Monday 24 September 2018

Queens Part - Part Two - 1960-2008

Forty years after the 1920 Fraser and Rollins trial, in 1960, 19 year old Anthony Miller and 16 year old James Denovan were charged with beating and murdering a man in near identical circumstances to the Henry Senior murder, in the very same part of Queens Park Recreation. Yet, in this case, it was Denovan who played the part that Helen white had played in 1920, luring the victim to a secluded area of the park with the promise of sex while Miller hid ready to ambush the unsuspecting john. Miller and Denovan had perpetrated a series of violent muggings in the area, a local cruising spot, but due to the fact homosexuality was still illegal in 1960, none of the victims came forward to report the incidents to police. The younger man Denovan would later describe in court how he was used as bait, he would wait until he was approached by a likely mark before leading them to a remote corner of the park whereupon Miller would step out and demand that they hand over all their cash and valuables, using violence if they resisted. It was a system that worked for over a year, the pair comfortable in the knowledge that their victims would be unlikely to go the police. But one robbery on April 6th 1960 went wrong.

The victim, 48 year old John Cremin, had been battered around the head with a wooden plank and left for dead under a bush in Queens Park Recreation Ground, his body would not be recovered for three days until it was stumbled upon by a dog walker. It was initially believed that Cremin had fallen while drunk and died of natural causes, he had been wearing a cap that night which hid the severity of his injuries. However, a subsequent police post-mortem would reveal that Cremin had died due to a massive brain haemorrhage caused by being struck with a heavy implement and a murder investigation was launched.

Despite the fact that the pair would soon learn from the newspapers that their last attack had been fatal, Miller and Denovan continued their string of robberies undeterred. They even seem to revel in the news that they had committed murder. The pair were regulars of the Cathkin Café on Victoria Road, and a number of friends would later tell police how Miller and Denovan would often boast loudly in the café about what they had done to Cremin. Some even recalled one occasion when the two ghoulishly pointed out the very spot in the Recreation Ground where Cremin had been murdered, with Denovan jokingly suggesting that the party observe two minutes of silence for him. It was not until Denovan was arrested on a charge of ‘indecency’ that the pair were linked to the Cremin murder. During his arrest officers found a neatly clipped newspaper article on the murder on his person, no doubt kept to validate his frequent boasting, it was when he was questioned on it that the young man broke down and confessed.

Queen's Park, 1960s

At the trial that November, the 16 yr old Denovan, a minor, gave crucial evidence against his older companion. During the trial it was crucial to establish which of the pair had delivered the fatal blow that night. Due to the terms of the recent Homicide Act of 1957, only the person whose hands had dealt the fatal blow could be hanged for the crime, an effort to avoid a repeat of the controversial Craig and Bentley case. Denovan claimed that the length of wood which had been the murder weapon had been wielded by Miller and Miller alone and that he has no idea that his friend was going to strike such a severe blow. The jury took only 33 minutes to return a guilty verdict, with the younger man sentenced to indefinite detention and the 19yr old Miller sentenced to death by hanging.

Miller’s parents immediately launched a public campaign to have their son’s sentence commuted to life imprisonment, setting up a permanent stall in Glasgow’s city centre and with the help of many volunteers they quickly amassed more than 30,000 signatures in their favour. Miller’s appeal lawyers argued that Anthony was only 19 years old, he had no previous convictions, he came from a good home, and the murder was obviously not premeditated. However, the appeal court dismissed the case out of hand, and calls for the then Secretary of State for Scotland to recommend a royal pardon were ignored. Len Murray, who would go on to become one of Scotland’s most respected lawyers, oversaw Miller’s appeal, he would later speak of the indifference he felt the judiciary showed to the case: ‘A boy’s life was at stake but we were made to feel that it was an impertinence to bring that case into the Appeal Court. We were left with a thoroughly unpleasant taste in our mouths.’ 

Miller would be the last person ever to be hanged in Glasgow, the second last in Scotland before Henry John Burnet in 1963.

Queen’s Park would again feature in a prominent homicide in 1995 when 35 year old Michael Doran was brutally murdered by a gang of four teenagers in an unprovoked homophobic attack. The four had already attacked three other homosexual men in the park that night, but the Doran attack was particularly frenzied, he was stabbed several times, stamped and kicked, and his face and skull were smashed beyond recognition. He was left for dead suffering severe brain damage with every bone in his face broken, he was only discovered when a police man investigating one of the earlier assaults heard gurgling coming from one of the bushes. He was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries soon after. Three of the youths, their clothes still stained with Doran’s blood, then gate-crashed a party on Pollockshaws Road, boasting of what they had just done.

The four accused, one a 14yr old girl, a boy of 16 and a young man of 20, and one of 18, all from the Cardonald district of Glasgow, appeared in court accused of assault and murder. Due to the brutality of the case, the judge took the unusual step of lifting reporting restrictions which would usually prevent the 14 year old girl being named in the press, when the verdict was announced her mother was reported to scream: ‘No! No! She never done it!’  It was discovered during the trial that one of the accused proclaimed an intense hatred of homosexuals following abuse by a neighbour as a boy.

 The victim’s sister told press outside the trial: ‘These monsters should be dangling from the end of a rope too for what they did to our Michael (alluding to similarities with the 1960 Anthony Miller case)…They picked on my brother because he was gay and they did it for the pure fun of it. We had to identity by mother in the mortuary, it was horrible, his face was unrecognisable, the only way we could tell it was him was by a burn at the top of his chest.’

Yet again in 2008 Detective Chief Inspector Derek Robertson heard the now familiar words ‘You need to take a call. We have found a body in Queen’s Park.’ Thus began perhaps the case that still looms largest in the city’s consciousness when it hears the words ‘murder’ and ‘Queen’s park.’ The semi naked body of a woman had been found lying face down behind a privet hedge, immediately the entire park was in lockdown as police attempted to preