one, William Hughes. James was the first wanted man on record to be shot dead by Scottish police. James was given a paupers funeral and lies in Linn Cemetery in Glasgow. Chief Superintendent Malcolm Finlayson and Detective Sergeant Ian Smith both received the Glasgow Corporation Medal for Bravery, and were given the British Empire Medal by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Finlayson apparently got to keep the actual gun that he shot James with when he retired in 1971, and he kept it in a box at his home on the Isle of Skye until he died in 1994 at the age of 83.

Dawn:

Good for them, I’m glad they both got recognised for what they did.

Cole:

Yeah, me too. So the story doesn’t actually end there, because we still haven’t had justice for Rachel Ross.

Dawn:

Oh my God, yes! I’d totally forgotten about why this had all started.

Cole:

Yeah, well, a lot has happened since then.

Dawn:

Yeah, it has.

Cole:

So, after James’s shooting spree, the police took this as an act of guilt, and in their minds that meant Meehan was guilty of the murder of Rachel Ross too. So, Meehan was immediately arrested and charged.

Dawn:

I don’t quite follow their thinking there, but, okay.

Cole:

I guess they couldn’t really know because James had died and hadn’t got a chance to say why he did what he did.

Dawn:

Yeah. So, they’ve just made an assumption.

Cole:

Yes. Meehan went to trial on the 24th of October 1969, where he submitted a defence of incrimination, claiming that the murder had actually been committed by another man named Ian Waddell.

Dawn:

What does defence of incrimination mean?

Cole:

So, it just means that he was alleging someone else had committed the crime, Ian Waddle.

Dawn:

Ah, I see, okay.

Cole:

Meehan knew of Waddell due to their crime world connections, so I’m assuming he was given Waddell’s name by one of his associates. However, despite this, Meehan was found guilty by a majority verdict of the murder of Rachel Ross and received a life sentence.

Dawn:

Okay, but I thought that he was somewhere else that night?

Cole:

Well, that is what he maintained, but obviously because Abraham Ross identified him they thought that it was an open and shut case, but not everybody agreed.

Dawn:

Hmm I can see why.

Cole:

Meehan spent his time in prison in solitary confinement and continued to proclaim his innocence from prison. He continued to appeal and assert that he was the victim of police framing, specifically stating that the identity parade had been rigged and the evidence had been suppressed that pointed to others haven’t actually committed the murder. This was backed up by journalist and broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy, Meehan’s advocate at the trial Nicholas Fairbairn, and others, who all suspected that there had indeed been a miscarriage of justice.  Also, in Kennedy’s book in 1975, he puts forward two names that were likely to be the killers; Ian Waddell and William Tank McGuinness.

Dawn:

Okay, he’s new.

Cole:

He is new. With the support of Kennedy, Fairbairn and Joe Beltrami, Meehan solicitor at the time of the trial, a campaign was set up, which eventually secured Meehan a Royal Pardon in May 1976, as well as receiving compensation of £50,000 in 1984, which is around £170,000 and about $213,000 in today’s money. On receiving his Royal Pardon and being released, Meehan had spent seven years in prison.

Dawn:

How were they able to secure the Royal Pardon? Was there new evidence presented? 

Cole:

Okay, so this is quite a story, with a couple of different versions being told. So, you remember I mentioned that Ludovic Kennedy had put forward in his book that a likely killer of Rachel Ross could have been William Tank McGuiness?

Dawn:

Yes.

Cole:

Well, it turns out that William Tank McGuiness was also a client of Joel Beltrami, Meehan solicitor at the time of the trial and before.

Dawn:

Oh really. Wouldn’t that have been a conflict of interest?

Cole:

It would, and this is why Joe Beltrami was unable to reveal the fact that he actually knew of Tank McGuiness’s involvement in Rachel Ross’s murder, that was until Tank McGuiness’s death in 1976.

Dawn:

So, he knew that someone else was actually responsible for Rachel’s murder, but he kept quiet, even though he was representing Meehan and he was actually going to go to prison for it?

Cole:

Yes. Although Joe Beltrami believed that due to a client confidentiality he was unable to reveal this fact until after Tank McGuiness’s death, and this may have been the reason why he fought so hard to secure a Royal Pardon for Meehan.

Dawn:

That’s quite shocking that Beltrami only came forward with this information after Tank McGuiness’s death.

Cole:

I know. Meehan’s Royal pardon followed shortly after.

Dawn:

Poor Meehan. I mean he really got the raw end of the stick here didn’t he?

Cole:

Yeah, he did. And in an inquiry report by Lord Hunter, he too did not agree with Beltrami’s claim that there was a solicitor client relationship between him and Tank McGuinness at the time in question, going as far as suggesting that perhaps the best thing that Beltrami could have done back in 1969 when he was representing Meehan was to have stepped down and let another solicitor represent Meehan.

Dawn:

Well, yeah, that was the least he should have done. So, anyway, what happened to Tank McGuiness? How did he actually die?

Cole:
Well, there’s a couple of different stories. One is he was killed in a drunken street brawl. However, I found another story that was very interesting. In the book The Ferris Conspiracy by Reg McKay and Paul Ferris, it is stated that an arrest warrant was out for Tank McGuiness when he was picked up by two police officers. One of these police officers later stated that instead of taking him to the police station, they were ordered to drop him in a specific street in Glasgow, where he was subsequently beaten to death.

Dawn:
Oh, so, who was behind that?

Cole:

Well according to The Ferris Conspiracy book it was Arthur Thompson, who was a Scottish gangster known as The Godfather, who had ordered Tank McGuiness to be killed.

Dawn:

Why would he do that?

Cole:

Well, the book goes on to say that both Meehan and Tank McGuinness were long-term friends and asssociates of Arthur Thompson. However, more importantly, Joe Beltrami was Arthur’s solicitor, who had frequently got him out of tight scrapes, and he knew that Beltrami was struggling to get Meehan a Royal Pardon and was unable to break his client confidentiality restrictions with Tank McGuiness, so Arthur stepped in.

Dawn:

Alright, that’s quite interesting.

Cole:

And there’s even more. Following the information about Tank McGuiness’s involvement in the Rachel Ross murders coming out, it was then reported that apparently McGuiness had been stopped near Rachel and Abraham Ross’s house on the night of the murder by the police.

Dawn:

What?!

Cole:

But he supposedly pretended he was just drunk and had just missed the last bus home to Glasgow. He wasn’t arrested but sent on his way.

Dawn:

I’m shocked. I don’t know what to say.

Cole:

Well, I guess the police didn’t know about the break-in and the murder of Rachel at that point, it would have been 24 hours later before they were found tied up, but when they did know you’d think they might have followed up that line of inquiry.

Dawn:

Yeah, they should definitely have followed up that line of inquiry. I can now understand why Meehan was so suspicious of a police cover up.

Cole:

Yeah, it really makes no sense. A further interesting development that didn’t happen until after McGuiness’s murder is that apparently there were two witnesses, a Mr and Mrs Marshall who had seen two men acting suspiciously near Rachel and Abraham’s house shortly before the murderer. Upon Mrs Marshall finally being shown the correct photograph seven years later, she positively identified that it was William McGuiness that she had seen near Rachel and Abraham’s home that day.

Dawn:

Wait, you said they were shown the correct photograph seven years later, what did you mean?

Cole:

Well, according to Meehan in an article in The Herald newspaper on the 22nd of November 1989, Beltrami had told the police to show the witnesses a picture of a Michael McGuiness instead of a William McGuiness.

Dawn:

What?

Cole:

Yeah. Even though Beltrami knew William McGinnis and presumably what he looked like as he was one of his clients. And even more incredulously, William McGuiness actually had a record of tying people up.

Dawn:

That’s quite incredible really, and I could totally see why Meehan felt overwhelmingly that he was being framed.

Cole:

So can I.  In Beltrami’s book A Deadly Innocence, he did concede that with hindsight there could have been MI5 involvement.

Dawn:

What now?

Cole:

He went on to state that he knew nothing of William McGuiness’s involvement until much later. And, according to the Law Society of Scotland, he had only been able to disclose this information following McGuiness’s death, due to their client solicitor relationship, but that he had campaigned for seven years to secure Meehan a Royal Pardon.

Dawn:

Alright, that was really big of him.

Cole:

I know. Joe Beltrami died in 2015 at the age of 83. Following Meehan’s Royal pardon in 1976, journalist and broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy continued a prolonged campaign and eventually an inquiry was ordered into the miscarriage of justice, which was chaired by Lord Hunter, who was a Scottish judge at the time. However, having received and processed all of the information that was available to him about this case, it would take a further five years before Lord Hunter eventually concluded in a report in July 1982 that Meehan could not have committed the murder, but that he may actually have been involved in the background. So, he believed that Meehan may have been aware of the robbery, but maybe not what would be done to Rachel and Abraham. The report also added that there was insufficient evidence to support the claim that Meehan had been a victim of police conspiracy. Ludovic Kennedy, who has written many many books, also wrote a book about Meehan’s  case called A Presumption of Innocence, just if you want to delve further into this particular case. I could literally do a whole episode about Meehan alone. If you are interested there is a whole host of information on the internet about Meehan and his fight for justice. Meehan died from throat cancer on the 14th of August 1994 at the age of 67.

Dawn:

So, after all that, we still haven’t had justice for Rachel Ross’s murder, with Meehan now being pardoned and Tank McGuiness now being dead. So, what about the guy mentioned at Meehan’s trial? Was it Ian Waddell?

Cole:

Yes. He was the man named at Meehan’s trial, and by Ludovic Kennedy in his 1975 book as a potential suspect in the killing. Not long after the trial, Ian Waddell actually confessed to journalists that he had indeed committed the murder of Rachel Ross.

Dawn:

What?!

Cole:

Yeah. However, it wasn’t until 1976, after Meehan’s pardon, that Waddell was finally charged and tried for the murder of Rachel Ross, where he too submitted a defence of incrimination and claimed that the murder was actually committed by Meehan.

Dawn:

Oh okay. What is wrong with this guy?! He speaks to journalists and says yeah, I did this, and then when he’s charged and on trial he changes his story and says no, it wasn’t me, it was actually Meehan.

Cole:

Yeah, I know. He seems to be a bit all over the place. I don’t really know what he was thinking there.

Dawn:

Yeah, he’s just messing about.

Cole:

Anyway, even more incredulous the judge presiding over Waddell’s trial, Lord Robertson, in his closing statement managed to sway the jury into acquitting Waddell, simply because he was still not convinced of Meehan’s innocence or happy about Meehan receiving a free pardon. So, Waddell was acquitted.

Dawn:

I’m beginning to feel that everybody just has it in for Meehan. I’m not saying that he’s a saint, but he was pardoned!

Cole:

Yeah. He wasn’t actually there that night. Waddell was actually murdered in 1982 by Andrew Gentle, an associate of his, after they carried out a robbery together where they had murdered a woman called Josephine Chipperfield. Unfortunately, Waddell was dead so he couldn’t be charged and tried for this murder, but Gentle was convicted of both the murder of Waddell and Josephine. Gentle later committed suicide in prison, but that’s a whole other episode right there. So, what started that day in 1969 as just a few detectives wanting to speak to James about providing an alibi for Meehan the night of Rachel Ross’s murder, had turned into a shooting spree from Glasgow’s West End to the north of Glasgow, and continued to have ramifications over many years to come. What I did find seriously lacking though was information about Rachel and Abraham Ross and their story. I would have loved to have said more about them both, the victims. I would like to know what happened to Abraham. I know this was back in 1969, but if anyone can remember anything or if any details have been passed down by families, please send us a message to let us know, cause we’d love to do a mini episode about Rachel and Abraham Ross and their lives.

Dawn:

And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them, don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So that’s it for this week, come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there! Bye! 

Granny Robertson: Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.


Left Behind

Left Behind

Episode Summary

Marion Hodge and Helen Wilkie’s tragic stories may be ten years apart, but the outcome for their children was the same, they were left behind to grow up without their mothers after they suddenly disappeared from their lives.  

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

If you have any information relating to this case, contact;

Crimestoppers UK anonymously on 0800 555 111 or crimestoppers-uk.org

Galloway Police Dedicated Phone Line on 01387 242355 (UK)

Refuge – 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 (UK) or nationaldahelpline.org.uk

The Law Killers

by Alexander McGregor

Synopsis

True crime from Dundee, covering the most fascinating and shocking cases from the last century. Having reported on many of them first-hand, journalist Alexander McGregor has unique insight into the cases and his stories are as chilling as they are compelling. In The Law Killers Alexander examines some of the country’s most fascinating and chilling cases and peels back the civilised layers of our society to reveal what lies beneath.

Our Review

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Dawn:

Marion Hodge and Helen Wilkie’s tragic stories may be ten years apart, but the outcome for their children was the same, they were left behind to grow up without their mothers after they suddenly disappeared from their lives.

Dawn and Cole:

Hi Wee Ones, I’m Dawn and I’m Cole, and this is Scottish Murders.

[THEME TUNE]

Dawn:

Marion Hodge was a 34 year old married mum of two when she disappeared in 1984. Little is known about Marion’s younger life. other than she would have been called Marion Gibson and she had a brother Robert. It’s also been mentioned that she had been a Gala Queen when she would have been about 14 or 15 years old, but I wasn’t able to confirm this.

Cole:

So, what’s a Gala Queen?

Dawn:

Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either. We didn’t have anything like this when we were growing up. But, according to the National Museum Scotland website, a Gala day is quite a tradition every year in certain parts of Scotland, where young and old people come together, where sports are played, houses are decorated, and there are food stalls, parades, floats, fancy dress and brass bands, kids get to be the centre of attention and one of them is crowned either king or queen for the area that year where the gala day is being held.

Cole:

Alright, that sounds like a really nice day out.

Dawn:

It does doesn’t it?

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

I don’t know why we didn’t have something like that when we were growing up.

Cole:

Me either. I’d have loved that, and I would have been crowned for sure.

Dawn:

(laugh) You didn’t laugh.

Cole:

It’s not a laughing matter.

Dawn:

Oh you were deadly serious, oh sorry. Well it’s thought that Marion was crowned the Lockerbie Gala Queen, but like I said I haven’t been able to confirm this for sure from my research. 

Cole:

Did she did live in Lockerbie?

Dawn:

She did live in Lockerbie.

Cole:

Oh.

Dawn:

That’s why she was the Lockerbie Gala Queen.

Cole:

Lockerbie.

Dawn:

I know but we’re not alluding to our other story.

Cole:

A lot, a lot seems to happen in Lockerbie.

Dawn:

Hmm really?

Cole:

Well, let me tell you a story.

Dawn:

Maybe, maybe we’ll leave that for another episode. 

Cole:

Okay.

Dawn:

Anyway, so, in March 1969, when Marion was 19 years old, she married Bill Hodge, who was 24, in her hometown of Lockerbie, where they continued to reside. According to Wikipedia, Lockerbie is a small town in Dumfries and Galloway located in south western Scotland approximately 75 miles or 120 kilometres south of Glasgow, and is about 16 miles or 25 kilometres away from the England/Scotland border.

Cole:

Did you know that Calvin Harris is from Dumfries and Galloway.

Dawn:

You told me that already.

Cole:

Well, it’s one of my top Scotland facts and one of my top Lockerbie facts. I’m apparently obsessed with it. Carry on.

Dawn:

Four months after Bill and Marion got married they welcomed their son Bobby, followed about two years later by their daughter Kathryn. The couple and their children lived in a farmhouse in Balgray, a remote property, but still only a few miles from Lockerbie Centre, where the couple raised their children. Now, it seems that Bill had a number of jobs over the years, he was apparently a manager at an agricultural merchants.

Cole:

Is that someone who sells farm animals and equipment?

Dawn:

Nearly. But it’s someone who works closely with farmers helping them to purchase items such as grain, fertilisers or seeds. He also apparently worked as a security officer and/or safety officer, although they may have been the same job. Once the children were at school Marion worked as a clerk in a bank in Lockerbie. Now, it’s not known the state of Marion and Bill’s relationship throughout the years, but presumably the relationship had been having problems, as on the evening of the 5th of July 1984, Bill accused his wife of having an affair with a family friend. Going as far as confronting the man the same night about this, but the man denied the allegations. Now, I can imagine the couple would have fought that night, because if Bill had these thoughts in his head he was hardly just going to let it drop, and at some point apparently Marion told Bill that she was going to leave him. Bill said that the next morning about 8 a.m. on the 6th of July 1984, he dropped Marion off at the bus station in Whitesands in Dumfries, which is about a 30 minute drive from their home, after Marion had asked him to take her there. He said that she’d taken a blue suitcase with her and a brown handbag, and that she had about a £1,000 or $1,300 in cash with her.

Cole:

So, do we know why she had so much cash on her, or like where she was planning to go?

Dawn:

It wasn’t known by Bill where Marion might be going. Maybe she just wanted to get away for a while. Maybe the cash was to help her get by while she was away. Now, as this was a Friday, presumably Bill would have then gone to work, no doubt with a lot of emotions about what was going on in his private life. The fact that Marion possibly wanted to get away for a while wasn’t really a surprise, and her brother even said in an interview in The Sun Newspaper later that he could understand Marion wanting to get away from Lockerbie for a bit as everybody knows everybody, and there probably would be a bit of gossip about an affair. However, he also said in the same interview that there had never been a whiff of scandal in relation to Marion. The strange thing about Marion leaving on this day was the fact that it was her son Bobby’s 15th birthday. Regardless of what is going on in a mother’s life, would Marion have really just walked out that morning on the very same day as her son’s birthday? Although he was turning 15 so perhaps her son was planning on spending time with friends for his birthday, so maybe she thought she’d not be missed. Anyway, Marion wasn’t there for her son’s birthday. And as time went on and her family had had no contact with Marion they began to worry. Now, it’s not reported exactly when the family contacted the police, I imagine they would have given Marion some time thinking she just wanted a break, but they would have become worried when Marion didn’t make contact. When the police were contacted a missing person inquiry was launched, and the police had to firstly try to determine if it was more sinister than just Marion wanting time alone, even though her family were adamant that she was a devoted mother to her children and that she would not just disappear of her own accord and not contact her family again, something which the police themselves also found baffling. So, the police’s first port of call was the bus station to try to find out where Marion could have gone, but they could find no trace of Marion ever having been there. Nobody, including taxi drivers, staff or the public, remembered seeing her at all.

Cole:

Oh, that’s quite odd and kind of ominous.

Dawn:

Yes, it is a bit odd that nobody could place her there. Following having no luck in tracing Marion’s movements at the bus station, the police issued a nationwide appeal for anyone to come forward if they’d seen Marion Hodge, who they described as 34 years old, five foot four inches, slim build, dark brown collar length hair, sharp features, fresh complexion, prominent teeth, brown eyes and wore contact lenses or glasses.

Cole:

Prominent teeth? Was she a vampire?  

Dawn:

(laughs) Well, I’ve seen a photo of Marion, which is also on the website, and all I can say is that she has a slight overbite, but, no, she’s not a vampire. (laughs)

Cole:

Well maybe we’ll just never know.

Dawn:

(laughs) The police, now beginning to wonder if Marion wasn’t just missing, also searched a quarry and other locations in the area, but Marion was not found. During a missing person investigation, the police try to establish if the person that is missing is deliberately missing or if there is another reason, such as they’ve been murdered, and they do this by trying to establish if bank cards, phones, doctors, dentists etcetera have been accessed or used since their disappearance. What the police found out was that an hour after Bill said he dropped Marion off at the bus station her bank card had been used to withdraw £100 or $130 from a cash machine in Dumfries. This was the last time the card was used.

Cole:

Didn’t her husband say that she had cash on her?

Dawn:

Yeah, he did.

Cole:

So, I wonder why she’d go out and get some more cash then? Definitely not to buy garlic.

Dawn:

No. (laughs) It could have been to buy garlic. No, it’s actually a good point. But even more strange is the fact that it took three attempts for the right pin number to be entered.

Cole:

Oh that’s strange.

Dawn:

It is a bit strange, but maybe she was upset and maybe just forgot, I’ve actually done that myself. But her brother Robert had other ideas. He said in an interview with the Daily Record that when the police told the family that the pin number had been put in wrongly twice he immediately felt that this was Marion’s killer trying to convince everyone that Marion had left of her own free will. He went on to say that he had no doubt his sister was murdered the day she disappeared. Another strange thing that the police found out upon speaking to Marion’s colleagues at the bank where she worked, was that three days after her husband dropped her off at the bus station a colleague of Marion’s was called at his home and told that Marion was okay but that she wouldn’t be returning to work. This caller was never traced.

Cole:

Okay, that is quite weird. I mean, why would someone ring her colleague and not her boss? But also why would you say she’s okay but she’s not going to be in? That makes me feel like she’s not okay. It’s just all very suspicious.

Dawn:

Yeah, it is, it’s very strange. And why call him at home as well, you would just call the bank not somebody at home.

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

I mean, the bank card being used and the pin number being forgotten I could just about accept, but this, no, this is something more sinister.

Cole:

Yeah. And maybe you could accept the bank card, but I, I can’t accept that.

Dawn:

All right then, well, fine.(laughs)

Cole:

So, was Marion’s husband a suspect? You know it’s always the people closest to you that are looked at first.

Dawn:

So, yes, he would have been interviewed by the police as he had when the last person to see her, or one of the last people to have seen her alive, but no he was never an official person of interest. The police would have checked out his account of what happened on the morning Marion disappeared, and even though there was no cameras or CCTV back then, which could easily have corroborated his side of things, there must have been some evidence or a witness that came forward to have backed up what he had said. Also, nothing is said about whether Marion and Bill’s children, Kathryn and Bobby, were in the house the night before or the morning Marion asked to be taken to the bus station, but perhaps they were present and could back up what their dad had said had happened. I’m only guessing of course. And so, with no evidence or witnesses or further information to go on, the case grinded to a halt. But Marion’s family were convinced that Marion was dead, with her brother Robert saying in an interview with The Sun Newspaper in 2017, that Marion was a straightforward person who he trusted. She would never have just disappeared and not contacted her family again. She would have got in touch with them if she could, and would never put a family through the heartache that they were going through. Over the years Marion’s family’s heartache would continue, but it boiled over in 1992, eight years after Marion’s disappearance, when her husband, Bill, made an application for the court to officially declare Marion dead. This attempt was blocked by Marion’s parents, who alleged that they believed Bill had in fact killed Marion. However, this finally was granted by the court of session in Edinburgh, stating that Marion had officially died at midnight on the 6th of July 1991.

Cole:

So, why did he decide to get Marion declared officially dead at this time? I mean obviously he would have wanted to get on with his life, but was there a reason?

Dawn:

Well, he actually waited a further year after the standard period of seven years, but, yes, I imagine he wanted to get on with his life and end that chapter. Bill had actually met another woman called Penny three years after Marion went missing.

Cole:

Okay, so that was a respectable time after Marion went missing, and he waited a year after the official seven years to have Marion declared officially dead, so nothing suspicious or disrespectful in that.

Dawn:

No, I agree. Bill and Penny did marry soon after Marion was declared officially dead and the couple lived about 15 miles away from where Bill had lived with Marion.

Cole:

Yeah, I can imagine it would have been strange being married and living in the same house where your missing wife used to live.

Dawn:

Yeah, it would have been. The marriage didn’t last long though and ended abruptly one day when Penny came home to find that Bill had packed all of his things and left her.

Cole:

Oh, okay. Did she know that was coming at least?

Dawn:

Well, from what I’ve read no, I don’t think she did.

Cole:

Oh, that’s nice.

Dawn:

Mmmh. So, life did go on for Marion’s family and children, although the fact that Marion was still missing had hung over the family for years. Oh and by the way, all this time Marion was still classed as a missing person, however, that was to change in March 2006, 22 years after her disappearance.

Cole:

Is that because they still hadn’t found a body?

Dawn:

Yes, that was the reason. In February 2006 Detective Superintendent Bill Gillis, who led the team who looked at unsolved cases, released a statement saying that the missing person inquiry into Marion’s disappearance was Dumfries and Galloway police’s last outstanding long-term missing person inquiry and that there continued to be a lot of unanswered questions, and so his team would be taking a further look into it, starting by putting up posters throughout the region asking for any information about what became of Marion and any sightings of Marion at the time or since. However, Detective Superintendent Bill Gillis confirmed that he was still treating it as a missing person inquiry. At the time, Marion’s brother, Robert, said that he continued to believe that Marion had been killed and he was hoping for some new information so the family could finally have some closure. Only a month later, following the posters being put up in the region things had changed, and finally this case was now being classed as a murder.

Cole:

Oh, so what happened? Did they find Marion’s body?

Dawn:

No, they definitely hadn’t found Marion’s body, but I can only assume the new information was that someone had come forward giving the name of a person thought to have been involved in Marion’s disappearance. As on Saturday the 11th of March 2006, Dumfries and Galloway Police made a statement saying that a man had been detained in connection with Marion Hodge’s murder, and that a report was going to be sent to the Procurator Fiscal in Dumfries recommending prosecution. However, after this man was detained and questioned for six hours, Detective Superintendent Bill Gillis confirmed that this man had now been released without charge. Despite the 12 strong team working on this case and hoping for new evidence to lead them to Marion’s killer or body, other than one man being questioned, the case went cold again. However, three years later in 2009, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Marion’s disappearance, another appeal was launched asking for information into the disappearance of Marion. There was a new detective on the case now, Detective Superintendent Kate Thompson, and she said “We remain resolute in our belief that the circumstances surrounding Marion’s disappearance are suspicious, and therefore it is vital that any person who has any information which could assist this inquiry come forward now. We fully appreciate the distress this investigation has had on Marion’s family and we will continue to investigate all lines of inquiry to try and provide the answers they so desperately need. While the strange surroundings of Marion’s disappearance continue to be investigated and police officers do continue to make appeals and ask the public for information and have assured Marion’s family that they will continue to do so, Marion is still missing and her family still have no answers.” Marion’s brother, Robert, continues to believe that Marion would not just have walked away from her life, her children or her family, and it’s the not knowing what happened to Marion or where she is buried that is the worst. Sadly, Marion’s parents, Robert senior and Agnes, died without having any answers or being able to lay their daughter to rest or have any justice for Marion. So, what about Marion’s children who were left behind? Bobby had just turned 15, how on earth would a teenage boy have coped with his mother just disappearing, and on his birthday. What must he have thought as a lad? And Marion’s daughter, Kathryn, was only 13 at the time her mum went missing, just a teenager and needing guidance from her mum. What would life for young Kathryn have been like? It’s sad to think about the children that were left behind who, for such a long time, probably believed that their mother had simply left them. From all accounts though, Marion Hodge would never have left her children, not by choice anyway. It was reported though that both Bobby and his sister Kathryn to this day remain very close to their dad, Bill. It was reported in 2017 in The Sun Newspaper that after Bill walked out on his marriage to Penny, he then moved to England to start a new life. Marion’s body sadly has never been found. If you have any information on the disappearance of Marion Hodge in 1984, there has been a UK dedicated phone line set up for all inquiries on 01387 242 355, or contact the confidential CrimeStoppers line on 0800 555 111. We’ll also put these numbers on our website. I hope that one day Marion’s body is found and her killer is caught and brought to justice, and it does seem her case is still being looked into and the police are clearly not given up.

Cole:

So, before I start my story, most of the information I found about this case came from a book called the Law Killers by Alexander McGregor. In April 1973, 18 year old Helen Maxwell, who worked as a hairdresser in the city of Dundee, married James Wilkie, known as Baby Face Jimmy, who was 17 years old and worked as an apprentice fitter. Many at the wedding thought quietly to themselves that the pair were just kids still, but their friends and family were happy to celebrate the couple as they exited the village church in Longforgan, a village about seven miles or 11 kilometres west of Dundee, where Jimmy had lived with his mum. The real reason for the marriage was that Helen was a couple of months pregnant. She had been scared of bringing shame on herself and her family for having a baby out of wedlock, and refused to have a termination. She had reluctantly agreed that marrying Jimmy was the best option. Unfortunately, though, it turned out that marrying for this reason, and maybe marrying so young, wasn’t going to sustain this couple’s relationship, and it wasn’t long before the marriage was in trouble. Following the wedding, the couple resided at a flat in a tenement block at Hill Street in Dundee. According to Wikipedia, Dundee is situated on the east coast of Scotland, lying within the eastern central lowlands on the North Bank of the Firth of Tay, and is Scotland’s fourth largest city. Following the couple’s wedding in April, and before the birth of their child in November, neither Helen or Jimmy would be monogamous. Helen would first find Jimmy in bed with another woman. Apparently, when she had tried to talk to Jimmy about this he wasn’t having any of it and instead assaulted her, while she was still pregnant. Helen was a bit put out about finding Jimmy having sex with another woman.

Dawn:

I can’t imagine why.

Cole:

No. So, she decided to rekindle a previous relationship herself. This man was 19 years old and was also married.

Dawn:

Oh asking for trouble.

Cole:

Despite both Jimmy and Helen now engaging in extramarital affairs, and despite continuous fights between the pair, the couple continued to stay together. And then in November 1973 Helen gave birth to a baby boy. I do hope that the birth of their baby boy gave the couple some joy, even if only briefly. Whatever state the couple’s marriage was in, on the 3rd of February 1974 a christening for the wee baby boy took place. Although the day may have started with everyone in good spirits, during the subsequent hours, and after a good amount of alcohol had been drank, Helen and Jimmy began to irritate each other and began to quarrel, although Jimmy later said that he was the only sober one at the celebration and that he had been the designated driver for the evening. As it was a special day, despite their disagreement, once the christening celebrations were over and everybody had been driven to their homes by Jimmy, the couple took their baby to Jimmy’s mums in Longforgan, while the couple, trying again to reconcile, went out for a meal in Dundee. This attempt however failed and the couple started fighting almost as soon as they sat down, with Helen storming out of the restaurant before they could even order. Now, Jimmy said that Helen was so drunk that she had tripped down some stairs and had bashed her nose, causing it to bleed all over her clothes. At this point Jimmy apparently took Helen home so she could change her clothes, where she apparently put on a wine coloured dress. Jimmy then advised that the couple tried to go again for a sit down meal, which was a success this time. Jimmy then said they drove into Dundee town centre looking for his sister, but having not sighted her, the couple then decided to drive back to his mum’s house to pick up their baby boy and go home. As you could probably guess on their way to Jimmy’s mum’s house the couple started arguing again. At this point Jimmy said he stopped to use the public toilets on the road just outside of Dundee centre. Upon returning to the car, Jimmy said that Helen was nowhere to be seen. He said he hung around for about ten minutes and checked the female toilets but there was no sign of Helen. He then said he headed back into town looking for her and then onto his flat to check if she maybe got the bus home, then headed back into Dundee when she wasn’t at the flat, before eventually going to his mum’s house at Longforgan to see if Helen was there, but she wasn’t. So Jimmy collected his baby and all his belongings and headed home, assuming that Helen would turn up at some point. The next morning when Jimmy awoke to get ready for work, there was still no sign of Helen. Not seeming to be phased or particularly bothered, he got himself ready for work and he got his son ready to take to his mother’s house so that she could look after him, and then he went to work. After work he went to his mum’s house and had tea there, before heading home again without Helen. It wouldn’t be until two days after Helen vanished that it was reported to the police, who began to tentatively look into Helen’s disappearance. Helen’s parents hadn’t even been aware that Helen was missing until this time and only because Jimmy’s mum had phoned them asking if Helen was perhaps with them as she was growing concerned. Helen’s mum hadn’t spoken to her daughter since the day of the christening. She knew about the troubles with her daughter’s marriage but she also knew that Helen loved her wee boy and would never just disappear and leave him behind, or her family for that matter, Helen and her parents were very close. Helen’s Dad wasn’t satisfied with the police investigation as he felt that the police always thought Helen had just had enough with her life and simply walked away, and so he started looking for traces of where Helen might be himself. Due to his own inquiry, he found out that there had been possible sightings of Helen in Dundee, other parts of Scotland and even as far as London, but despite this Helen’s parents were still convinced that Helen had not just walked out of her life voluntarily and had started to think that Helen had been killed. Just before Christmas 1974, about ten months after Helen’s disappearance, Jimmy’s mum received a Christmas card, apparently from Helen, with a postmark from Dundee.

Dawn:

Oh, okay, so did that convince Helen’s parents that she was okay?

Cole:

No, it didn’t. It sounded like it was possibly a practical joke, as Mrs Wilkie said that she didn’t recognise the handwriting. Helen’s parents continued to believe that Helen had been killed, they just wanted to know where her body was. As the months passed life slipped back into some normality, Jimmy actually handed over his and Helen’s baby boy to Helen’s mum and dad, who later adopted him. Jimmy left Dundee, where he started another relationship. The couple briefly moved to Canada, before Jimmy eventually moved back to Scotland and lived and worked in Aberdeen. The years went by and Helen and Jimmy’s wee boy grew up without his mum or dad, but I’m sure he was very loved by Helen’s parents, it maybe filled a big hole in their lives too, and Helen’s strange disappearance just slipped from people’s minds. That was until March 1978, four years after Helen’s disappearance, when workmen at a quarry near Longforgan uncovered a skull and informed the police. Following further excavations of the area, a shallow grave was discovered containing a headless skeleton. Jimmy, who is now living just outside Aberdeen with his girlfriend, was escorted to Dundee by the police, where he was asked to identify the items found with the skeleton, to determine if the skeleton found was Helen. The items included the wine coloured dress Helen had changed into the night she disappeared.

Dawn:

So, if the dress she was wearing the night she went missing was found, does that mean that she died the night she disappeared?

Cole:

Yes, it must have. The only item of clothing found that wasn’t Helen’s was a blue tie, which had been wrapped around her neck three times and tied at the back.

Dawn:

Oh. So, Helen died from strangulation then?

Cole:

Yes. When Jimmy was shown the tie he confirmed that it was the tie that he had worn to the christening, which he told the police he had taken off sometime throughout the christening celebrations and put into his wife’s bag. Upon being told that it was actually found tied around Helen’s neck Jimmy apparently said “I hope you don’t think it was me.” But apparently that’s exactly what the police had thought, and within a few hours Jimmy was charged with Helen’s murder.

Dawn:

So, based on the tie?

Cole:

Yeah, it’s a start.

Dawn:

Yeah, it is. And I guess it’s unlikely that Helen would have wandered off and somebody else would have found her, gone through her bag, found Jimmy’s tie and decided to strangle her with it.

Cole:

It is a stretch. And, I mean, we only have Jimmy’s word that he put the tie in Helen’s bag in the first place.

Dawn:

Yeah, that’s true.

Cole:

So, in June 1978, three months after being arrested and charged with Helen’s murder, Jimmy found himself in Dundee High Court listening to witness after witness describing the young couple’s arguments, their heavy drinking, the fighting between them, which was both physical as well as verbal, and specifically of an occasion where Jimmy was seen to have kicked Helen while she was pregnant. The majority of witnesses deemed that this was a failing marriage and that neither party were particularly happy. Two other witnesses for the prosecution were called, one was a friend of Jimmy’s who said that after having a few drinks together and upon bringing up the subject of Helen, Jimmy had said “I don’t think they will find her, she’s well buried.” While the other witness, who knew both Helen and Jimmy as well as Helen’s parents, said that she had overheard Jimmy talking to a friend in a cafe and he said “My wife’s at Ninewells, six feet under.”

Dawn:

So, two separate people had heard Jimmy mention that either Helen was buried or six feet under and nobody thought to mention this to the police?

Cole:

Well, it’s not known exactly when these conversations took place, and the man he was having a drink with when he said “she’s well buried” said he did ask Jimmy the next day if he remembered the conversation and he said he didn’t. Plus, I think they’d both had a bit to drink, so maybe the man didn’t trust his own memory.

Dawn:

Okay. But what about the female witness who overheard him in a cafe?

Cole:

Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe she didn’t want to get involved in case she was wrong. Anyway, lastly it was Jimmy’s turn to take the stand, and he basically repeated to the court what he had said to the police nearly four years earlier when Helen went missing. His memory was very good apparently, although he did counter some of the physical abuse allegations by saying that he might have slapped Helen but never with a clenched fist.

Dawn:

Oh right, well that’s okay then.

Cole:

I know, right.

Dawn:

Did he say anything in response to supposedly saying to the man he had been drinking with that Helen was well buried?

Cole:

Yeah, he did actually. He said that what he probably meant was that if Helen hadn’t been found by now she wasn’t going to be. After the closing statements and three days of witnesses being called to give evidence, the jury retired to make their decision. The police were a bit dubious if they would actually secure a guilty verdict, so too were the press that had attended the trial. However, after only an hour and ten minutes, everyone was back in the courtroom again, as the jury of nine men and six women came back with a verdict of guilty. Jimmy’s mum and girlfriend were visibly upset as Lord Robertson, the Judge residing over the case, said to Jimmy “You have been found guilty by the jury of what can only be described as a horrible crime, and there is only one sentence I can impose.” This was a life sentence. Jimmy was then taken away to begin his sentence, which wasn’t as long as you might think. In January 1979, seven months after Jimmy Wilkie had been sentenced to life, he found himself back in the courts again, this time in Edinburgh High Court as an appeal had been made as new evidence had been found, which Jimmy’s solicitor believed could set him free.

Dawn:

Oh wow, that appeal went through really quickly.

Cole:

Yeah, it did, but, according to the book The Law Killers by Alexander McGregor, this was the first time since 1927 that permission had actually been given for new evidence to be heard which could possibly result in a person being released.

Dawn:

Okay, it must be pretty good evidence then.

Cole:

Well, no, it’s not actually.

Dawn:

Oh okay.

Cole:

So, shortly after Jimmy had been convicted the lead investigator in the case, Chief Inspector Fotheringham was advised that a witness had come forward adamant that she had seen Helen after she was thought to have disappeared.

Dawn:

Who?

Cole:

A neighbour of the Wilkies at the time the couple had both lived in Hill Street, a Valerie McCabe. She said that she had seen and spoken to Helen three months after she disappeared. Valerie didn’t have a phone in her flat and would use the Wilkies phone now and again, and on the 18th of May 1974 she stated that Helen Wilkie came to Valerie’s flat to tell her that Valerie’s husband was on the phone in Helen’s flat wanting to speak to her. Valerie said she went to Helen’s flat where her husband was on the phone to tell her that his bus had broken down and he would be laid back. After finishing speaking to her husband Valerie McCabe popped her head round the living room door and said thanks to Helen for the use of her phone, which was located in the hall.

Dawn:

Oh, okay. Well, that sounds pretty credible to me. How old was Valerie?

Cole:

She was 27. Are you thinking that maybe she was older and her eyesight wasn’t too good?

Dawn:

Yeah, I was.

Cole:

Well, Valerie was asked this too and she said that she did wear glasses but her eyesight was quite good.

Dawn:

But I’m assuming that it wasn’t Helen, so how could she have made that mistake?

Cole:

Well, to try and determine that Valerie actually had the right date and wasn’t perhaps mixing it up with a time before Helen went missing, Chief Inspector Fotheringham asked Valerie how she could be sure of the date, to which Valerie replied that she knew for sure because there had been a football match on that day between Scotland and England playing at Hampton Park. She was also 100 percent sure she had seen Helen after she had gone missing.

Dawn:

Oh, well, that sounds pretty definite to me.

Cole:

That’s what Chief Inspector Fotheringham had began to think too. Until that is he went back to the police station and just happened to find out that apparently back in 1974, just after Helen went missing, a young police officer had separated from her husband and had started seeing Jimmy, who just so happened to look very similar to Helen.

Dawn:

He’d taken up with someone else three months after his wife disappeared?

Cole:

Yeah. So, Chief Inspector Fotheringham went back to speak to Valerie, this time with a photo of the young police officer to show her. While Valerie accepted that Helen and the young police officer did look very alike, she was adamant that it was Helen that she had seen and spoken to on the 18th of May.

Dawn:

But, did they not ask the young police officer if she’d been at the flat at the time?

Cole:

Presumably not, as seven months later Jimmy was back in court for the appeal. Lloyd Emslie, the judge residing over the appeal trial, went through the evidence given by Valerie McCabe and Chief Inspector Fortheringham and came to the conclusion that, even if Valerie’s evidence had been in the original trial, the jury would have still come to the same decision. He said that while Valerie McCabe had not come forward with this evidence maliciously, she was mistaken in her belief that she had seen Helen Wilkie on the 18th of May 1974. He further backed this up by saying that Jimmy Wilkie himself said in his statement two days after Helen’s disappearance, and in subsequent interviews he had with the police, that he never saw Helen and she’d never returned to their flat again after the night she went missing on the 3rd of February 1974. Lloyd Emslie did not believe that Helen would have come back the flat for one night only, unbeknownst to Jimmy, and then disappear again without a trace.

Dawn:

Plus, of course, there was the wine coloured dress she was found in that she was wearing the night she went missing.

Cole:

Yeah, I agree with that. And I do agree with the Judge, Helen wasn’t the person that Valerie saw in the flat on the 18th of May, Helen was murdered the night she disappeared. Having gone through all the evidence and pulling everything apart, Lloyd Emslie refused the appeal and Jimmy Wilkie was sent back to prison to carry out the rest of his sentence. Jimmy’s parents continued to appeal over the years, however, these never went anywhere, Jimmy was destined to do what little time he had been given for murdering Helen.

Dawn:

How long was he actually in prison for?

Cole:

So, I did say that he got life in prison, however, Jimmy Wilkie actually walked free from prison eight years later in 1986.

Dawn:

Eight years later?! That’s all he’d served?

Cole:

Yep, that was it.

Dawn:

That is crazy.

Cole:

So, upon leaving prison, Jimmy found work as a JCB driver and settled back into life. Until 1996, 10 years after being released for serving eight years for murdering the mother of his child, he was killed in a road traffic accident. He was 40 years old.

Dawn:

Oh God, I didn’t expect that.

Cole:

Yeah, it’s quite shocking.

Dawn:

I’ve just had a thought, you know the Christmas card that was sent to Jimmy’s mum the year Helen went missing?

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

Was it thought that Jimmy had maybe sent it to try to convince people Helen was still alive? We know it didn’t come from Helen that’s for sure.

Cole:

Actually, no, that wasn’t thought at all. Remember I said that Jimmy had moved to Canada briefly with his girlfriend? Well, when the Christmas card was sent he was safely in Canada. No, I think that was just someone being mean.

Dawn:

Ah okay.

Cole:

Good thought though.

Dawn:

So, Jimmy had already handed over his baby boy to Helen’s parents and moved to Canada before Christmas the same year Helen went missing?

Cole:

Yeah. Helen went missing in February and Jimmy was already in Canada by December with his new girlfriend.

Dawn:

Wow, that is quick.

Cole:

It really is.

Dawn:

A pretty tragic story.

Cole:

Yeah, there’s no winners here, least of all Helen and Jimmy’s child left behind. I mean, yes, he was adopted and no doubt given all the love he needed and wanted from his grandparents, but he wasn’t even a year old when his mum just disappeared and shortly after he was given away by his dad to his grandparents.  So much trauma and disruption in such a short time. At least he would have been young enough to maybe not understand that he’d been left by both his very young parents, but he’d one day find out that in actual fact his father killed his mum.

Dawn:

Yeah, that’s not gonna be nice finding that out.

Cole:

No, definitely too much heartache for everyone left behind. And that’s the end of my story. But you can find much more information in the Law Killers book by Alexander McGregor, available on Amazon.

Dawn:

And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them, don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So that’s it for this week, come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there. Bye.

Granny Robertson:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.


Assumptions Made

Assumptions Made

Episode Summary

Most of us have made assumptions about things sometimes, but when it comes to police making assumptions, it’s a whole different ball game.

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

If you have any information relating to this case, contact;

101 (UK)

Crimestoppers UK anonymously on 0800 555 111 or crimestoppers-uk.org

If you have any information relating to this case, contact;

Police at Dumbarton on 101 (UK)

Dawn:

Most of us make assumptions about things in life sometimes, but when it comes to police making assumptions it’s a whole different ball game, and in Sandy and Nick’s case, things could have turned out a lot different.

Dawn and Cole:

Hi Wee Ones, I’m Dawn and I’m Cole, and this is Scottish Murders.

[THEME TUNE]

Dawn:

Alexander Drummond, or Sandy as he preferred to be known, had always wanted to be an engineer so he joined the army thinking that an army apprenticeship would be the best route to achieve this goal. When he was 18 years old he joined Blackwatch. For 18 months this decision appeared to have paid off, however, then things changed and Sandy was sent to Northern Ireland, where he spent the remainder of his time in the Army. Upon leaving the Army, after three years, Sandy went to stay with his parents, before moving into a cottage nearby in Boarhills with his brother James. Sandy had decided to stay in the area to be close to his mum and dad, Sandy’s dad had Alzheimer’s and Sandy would regularly stay at his parents home to help his mum and give her a break, he even paid for his mum to go on a wee holiday while he stayed and looked after his dad. That’s really nice. Yeah, that’s what everybody said, he was quiet but kind. So, having decided to stay in the Boarhills area, Sandy went about finding himself a job. He ended up finding work at Guardbridge Paper Mill located about 3.7 miles or 6 kilometres north west of St Andrews. St Andrews, known as the home of golf, is a town in Fife located on the east coast of Scotland, about 30 miles or 48 kilometres north east of Edinburgh. The small hamlet of Boarhills is also in Fife and located 4.6 miles or 7.4 kilometres south east of St Andrews. The Boarhills hamlet is completely surrounded by farmland, with only one single track road running through the hamlet. Back in 1991, it was thought to have about 80 residents living there. Sandy seemed to enjoy his job at the mill and he was known as a good worker. He generally seemed to be quite happy in life, enjoying going for rides on his motorbike or going for runs in the countryside. But then in about March 1991, when Sandy was 33, things started to change, Sandy started to change. Sandy’s mum said that he’d always been a carefree kind of man not letting things get him down, but she said he started to become troubled, worrying about something, and it all began around the time he was transferred to a new department at work. Sandy’s mum would ask him what the matter was, but he refused to tell her. Sandy’s mum was sure his change in behaviour was due to something at work. something had happened, going as far as saying she thought he might have been getting bullied or even blackmailed. Sandy was then transferred to another department where he was labouring, but Sandy’s change in behaviour continued for another couple of months, until finally on Thursday the 20th of June 1991 Sandy abruptly quit his job, walking out immediately and refusing to give notice. This decision surprised his employers as Sandy had always been reliable and a hard worker. Sandy didn’t tell his family that he had quit his job and walked out and appeared to carry on as if nothing had happened. He went to his parents home for Sunday lunch as normal that weekend and seemed quite happy. His family did notice a change in Sandy but this time for the better, with him apparently appearing to be back to his old self again. After lunch on Sunday with his parents, Sandy told his mum he would be back for his tea the following night before staying bye, giving her a big smile and waving to her as he left on his motorbike heading for St Andrews. Apparently, it was that night that Sandy told his brother James that he’d quit his job and that he planned to go traveling. James was surprised by what Sandy was telling him saying that it was definitely out of character for Sandy, who was described as being steadfast and dependable. James was obviously concerned but probably thought that he’d let Sandy sleep on it and speak to him the following evening and try to find out what was going on. James left for work on the Monday morning saying bye to Sandy and that he would see him later. Neither his mum nor brother realised that they wouldn’t be seeing Sandy alive again. At 8pm on Monday the 24th of June 1991, the body of Alexander Sandy Drummond was found by an elderly walker, lying face down with his arms underneath him and his legs straight out on an overgrown track about 200 yards from his cottage in Boarhills. The senior police officer from Fife constabulary who was first on the scene was initially suspicious due to the positioning of the body, and upon the doctor being called and also looking over the scene and checking Sandy’s body he too was also suspicious of its positioning, he also found superficial marks on Sandy’s forehead and elbows. Both men at this point thought it was a suspicious death and that possibly Sandy had collapsed holding his stomach, which explained why his arms were under his body. Due to this being determined by the police at an early stage as a suspicious death, only a rudimentary perusal of the scene would have taken place, recording the position and appearance of the body and perhaps taking some pictures. There would have been no need for a forensic team to attend the scene and search for any evidence, and Sandy’s body was taken from the scene pretty quickly for a post-mortem to be carried out, where it was discovered that there were additional bruises on his back and neck and the pathologist determined that Sandy had actually died from asphyxiation and may have been strangled to death. It later turned out that Sandy had been killed by a stranglehold. What? Yeah. So, when the police checked Sandy’s body at the scene they found no ligature marks and there was nothing to suggest that someone had applied pressure to his neck, and there was no obvious hand or fingerprints, which is why they initially thought it was just a suspicious death. Upon finding out that Sandy had actually been murdered you’d think the police would spring into action and start a murder inquiry, cordon off the crime scene in the hope of finding any evidence, you know, the usual stuff, but no. The police initially wouldn’t even admit that it was a murder!

Cole:

What?!

Dawn:

Yeah, they actually told newspapers and Sandy’s family for months that his death was simply suspicious. Why would they do that? Well, because the general consensus had been that Sandy had fallen whilst clutching his stomach and that he died from natural causes and they weren’t deviating from that. Despite Sandy’s mum Effie being told three days after Sandy’s death that he had been strangled to death, it would take the police four months after Sandy’s body was found to finally announce to his family that they would be treating Sandy’s death as murder, despite the early findings from the pathologist. It would take a further four months after that before the public was made aware of this fact, as well as the strange circumstances leading up to Sandy’s death, when a reconstruction was carried out on TV, which resulted in a few calls but unfortunately no leads. So, as you can imagine, Sandy’s family were pretty frustrated about this, but even more detrimental was the fact that while this tug of war was going on with the police taking the stance that Sandy’s death had only been suspicious, any vital forensic evidence that might have been at the scene had been destroyed by the weather and the passage of time. Also, due to the police’s reluctance to not admit this was a murder, the media was not used to appeal for information or witnesses immediately after his death. As this was a tourist area, by the time the police did appeal for witnesses, eight months later, some people might not have been in the area anymore or may have forgotten a vital piece of information. As Sandy’s death had only been treated as suspicious, the police carried out a basic investigation, but they did interview some local witnesses and what they found out through the investigation might just have finally led to them admitting that Sandy had been murdered, although I feel there was more than enough evidence given by the pathologist from the post-mortem to indicate this earlier. So, I’ll start with the day of Sandy’s death. It’s quite interesting in itself. So, you remember his brother James said bye to Sandy on Monday the 24th of June 1991 in the morning before going to work?

Cole:

Yes, a year before my birthday.

Dawn:

Exactly. So, from then it looked like Sandy had quite a busy day. Someone resembling Sandy was seen at 7:25am by two witnesses; one was driving in Boarhills who saw a man resembling Sandy leaving his cottage carrying a blue holdall bag under his arm, run across the road and jump over a hedge into a field, where he disappeared. Oh. A neighbour also said they saw someone who looked like Sandy leave his house with a blue holdall bag and go to the field across the road, and then return without the holdall bag, presumably leaving it in the field somewhere. But this blue holdall bag has never been found.

Cole:

That’s odd.

Dawn:

Oh it gets odder. Apparently, there was also a sighting of someone who was identified as Sandy by two witnesses at the same time on a motorcycle heading for St Andrews.

Cole:

So, were any of the sightings actually confirmed, because last time I checked you can’t be in two places at once.

Dawn:

That is true. It’s hard to say, I couldn’t find anything in my research. However, Sandy was seen in St Andrews on CCTV at 11am withdrawing his savings, which amounted to about £1,800 which is about $2,500 in today’s money, and putting it in a bag.

Cole:

Well that’s more money than I currently have.

Dawn:

It’s not a fortune but it’s probably enough for him to have gone traveling on his bike, if that’s what he wanted to do, which is what he told his brother the night before.

Cole:

So, do we think that the money was in the holdall that someone saw him taking into the field?

Dawn:

It’s a good thought but no, because he was seen going into the field at 7:30am, but Sandy didn’t actually withdraw the money from the bank until 11am, so he didn’t have the money at that time.

Cole:

Okay. So, maybe someone saw him withdraw the money and followed him and killed him for the money?

Dawn:

That’s a good thought actually, but no because the money was found in his house when the police searched it, so a robbery motive was ruled out.

Cole:

Okay, I’m out of ideas then.

Dawn:

Me too. So, it appears that Sandy then spent the next few hours in St Andrews, but it’s not clear what he was doing. The next time Sandy may have been sighted was by a witness at 2pm at a caravan holiday park, which is a five minute drive outside of St Andrews and located on the same road Sandy would have taken to go back to his cottage in Boarhills, which was another eight minute drive from the holiday park.

Cole:

What was he doing there?

Dawn:

Honestly, I don’t know. I couldn’t find this out at all. Maybe meeting somebody.

Cole:

Well do you know how long he was there for?

Dawn:

Again, I don’t know, I couldn’t find anything. However, a witness did place him there definitely at 2pm, and he wasn’t seen again until about 4pm.

Cole:

Alright. So, no more than a couple of hours?

Dawn:

Exactly. However, in the meantime, at about 2:30pm, a man was seen getting on a bus on the main road not far from Sandy’s cottage and getting off in St Andrews, and he was holding a blood-stained handkerchief. Now, police did ask for this man to come forward to be eliminated from their inquiries, once of course the police finally notified the public, but the fact that Sandy had been seen alive at 4pm and that there was no blood at the crime scene, the police weren’t even sure if this man had any connection to the murder or not. Either way, this man was never traced. The next time someone resembling Sandy was seen was at 4pm when they were witnessed “jogging along the road.”

Cole:

Which road?

Dawn:

It’s not clear exactly, it could be the road leading from the holiday park where he was seen at 2pm.  But why would he leave his motorbike there?

Cole:

I guess it could have broken down.

Dawn:

Maybe, but there’s no mention of that. Or it could mean he was jogging along the road near his cottage in Boarhills. It’s very sketchy to be honest. Then he was seen again by a witness, this time definitely in Boarhills about 7pm.

Cole:

Okay. And his body was found at 8pm?

Dawn:

Correct.

Cole:

So, whatever happened to him must have happened within that hour.

Dawn:

Exactly. When Sandy’s neighbours were questioned by the police around if they saw anything suspicious that day, something of interest was revealed. Apparently about 5pm, an hour after Sandy was seen jogging along the road, an orange or red car was seen parked outside Sandy’s bungalow and two men were seen in his living room. From witness statements, it was identified that the same orange or red car had been spotted outside Sandy’s cottage on numerous occasions on the days before his death. Another witness reported seeing a red car reversing near where Sandy lived at 7:15pm on the day of his death, but then another witness reported that also at 7:15pm they saw two men get out of a silver Renault or Vauxhall car and run in the direction of where Sandy was found.

Cole:

And Sandy’s body was found 45 minutes later?

Dawn:

Yeah. So, the red or orange car seen outside Sandy’s cottage was later identified as being a red or orange Morris Marina. We’ll put a picture of it on our website. Again, despite appeals for information about the owner of this car or the owner of the silver car seen in the vicinity, just like the man on the bus with a bloodied handkerchief, nobody ever came forward to say they owned either car or had visited Sandy that day or on the days leading up to his death. Although, of course, again, this appeal wouldn’t be made until much later.

Cole:

The man with the bloodied handkerchief not coming forward I kind of understand, maybe he just didn’t want to be involved in the whole thing, but this distinct orange car parked outside Sandy’s house on numerous occasions and the owner had most likely been inside his cottage, so they must know that the police were looking for them, and why would they not just come forward and say, “yeah, that was me”, unless you had something to hide.

Dawn:

Yeah, I totally agree. And the other thing that’s strange to me is the fact that Sandy appeared to enjoy his own company and have a few close friends, who were the two men sitting in his living room in the day of his murder. As well as obviously the same car being seen numerous times outside his house before the day of his murder, who were these men? Were they friends or foe? What were they there for? It couldn’t have been blackmail because they had the opportunity to take the money he had withdrawn from the bank, but they didn’t. What were they doing there? To me it seemed suspicious.

Cole:

Yeah, I agree.

Dawn:

So, the police, even though they wouldn’t admit for some strange reason that Sandy had in fact been murdered, did actually carry out interviews with his work colleagues.

Cole:

Oh that’s interesting. Maybe we’ll find out why he changed departments twice and maybe why his mum thought he was worried about something.

Dawn:

Well, from interviewing every one of his work colleagues they found out exactly nothing.

Cole:

Oh! What?!

Dawn:

Yeah. Apparently, all his former colleagues at the paper mill said Sandy was a quiet man, a hard worker and he appeared to be well liked by everybody.

Cole:

So, why did he have to change departments then?

Dawn:

No idea. It’s not detailed anywhere. It’s just another question that’s not answered.

Cole:

So did any of his work colleagues have an orange or red… what did you say it was? Morris Marina?

Dawn:

Yeah. That would have been my first question too, but again it’s not reported anywhere. But I have to guess that they didn’t as the car was never traced. However, as the police were still adamant at this time that it was simply a suspicious death, maybe they didn’t ask the right questions, didn’t put two and two together, didn’t dig deep enough, as maybe it was just being treated as a cursory inquiry at this time. Had they treated it as it should have been treated, as a murder inquiry, than perhaps any evidence, such as the orange Morris Marina, could have been found quickly instead of giving the killer or Killers time to dispose of this, which police later stated they felt the car was likely to have been disposed of. Now, Sandy’s army colleagues were also interviewed too, but again nothing of note came from this, and nobody had a bad word to say about Sandy. Sandy was, as far as could be made out, a likable, kind, caring, quiet guy who appeared to have no enemies.

Cole:

I feel as if it’s something to do with his work, because everything seemed to be fine in his life until he moved departments and then his behaviour changed.

Dawn:

I think that’s what the police thought too as he had been at the paper mill for seven years and his behaviour only started to change a few months before his death. It had to be connected somehow.

Cole:

Yeah. And he quit his job a few days before his murder.

Dawn:

Exactly! The timing fits. Anyway, following the police interviewing everyone and making their appeals and getting absolutely nowhere, they were able to determine that there was definitely something strange going on in Sandy’s life, what with quitting his job and withdrawing all his savings, but they just didn’t know what, and their investigation turned up nothing. The police did state later that they felt that Sandy may have been getting blackmailed or bullied, but that was as much as the investigation could tell them, other than that they were baffled.

Cole:

So, that’s where it ended?

Dawn:

No! Sandy’s mum, Effie, wouldn’t accept that her son’s killer couldn’t be found, she was determined to get answers. She campaigned relentlessly until she finally succeeded in getting a Fatal Accident Inquiry into her son’s death.

Cole:

Is that the Scottish term for inquest?

Dawn:

Yeah, it is. And it was held in September 1992, but Effie didn’t get the outcome she wanted. There was still no explanation for her son’s murder, and she now had more questions than answers.

Cole:

How so?

Dawn:

Well, for example, in an article by the Mirror Newspaper it was noted that not only had Sandy’s last few months been made a misery by certain men at his work at the paper mill, but that apparently the night before he was murdered he had actually written down these men’s names.

Cole:

Okay. That’s new. I feel like you wouldn’t murder someone you’d been bullying in your workplace.

Dawn:

Yeah, that seems pretty drastic.

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

And especially now that he’d left as well. I mean, maybe they thought Sandy was going to tell on them do something. I don’t know, had to get rid of him. So, while Effie’s suspicions that her son was being bullied at work, which had affected his behaviour, had been right, but why was she only being told this now, at the inquiry? And why was it reported that nobody at Sandy’s work had a bad word to say about him if in fact they had been bullying him? Surely somebody had been aware of it. If the police had this information that he’d written down these men’s names, what had they done about it? Had they investigated these men? What was he actually being bullied for? Were they trying to blackmail him? It just leads to more questions and no answers.

Cole:

Yeah. I can see that. What else?

Dawn:

Well, also during the inquiry a second pathologist criticised the police for not realising that Sandy had been murdered and therefore treating the crime scene appropriately. This was countered by the police who said that due to the fact Sandy’s body had been found outside, they weren’t able to control the environment, limiting any evidence that could be found.

Cole:

That’s rubbish! So, they’re just saying that everybody that’s found outside it’s just kind of tough and they’re not going to find out who the murderer was? I know it’s not a controlled environment, but there’s tents that can be placed over the body and the surrounding area can be looked at for further evidence.

Dawn:

I know. The pathologist also said that had an experienced doctor dealing with murders been there, they would have discovered tiny haemorrhages in Sandy’s eyes that are caused by increased blood pressure that rupture capillaries and are caused by strangulation or suffocation. The police also stated that because Sandy was a loner and effectively had no friends, this made it really difficult for them to establish any leads.

Cole:

Was he a loner with no friends?

Dawn:

Well, the police tried to imply this, but Sandy’s family say that he just chose his friends carefully, so they may have been few and far between.

Cole:

Wow! That really does sound like victim blaming.

Dawn:

Yeah. Remember, always have plenty friends. it’s important.

Cole:

But I don’t like people.

Dawn:

That’s a problem.

Cole:

I like to be inside my house at all times.

Dawn:

You’re a bit of a recluse aren’t you? Let’s face it.

Cole:

I just need to get some cats now.

Dawn:

Oh no, crazy cat lady.

Cole:

Yay!

Dawn:
The police were also criticised for the delay in announcing Sandy’s death as murder, however, Sheriff Smith, presiding over the inquiry, blocked any further discussion about this saying that the police’s handling of the investigation was not within the remit of the inquiry. So, the only, and I’m reluctant to say it, good thing that came from the inquiry, was that Sandy’s case would be reviewed again, but this time by different officers within Fife police. However, despite the fresh eyes working on Sandy’s case, they still were no further forward in finding Sandy’s killer. Shortly after the inquiry, Sandy’s mum Effie said “My life is now in agony. The strain makes me feel a thousand years old. Sandy was the best son a mother could have.” She was also quoted as saying “I was afraid for his life when he went to Northern Ireland with the Army, but I never imagined that he would be in danger at home.” She was devastated by Sandy’s death and was constantly haunted by the knowledge that her son had been murdered and that the murderer had not been caught. Effie passed away at the age of 67 in 1996. So, despite 16,000 hours worked on the case and about 600 statements being taken, many appeals made over the years, as well as a reconstruction of the events leading up to Sandy’s death being shown on TV in February 1992 where finally the public were made aware of the events leading up to his death, as well as that it was a murder and not a suspicious death, Sandy’s killer wasn’t identified, and the case remained Fife’s only unsolved case. In 2016 Sandy’s murder was back in the spotlight again. In February 2016, Police Scotland released an appeal due to the 25th anniversary of Sandy’s murder approaching. In this appeal, Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin stated that Sandy’s murder is periodically reviewed to determine if any advances in forensic techniques could lead to further lines of inquiry.

Cole:

Isn’t it crazy how fast the science can change? I mean we think that we’re pretty advanced at the moment in time, wouldn’t you say?

Dawn:

Yeah.

Cole:

But think about how far we’ve come in the last 20 or 30 years. Like, what’s the world going to look like in 20 or 30 more years time?

Dawn:

Yeah. I wonder what technology we haven’t discovered yet, that’s more interesting.

Cole:

Maybe you could scan the body and get an image of the human.

Dawn:

You’re getting very technical now.

Cole:

Do you know that they can take your hair from your body off your head, wherever, and they can find out where you came from based on the like the minerals that are left in your hair?

Dawn:

Hmm.

Cole:

Did you know that?

Dawn:

No, I didn’t know that. That’s interesting.

Cole:

Yeah. So, people can find out where you lived.

Dawn:

That’s really cool. Isn’t it?

Cole:

Yeah.

Dawn:

She went on to see that the passage of time is no barrier to providing answers for the families of murder victims in Scotland and she hoped that Sandy’s killer could be brought to justice, before she appealed for anyone with new information that could assist in the investigation into Sandy’s murder to contact the police. This appeal was quite successful as in an article in The Courier Newspaper in March 2016, the police thanked the public for new information that was provided in relation to Sandy’s murder. Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin said that the new evidence was being reviewed, but she believed that the answers to Sandy’s death lie in the local community. However, since this time no new developments, if any, have been reported. We can only hope this doesn’t mean the case has gone cold again. Then three months later in June 2016, exactly 25 years after Sandy was killed, an article appeared in the Courier Newspaper saying the investigative journalist Mr Mulford had apparently laid eyes on paperwork suggesting that police had identified Sandy’s killer.

Cole:

Okay. So, was this on the back of the information the police had received following their appeal in February 2016?

Dawn:

Well, I don’t think it was. From what I’ve read it appears that this may have been from several years prior.

Cole:

They had identified Sandy’s killer a few years prior to the appeal but nobody had ever been arrested?

Dawn:

Well, that’s what it looked like. The investigative journalist told The Courier Newspaper in 2016 he had unearthed evidence that the police had identified a serious suspect following a previous cold case review years earlier, but then when police had gone to question the suspect it turned out they were already dead.

Cole:

Oh

Dawn:

I’ve actually read some reports that the suspect may have been murdered himself.

Cole:

So, the police have identified a suspect and that suspect’s dead, but the case is still open?

Dawn:

Yes. Apparently, Mr Mulford believes the case has been kept open and is still being reviewed by the cold case team as there may have been others involved. Remember that there were two men seen in Sandy’s living room on the day he was murdered, maybe they suspect the dead man carried out the murder but there may have been others around or others who knew what had happened. Maybe they were behind Sandy’s change in behaviour, or that the dead suspect didn’t actually murder Sandy but was involved somehow, and maybe he was killed to shut him up. There’s just so many questions about this case, so much speculation about what is going on, and what did go on back in 1991.

Cole:

So, did the police ever say anything about what the investigative journalist said or has there ever been any new leads?

Dawn:

Well, at the time of the newspaper report coming out from the investigative journalist, Police Scotland were pretty tight lipped. They refused to discuss if what Mr Mulford said about them having a suspect in the murder dead or otherwise was correct or not. All Police Scotland would say, and all they have said since, is that the case remains open and is undergoing constant review.

Cole:

This is such a frustrating case, so many unanswered questions. And the fact that it was ruled initially as a suspicious death, it just doesn’t seem right.

Dawn:

I agree. It’s just really frustrating this case. If you have any information on the murder of Sandy Drummond, please contact 101 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111 if you live in the UK.

So, my story was from 1991, surely in the intervening years lessons would have been learnt and assumptions wouldn’t have been made so hastily, am I right with your story Cole?

Cole:

Wrong!

Dawn:

Oh no. Go on then.

Cole:

In April 2005 Nicholas Randall, who preferred to be called Nick, was 30 years old. He had been suffering with mental health issues and had recently been signed off work sick. Nick had moved to the north east of Scotland to Aberdeen from Edinburgh, where he had a job as a town planner. Nick had suffered with depression on and off for years, but in early 2005 he had been signed off work due to stress-related depression and he had decided to go and stay with his parents, who lived a few miles west of Edinburgh. Nick had been diagnosed with a form of dyslexia, affecting in the left side of his brain governing comprehension. Nick was apparently happy with this diagnosis as it helped explain some of the causes for him feeling low. At this time he was said to be in good spirits, so much so that he had attended a wedding with his parents where he had appeared brighter and engaged with others better than his parents had expected. However, just a few days later on the 25th of April 2005 something apparently changed, as just after breakfast Nick left his parents home, drove to Edinburgh City Centre in his silver Audi A2, where he bought a sleeping bag and withdrew £500 or just under $700, before simply vanishing. This was the last time his bank account had been touched. Meanwhile, back at his parents house, his mum had thought it was a good sign that Nick had gone out, thinking that he’d probably head for the city centre for a bit of shopping, which he did of course. She wasn’t to know that she had seen her son for the last time. So, Nick’s parents weren’t initially concerned when Nick didn’t appear back for tea, but as the night grew dark they started to fear the worst. They began to ring round all his friends asking if they had heard from him, but no one had. One of Nick friends, Liz, said that she was completely surprised by his disappearance, saying he was a really nice guy with everything going for him. Time passed without any sighting or word from Nick. His 31st birthday came and went in May and still there was no word about his whereabouts. It wouldn’t be until July, three months after Nick vanished, that finally there was a breakthrough. Nick’s silver Audi car was found in a car park near the town of Fort William, which is located on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe in the Scottish Highlands, this is also about a three-hour drive north west of Edinburgh. Fort William is best known for hill walking and climbing due to it being close to the mountains of Glencoe and Aonach Mor, as well as Ben Nevis, which is the highest of the famous Munro mountains. It just so happened that Nick had been a member of a hill walking group and was experienced in climbing and hiking, he had in fact climbed many of the Munro mountains. When his car was found in July, the police concluded that Nick had been living off rough in the hills of the surrounding area. Also, over the summer of 2005 there were other sporadic sightings of Nick in this area, as well as being spotted in an area two hours away from where his car was found. A worker at caravan park advised that Nick had asked if he could pitch a tent. It was thought that he was just walking and climbing and roaming about aimlessly, living rough. However, then the sightings just stopped and his family and friends started to fear the worst.

Dawn:

Was there any reason why Nick had just left his parents so abruptly and headed to the highlands?

Cole:

Well, remember he did have depression and having depression can sometimes make you unpredictable, so that could be a reason.

Dawn:

Yeah, that is true.

Cole:

His friend, Martin, also gave a wee insight into what Nick might have been thinking. He said that Nick hated being on his own, but because of his depression he also felt he was a burden to everyone, especially his parents.

Dawn:

Oh, that’s sad, but that might have explained why he disappeared, he might have thought that him disappearing might make life easier for his parents.

Cole:

It was a theory, yeah.

Dawn:

Obviously that wasn’t the case.

Cole:

Of course not, his parents were heartbroken by his disappearance. In April 2006, a year after Nick left his parents home for the last time, his parents made an appeal for any information about Nick’s whereabouts. His dad, Bill, said “My worst fear is that he turned his back on life, not eating, and his body went downhill, and he might be lying somewhere in a wood.” He went on to say that he would love to see Nick again, to hug and to kiss him. His parents both remembered Nick as being a happy person, smiling and had a sensitive nature. Nick’s mum, Esme, did insist that Nick wasn’t suicidal when he left. The appeal generated no new information, no more sightings of Nick were reported, and the case went cold. Bill and Esme would have to wait a further two years of not knowing what happened to their son before their worst fears would finally be realised. On the 14th of March 2008, badly decomposed remains of a body were said to have been found in a pitched tent by forestry workers near Bridge of Orchy, about 43 miles or 69 kilometres from where Nick’s car had been found. It would be confirmed on the 26th of March, after forensic tests were carried out, that the remains were in fact that of Nicholas Randall. There is a famous walk called the West Highland Way that runs from Fort William to Milngavie, which is just north of Glasgow, and Bridge of Orchy is on this walking route. It is thought that Nick had been walking along this route, but had deviated off into a nearby forest in order to set up his tent. When the remains were found the area was cordoned off, a forensics team was called in and evidence was collected and photographs of the scene were taken. Upon Nick’s remains being found, it was quickly assumed by investigators that Nick had probably died of hypothermia. This assumption wasn’t deviated from following the post-mortem being carried out as, due to the advanced stage of decomposition, the cause of death could only be determined as unascertained. Due to this belief, after six days of Nick’s remains being found, the police ruled that there were no suspicious circumstances in the death, making an official statement on the 26th of March confirming these details and stating the case would now be closed. The statement was followed by one from the family which read; “We would like to thank the missing persons unit of Lothian and Borders police for all their assistance and kind support over the last three years. We also thank the press for publicising our son’s disappearance. Now that his body has been found and recovered, we ask that the media leave us to grieve in peace.” Okay. So, yes, there were still assumptions being made at the beginning, but at least the police treated the scene as if it were a crime scene and collected evidence and photographs were taken, so lessons had been learnt. They were, but the story doesn’t end there unfortunately. In March 2008, Mr and Mrs Randall finally had some closure, although sadly their son Nick had died they found out what had become of him, knowing that he had died from natural causes and could finally grieve for their son. That was until July 2017, almost nine years after they found out their son had died, when their new life without Nick was shattered.

Dawn:

Oh my God, what happened?

Cole:

Okay. Back in 2008, PC Kenny McKechnie had been a police officer since 1993 and he was working as a family liaison officer, however, due to local detectives being under pressure to investigate a baby food contamination scare that was happening at the time, he found himself at the scene where Nicholas Randall’s remains were found and had been briefly involved in the investigation, and he was telling a very different story to the official one. Kenny was present when Nick’s remains were found, and when the police photographer turned up to take the photographs of the scene. The photographer initially refused to go into the tent as it was a crime scene. Kenny was there when two young detective constables eventually showed up who took a cursory look around the scene, but left pretty quickly when it was ruled by their bosses that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Nick, something Kenny was extremely surprised about at the time due to what he had seen in and around the tent, which had also been captured by the photographer. Let’s go through what was found in the tent by Kenny and a colleague that led to the police ruling that there was no suspicious circumstances surrounding Nick’s death. Okay. Firstly, there were two sleeping bags, a holdall, different sized boots, two sets of clothes in the rucksack, one set of high quality outdoor wear and the other one looked like hiking clothes of someone less experienced, a black handled kitchen knife and a used condom found in Nick’s sleeping bag.

Dawn:

So, that suggests to me straight away that there were two people staying in that tent.

Cole:

Yes, that’s what it says to me too. Also, apparently a shallow grave was found a year before by an off-duty police officer near to where Nick’s tent was pitched.

Dawn:

Oh, was anybody found in there?

Cole:

No, and it might not have even been anything to do with Nick, it’s just another strange thing surrounding the case. Due to the decomposition of the body, it was impossible for the date of death to be determined, so Nick could have been there when the shallow grave was dug, but equally it could have had absolutely nothing to do with him, but it is still strange. The fact that these items were found in the tent and yet Nick’s death was ruled as not suspicious and the case was closed is mystifying to me.

Dawn:

Well, yeah. There clearly was somebody else in the tent with Nick. Did they have something to do with Nick’s death? Where had they gone? And why hadn’t they taken all their things with them?

Cole:

 There were just so many unanswered questions at this stage. I can’t understand what police were thinking. How could they possibly think that Nick would have random sizes and types of clothes and boots with him? It makes no sense. Plus, he’d not have been able to carry all the equipment, shoes and clothes that were inside the tent by himself, as well as the tent itself by himself from where his car had been found 43 miles or 69 kilometres away. Surely the rationale was that he had met someone and that they’d been walking together and decided to pitch the tent and stay together there too?

Dawn:

Yeah, that sounds logical to me.

Cole:

Anyway, having found these items, Kenny and his colleagues became very conscious that they might contaminate a crime scene and so they left the tent. He did say that an email had been sent to a senior police officer about them finding the condom, but he never heard any more about it as a senior detective took over the case at this time and Kenny went back to his usual job. While he did have questions about the scene and what was found, he assumed that the detectives would look into things and come up with satisfactory answers, it just wasn’t in his best interest to step on their toes. So, he carried on with his job thinking nothing more of it. Kenny then changed jobs a few years later and became a police recruit trainer, and this is when Nick’s case and all of the questions he had at the time came back to his mind again. Kenny remembered this case and thought it would be an ideal case to use for training purposes of the right way to carry out an investigation. He went to collect the photographs and any additional investigation paperwork into the case, only to be shocked by what he actually discovered. None of the loose ends that he thought needed answering back in 2008 had been investigated. He also found that the items that had been discovered in the tent and what was captured in the photographs taken didn’t actually tie up with what had been logged; two sleeping bags were clearly seen in the photographs taken by the police photographer, however only one sleeping bag was apparently recorded as evidence. While it had been recorded that the rucksacks did have different sizes and styles of clothing in them, it had not been recorded that there had been different sizes of boots in the tent too. Worse was yet to be discovered by Kenny. Shortly after the case had been deemed as not suspicious in any way, despite the findings in the tent, the decision had been made to incinerate the evidence, deciding it was no longer needed, the case had been solved and closed in the police’s opinion. So, now there would be no way, even if the investigation could be reopened, to test any of the clothing, boots, knife or sleeping bag for DNA to try and find out who might have been the last person in the tent with Nick or who may have killed him, if he had indeed been murdered. All the evidence was gone. Apparently the condom had been logged separately so there might be a chance that it was still being kept in an evidence room somewhere, but let’s face it, it’s doubtful. Kenny could not believe what he’d stumbled upon. Why on earth had there not been an investigation into Nicks’s death? How could this have been deemed non-suspicious if there had not been an investigation or testing for DNA? He was dumbfounded and angry, didn’t this man deserve to have his death investigated? Didn’t he deserve justice if he had been murdered? And, how could this be justified? Having served as a respected police officer for 21 years, in 2014 Kenny McKechnie left the police force as he’d become disillusioned by it. Finding out how Nick’s death had been investigated, or not fully investigated as the case may be, was just one in a long line of things that led to Kenny leaving the police, a bit acrimoniously it might be said. It would be a further three years before Kenny finally went public and made the allegations into the standard of policing in the case of Nicholas Randall’s death and called for an investigation to be carried out. He also stated that he felt Nick’s death had been deemed not suspicious as there was not enough money or resources to launch a murder investigation. Following the allegations by Kenny, Detective Superintendent Callum Young made a statement saying that “A thorough investigation was carried out by a team led by a detective inspector and included forensic specialists and a post-mortem examination.” He went on to say that “There was no information at the time to suggest the death was suspicious. Should anyone have any information about the death, I would ask them to call the police at Dumbarton on 101 and it will be followed up.” It was stated that the evidence found in the tent did not suggest a suspicious death. The police’s internal professional standards department were asked to look into how the officers back in 2008 dealt with the findings inside the tent, however, upon the conclusion of the investigation the findings were that they agreed with the detectives from 2008 and their conclusion was that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Nick’s death.

Dawn:

What?! Well that is so frustrating.

Cole:

Yeah. Kenny felt the same when he found out. However, Kenny wasn’t alone in his thinking by this time. A member of the Scottish Parliament, Liam Kerr, said that he too felt the death seemed highly suspicious, agreeing that the findings after the new internal investigation were startling. His thoughts seemed to be with the Randall family who continued to be at the centre of this and who only ever wanted to know the truth about what happened to their son. So much so that in 2018 Liam Kerr had asked Lord Advocate James Wolfe QC to review the case notes in relation to Nicholas Randall’s case, as he felt strongly that most people reading reports on this case would agree that there appears to be more to it. According to Wikipedia the Lord Advocate is the chief legal officer of the Scottish government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters.

Dawn:

Okay, so one of the top guys?

Cole:

Yeah, definitely. Unfortunately though, that was in 2018 and there’s been no further information about the outcome or the progress of the investigation, but if anything is found out we will update you.

Dawn:

Okay. Well, at least we know it’s being looked into and that it’s not just been brushed under the carpet again.

Cole:

Yeah, that’s true. Although Kenny did leave the force under a cloud and clearly there had been some bad blood, but he said his feelings towards the police had nothing to do with him coming forward now and telling his side of the story. He said he did it because he thinks Nick’s parents deserve to know the truth. Regardless of Kenny’s motivations, it is clear from the photos taken by the police photographer that there is more to this story than was initially told. Mr and Mrs Randall had no idea of the circumstances Nick was found in, no idea that there was ever a suggestion that there might have been a companion in the tent with him, possibly involved in his death, and had no idea that his death was anything other than not suspicious. Upon Kenny McKechnie opening up about the findings in the tent and the supposed subsequent lack of investigation into Nick’s death, Mr and Mrs Randall met with the police and were apparently told that the allegations would be looked into thoroughly. Since then there has been nothing from Mr and Mrs Randall either and I cannot imagine what they are going through. It must be absolute torture having to have this all dragged back up again. So, did Kenny do the right thing? I mean obviously if the investigation wasn’t done correctly or at all and Nick’s death was suspicious then of course it should have been brought up and investigated. Kenny is right that Mr and Mrs Randall do deserve to know the truth, but after nine years of having had time to grieve and try to come to terms with what had happened, is it fair to have opened up a wound again? I don’t know what I would prefer, not knowing or having to relive all the pain again.

Dawn:

Personally, I would want to know and I think Kenny did do the right thing, I just wish it’d all come to light a bit sooner.

Cole:

So, why don’t you contact us on social media and tell us what your thoughts are, as well as what your take is on what happened, what version are you leaning towards? Was Nick murdered by a person he met while walking on the West Highland Way and it wasn’t investigated properly by the police, or did he die tragically, non-suspiciously, from natural causes and the police knew something or had a vital piece of information that proved this? I hope we can bring you a definitive answer to this one day, but with all the evidence and the DNA now having been incinerated, it’s pretty doubtful.

Dawn:

So, two truly awful stories today, and we might never fully know what happened to Sandy and Nick, but hopefully these stories help in highlighting lessons that could and should be learned, especially when it comes to making assumptions when somebody is found dead.

And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them, don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So, that’s it for this week. Come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there! Bye!

Granny Robertson:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter


The George Murdoch Murder

The George Murdoch Murder

UPDATE October 2022:

The murder of Aberdeen Taxi Driver George Murdoch took place on 29thof September 1983, with the 39th anniversary having just passed. While George Murdoch’s murderer has still not been brought to justice, there have been a number of developments in the case.

Reward Increase:

The reward for information on who killed George has now been further increased and now stands at £50,000.

New Information Received:

Following information being received through social media, DI James Callander, the lead detective working on George Murdoch’s murder case, released fresh and potentially significant information to the papers and media. He was for anyone who knows of a male, likely now in his 60s, or 70s, who is small and of stocky build, with a local accent, who frequented Wilson’s Sports Bar, on Market St, Aberdeen in 2015, perhaps still does, and is known to wear or have worn an Iron Maiden T Shirt, to  please contact Police on 101, or send a private message on the FB page Appeal for Information Aberdeen Taxi Driver Murder 1983 – George Murdoch. Alternatively, an email can be sent to jdhallfield@mail.co.uk

Also, on the 11th October, the lead detective on George’s murder case, lead, DI James Callander, appeared again on the programme CrimeWatch to give an update on George’s case.

If you know of an individual, in his 60s or 70s, matching this description, who has been known to wear such a T-Shirt, George Murdoch’s family and the police urge you to come forward if you can help at all.

UPDATE 19.08.2022:

REWARD FOR INFORMATION INCREASED TO £25,000
An amazingly generous gesture from Russell McLeod, managing director of Aberdeen’s Rainbow City Taxis means that the Reward for Information in this case now stands at £25,000.
See the full Facebook post below

UPDATE:

It was recently the 38th anniversary of George Murdoch’s murder and his family have renewed their appeal for information regarding the murder. There is a reward which has been recently doubled and now stands at £20,000. So, if you were in the Aberdeen area in 1983 or knew anyone who was in the area during this time who might remember something about this horrific murder, then the family would really like to hear from you with any information you may have, however small or insignificant you think it might be, as anything you might know could really help this investigation. One particular detail is regarding cheese wire usage in the area at the time.  Uses for cheesewire may have been dehorning cattle, cutting large blocks of ice in the fishing industry, cutting clay in sculpting or cutting cores in the offshore industry. But do you know of any other uses or professions that haven’t been mentioned, and if so, this would also be valuable information that the police and George Murdoch’s family would love to know about.

Please, if you know anything at all, contact either the Police on 101 in the UK or contact the family directly on their Facebook page at Appeal for Information Aberdeen Taxi Driver Murder 1983 – George Murdoch

If there is anything you or anyone you know remembers from September 1983 in Aberdeen, then this could be invaluable in finding out who murdered George Murdoch, and finally give his family the closure they have been waiting for.

Episode Summary

A taxi driver working in Aberdeen on the night of 29 September 1983 picked up a seemingly harmless fare, but two miles into the journey things took a deadly turn. 

Please Be Advised – This episode may contain content that some may find distressing. As always, we advise listener discretion. This episode it not suitable for anyone under the age of 13.

Listen on:

The Last Fare eBook: McKay, Robina S.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

World Population Review – Aberdeen Population

Wikipedia- Aberdeen

Who was Scotland’s cheese wire killer? The brutal murder of an Aberdeen taxi driver – Daily Record

George Murdoch murder: Dozens of calls about 1983 Aberdeen killing – BBC News

George Murdoch murder: Police remain optimistic about finding 1983 killer – BBC News

George Murdoch – True Crime Library

George Murdoch: Family’s emotional appeal to help trace Aberdeen taxi driver’s killer – Evening Express

Family of murdered Aberdeen taxi driver hope new book will bring ‘cheese wire killer’ to justice 36 years later – Daily Record

Family of ‘Cheese Wire Killer’ victim still seek justice 35 years on | Press and Journal

Cheesewire Killer: Anguished relatives of murdered man in 1980s extend time on their £10,000 reward – Daily Record

Renewed bid to find Aberdeen cheese wire killer 35 years on – BBC News

Nephew of Scots cabbie brutally battered and choked to death in 1983 offers £10,000 to snare ‘Cheesewire Killer’ and solve uncle’s mystery killing

Reward for information about murdered Aberdeen taxi driver extended | Press and Journal

Family of murdered taxi driver George Murdoch publishes book about unsolved case | Press and Journal

Family hopes new book on George Murdoch’s murder will help finally close 36-year-old cold case | Press and Journal

‘Police chiefs to blame for “cheese wire killer” getting away’ | Press and Journal

Blood and Granite: True crime from Aberdeen eBook: Adams, Norman: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

10,000 reward to catch murderer who killed taxi driver 31 years ago – Evening Express

 

If you have any information relating to this case, contact;

101 (UK).

Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (UK),

Email dedicated inbox at SCDHOLMESAberdeen@scotland.pnn.police.uk.

The Last Fare

by Robina S McKay

Synopsis

Thursday 29th Sept 1983. It had been a miserable, dreich day in Aberdeen and rain was still falling, as taxi driver, George Murdoch, made his way along Queens Rd. Up ahead, he spotted a young guy attempting to flag down a cab. Pulling in for him, he stopped and his passenger climbed into the seat behind him. As he indicated to pull out, George glanced at the clock dial. This would be his last fare of the night. Soon, he’d be heading home to his wife and the warm meal she’d have waiting for him. But George would not make it home that night, nor any other.

His nightmare was only just beginning…………

Our Review

Dawn:

A taxi driver working in Aberdeen on the night of the 29th of September 1983 picked up a seemingly harmless fare, but a few minutes into the journey things took a deadly turn.

Dawn and Cole:

Hi wee ones. I’m Dawn and I’m Cole, and this is Scottish Murders.

Dawn:

George Murdoch, known to his friends and family as Dod, was made redundant in his mid-50s.It was a bit difficult for George to secure another job at this time due to his age and job prospects at the time, but he was determined to find employment. Eventually he decided to give taxi driving a go, it was a good easy way of making some money to pay the bills and take care of himself and his wife Jesse. He and Jesse had been happily married for 37 years, having married when George was 21 years old. George and Jesse sadly never had any children of their own, but they had lots of nieces and nephews who they doted on. They also had become best friends with their neighbours who also had children and they saw them as their grandchildren. George and Jesse had so much love to give. George and Jesse also loved animals and had a dog named Patch, who they adored and spoilt rotten. George also tried his hand at keeping pigeons, but unfortunately his pigeons just weren’t that keen on returning home. This was all well known and often caused a laugh or two. George was described by everyone he knew as being a kind, gentle and friendly man who always had a smile on his face, and himself and Jesse liked nothing more than spending a weekly night out at a local pub with friends and family, laughing and playing bingo. They had a quiet, simple life, but they were very content and happy with each other and looked forward to growing old together. Now when George decided he would start taxi driving, Jesse wasn’t too pleased about this as she was worried for his safety. George however, always the optimist, assured her that it would be okay and that he would never resist a robber, it just wasn’t worth it. George started taxi driving around 1980. He would often be seen in his sky blue Ford Cortina happily driving the locals around, sharing a story or two with them on their journey, and George was very well liked and respected in the local community. On Thursday the 29th of September 1983, George’s taxi shift would have gone as normal, ferrying locals to and from Aberdeen. Aberdeen is a city in the northeast of Scotland and is the third largest city in Scotland, with a population of over 241,000. It is known for its strong ties with the north sea boasting notable fishing and shipping industries, as well as being known as the offshore oil capital of Europe since the 1970s. Aberdeen is also known as the Granite City due to many of the buildings in the city being made from the local grey granite, which sparkles like silver in the sunlight. Thursdays in Aberdeen were late night shopping so it would have been busy. This particular Thursday was cold and the rain was falling heavily. George had been busy all evening and he was at last nearing the end of his shift. About 8.25pm as George was driving along Queens Road, up ahead he would have seen a young man standing on the pavement waving him down. The young man got into the taxi behind George and George pulled away. At 8.28 pm, George radioed the control room and said that he had picked up a fare for Peterculter, which was about six miles or about nine kilometres away. Then, for some reason, about two miles or about three kilometres into the journey, George turned his taxi into Pitfodels Station Road, which was about four miles or six kilometres short of the supposed destination. This street is about four miles west of Aberdeen city centre, it is quiet and dimly lit and runs all the way down to Garthdee Road, starting on a steep slope and going downwards as you turn into it. It would have been at this point that his passenger, who had been quietly sitting behind George, placed a steel cheese wire around his neck. It cut deeply into George’s neck and he would have panicked and probably initially froze in shock. However, this didn’t last long and he started fighting for his life, somehow managing to get the cheese wire away from his neck and get out of the taxi. However, the attacker was on top of him straight away and was stronger than him, younger than him, and before George could do anything else the attacker’s hands were around his neck and squeezing… hard. George would have fought hard but inevitably there was nothing he could do. With George slowly slipping into unconsciousness, the attacker grabbed his wallet and what little money George had in his taxi and fled the scene, leaving George fatally wounded and dying. God that’s awful. He must have been terrified. The first officers on the scene were dog handler PC Alan Hendry and a young officer who had been doing dog training exercises nearby that night, and so arrived on the scene quickly. George was lying in a pool of blood with severe injuries to his head, face and neck, and was barely alive when the first police officers arrived. After calling for backup PC Hendry stayed with George until the paramedics arrived, who then lifted George into the ambulance. Even though the paramedics did their best to save George, he died at the scene shortly after their arrival. He was 58 years old.

Cole:

He really didn’t deserve that.

Dawn:

Nobody would have deserved that. Following the murder the street was quickly cordoned off by the police and a murder investigation was launched. Over the next week or so extensive searches of the area were carried out, as well as police visiting 10,000 homes and 8,000 statements being taken, however, after all of this the only thing found connected to the murder and murderer was a cheese wire or a garrotte wire, which had been found near the scene. Now, there had been witnesses to the attack on George, two teenage cyclists were on their way home and were cycling up the slope and spotted George’s taxi facing down the hill with the lights on. As they’d passed they had seen George being pinned down by the murderer on the ground outside of his taxi and being strangled.

Cole:

Did they not do anything?

Dawn:

Well they were just teenagers so they were probably terrified, but they did cycle immediately to the nearest phone box and they called the police. The police had received this call just after 9pm and had radioed for a police officer to attend, with PC Alan Hendry being the nearest and showing attending. The two boys told the police that the attacker was thin built, in his late 20s to early 30s, with very dark hair. A couple out for a walk that evening in the area also reported to the police that they had seen a man running 200 yards from the scene. Apparently this was just moments after the teenagers had witnessed the fight. They gave a description of the man as being a thin man, roughly five foot seven inches, aged late twenties to early thirties, with short, dark, well-groomed hair that sat over his ears. Another witness had apparently seen a man matching this description running towards Aberdeen about five minutes later. Now about three weeks after the murder the staff in a chip shop in Great Western Road in Mannofield, which was about a mile and just under two kilometres from the murder scene, came forward and said that about 15 minutes after the murder a man matching the description came into the chip shop and ordered a fish supper.

Cole:

Did you say it took them three weeks to come forward?

Dawn:

Yeah, I did. Apparently, at the time, they had not connected the murder that had happened just along the road from them to this man being in their chip shop.

Cole:

You would think that they would be able to connect the two a little bit quicker as it was a local murder.

Dawn:

Yeah, exactly. They also said that this man had blood dripping from a hand injury and scratches on his cheek and nose, and a bruise was developing on one of his eyes, and that he spoke with a local accent.

Cole:

If I owned a chip shop and a man came in with blood dripping from his hands, scratches on his cheek and nose and a bruise on his face, I think I’d call the police regardless.

Dawn:

Apparently, as well there was actually six customers in the chip shop that night, but only one man was ever traced.

Cole:

Six people and only one person came forward? That’s crazy.

Dawn:

Yeah, exactly. And it was a popular theory by the locals that this man was the actual killer, but the police didn’t believe that.

Cole:

Yeah, I guess I can understand that. I mean, I doubt that you’re committing a horrible murder and then going to pick up a bag of chips.

Dawn:

I think the staff in the chip shop had probably just thought that this man had been in a fight or that had been drinking and had fallen over and he was just getting his fish supper and then heading home.

Cole:

Yeah. I mean, I can understand that, but it is a bit of a coincidence isn’t it?

Dawn:

It is a bit, and I do wish that they’d come forwards a bit sooner. However, the man in the chip shop has never been found and the theory’s just been ruled out. Shortly after the murder, the police also carried out a high-profile inquiry where they attended Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen when Aberdeen was playing Celtic, where they checked the hands of every male aged between 16 and 30 for damage, which would indicate this may be the killer. Apparently they saw this as an ideal opportunity where they could check a large number of males hands for any wounds. If the killer was going to a game and saw the police wouldn’t he just turn around and go home? Well, no, because the large police presence was only obvious once the supporters reached the turnstiles, by which time it would be too late to turn around and leave for fear of drawing attention to yourself. The police reported that everyone attending the game was extremely cooperative, however, the police had not anticipated that so many people would attend the game with cuts on their hands. After checking out all the people that had cuts on their hands and their stories, unfortunately no further leads were generated. Now, the cheese wire found at the scene was a potential clue to the identity of the killer, due to being able to narrow down the search possibly depending on the work a person did, however, cheese wire was used for a variety of things at the time, such as obviously cutting cheese, it was also used by oil workers for cutting core samples, by pottery makers, those in the fish industry, also used for removing windscreens from vehicles, and even apparently used for cutting through the horns on cattle, so there were quite a few uses for cheese wire. So, do you know anyone back in September 1983 working in any of these industries who perhaps had cuts and bruises on their face and hands? Or were you expecting anyone to come to your home that night that worked in any of these industries that didn’t turn up? Over the years the police have carried on following different lines of inquiry and there have been appeals from the family, but there just hasn’t been enough information or leads to track down this evil killer. Now, while it has never been determined exactly why George was killed, his wallet and money were stolen, the murderer could have been someone addicted to drink or drugs looking for easy money. If this was a robbery gone seriously wrong it is poignant to note that if the killer had just asked then George would have handed over the money no questions, as he always told his wife Jesse that he would do this. However, this was an extreme and excessively violent attack just to have been a robbery gone terribly wrong. Why was this man carrying a cheese wire with him in the first place? Did he use this for work? George was a very mild-mannered, gentle man who most certainly would not have antagonised the killer in any way for him to have attacked George so savagely. Did this man have anger problems? Or did this man simply decide that this was the night when he would cruelly take an innocent taxi driver’s life, and it didn’t matter who it was. This evil man would be approaching his seventies now and has enjoyed a life, which has been denied to George and his family. Now, when someone is murdered so horrifically you sometimes focus on the awful murder and forget about the family left behind having to find a way through. One person left behind after George’s murder was his wife Jesse. Jesse never recovered from the horrific murder of her beloved husband, her world had been turned upside down on the evening the police had come to her home to tell her the news about George’s murder. She loved George, they had plans for when George retired, but more than that they just looked forward to spending more time together. It was not just George’s life that had been taken that night. Jesse was a slight figure and after the murder she lost weight leading to her becoming frail. Over the years Jesse suffered many strokes and her legs started to get weak, which led to weakness and frailty. So much so that she eventually wasn’t able to go out on her own. Jesse did have huge support from her sisters, brother, nieces and nephews and the wonderful neighbours who lived next door, who she and George had become so close with. Jesse lived for another 21 years, dying in 2004 at the age of 76. In early 2015, George’s family issued another appeal and this time offered a £10,000, just under $14,000,

reward for any information that could lead to the conviction of George’s murderer. Again, some information was given to the police, but still not the lead or information that they would need to find the killer that had thus far evaded justice. Now, the investigation so far sounded like the police had been doing everything they could to try and find George’s killer via appeals, inquiries, witness statements etc, however, on the 17th of April 2017, 33 years after the murder, former police officer and the first police officer on the horrific scene in 1983 Alan Hendry, who went on to become an Aberdeenshire councillor, came forward to claim that he felt his superiors missed the opportunity to catch the killer quickly, close the case and give the family closure. The former police officer has always questioned just how well the searches were conducted at the time. He felt that he had been sent on a wild goose chase at the time while the killer was nearby watching the investigation unfold. He explains that after his superiors arrived he was told to take his German Shepherd to Peterculter, which is approximately 10 miles or 16 kilometres away, and to walk back along the old railway line, through the pouring rain back towards the scene of the killing. However, PC Hendry believed that the killer was actually hiding in a nearby field watching what was unfolding. By going through this field it would eventually take you out at the railway line. PC Henry believed if he had been allowed to do his job and search the immediate area he would have found the killer that night. PC Hendry was so convinced of the failings of the officer in charge on that night that the next day, once it had stopped raining, he took his German Shepherd back to the crime scene and let him loose in the field. Apparently, the dog indicated an area of ground in the field behind an embankment right on the edge of the Pidfodels Station road where somebody had been lying.

Cole:

Yeah, but that could have just been someone having a nosy at what was going on, unrelated to the attack at all.

Dawn:

Exactly. But as it’s been quite a number of years ago now we’ll never know for sure. Police Scotland didn’t comment specifically on these allegations, but they did say that they remain committed to solving unsolved murders, they are regularly reviewed and any forensic techniques are used to assist in this. On the 27th of September 2018, which would have been the 35th anniversary of George’s death, Detective Inspector Gary Winter from the Major Investigation Team organised a major media appeal in the hope that it might reach someone that had information about this case that hadn’t come forward yet. He advised that the team would be reviewing the case, reinterviewing the witnesses who saw the assault, and that the most advanced forensic techniques available would be used. He informed that the killer would be approaching his late 60s or early 70s by now. Detective Inspector Winter also stated that the cheese wire found at the scene had been used in the attack and a photograph of an identical cheese wire was also released at this time. Also at this appeal, a photograph was released that showed George and Jesse at their nephew’s wedding in 1977, and I have put both of these photos on the website. George’s nephew, Alex 61, who was 26 years old when his uncle was murdered, also spoke on behalf of the family at this appeal. Alex reiterated that the £10,000 or just under $14,000 reward was still being made available by the family for any information that resulted in the arrest of the person responsible. He spoke of memories he had of George, talked about George’s wife Jesse, and asked that people think back to 1983 and come forward with any information they might remember to the police. And what followed from the public was incredible, the police received over 100 calls and emails, and they were still being contacted by individuals in the following months. It just goes to show that despite the passage of time people still remember the tragic night George was murdered and desperately want to help give the family the closure they deserve. However promising it is that the police have received such a response to the appeal in 2018 and the advanced techniques that can be used, George’s murderer has still not been identified. Following this appeal, Alex, George and Jesse’s nephew, continued to speak out about the couple in the hopes of raising awareness and triggering a memory in somebody that could possibly lead to the arrest of George’s killer. Alex still remembers receiving the call from his mother at 11pm on the night of George’s murder breaking the news to him. He was badly shaken, and recalls that for many weeks after the murder the whole family was in turmoil and shock over the horrific senseless killing of their kind, gentle, always smiling Dod. He went on to say that Jesse had the kindest soul and she was deeply affected by the murder. She was scared being in her own home as the murderer had taken George’s wallet and she was afraid that this evil man would know her address and come to her home. She had thought about moving maybe to somewhere smaller, but this thought quickly was dismissed as she had so many memories of George in the house, there was no way she could leave. Alex said that apparently Jesse never really talked about what happened that night, possibly she was trying to protect her family from the horror and pain but they all felt it nonetheless. In April 2020, it was revealed that Robina McKay, who is the wife of George and Jesse’s nephew Alex, was in the process of writing a book as she wanted to tell Jesse’s story following the murder to hopefully strike a chord in people and allow insight into exactly what this heinous crime had done to George’s wife. This book is called The Last Fare and can be bought on paperback or Kindle from Amazon. I’ve actually read this book and it was told beautifully, it really made Jesse and George into real people and told of their time together, giving an insight into their thoughts. You were able to see them as a loving couple and not just victims of something absolutely horrendous. I’d really recommend this book. Alex has said that now all of George’s closest relatives have passed away, it is really down to Alex and his family to try to keep George’s story in the limelight and catch George’s killer, before Alex passes too. Hopefully one day soon someone will come forward with that one missing piece of information, who killed George Murdoch. As of this episode being released, there have still been no further developments, despite the many appeals for information over the years. If you’re listening to this episode and you think you might have information about this case that you haven’t shared with the police, no matter how small, please contact 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Or alternatively you can email a dedicated inbox at SCDHOLMESAberdeen@scotland.pnn.police.uk. And hopefully George Murdoch’s killer can finally be brought to justice. All of these contact details will be put on our website.

And that’s the end. If you’ve enjoyed this episode and know just the person who’d also like it, please share it with them,  don’t keep it to yourself.

Cole:

Please also get in touch on social media if you have any questions, comments or suggestions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. All social media and contact details are on our website scottishmurders.com, as well as all the source material and photos related to this episode.

Dawn:

So that’s it for this week, come back next time for another episode of Scottish Murders.

Dawn and Cole:

Join us there, Bye!

Granny Robertson:

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn.

Scottish Murders is a production of Cluarantonn

Hosted by Dawn and Cole

Researched and Written by Dawn Young

Produced and Edited by Dawn Young and Peter Bull

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Music:

Dawn of the Fairies by Derek & Brandon Fiechter

Gothic Wedding by Derek & Brandon Fiechter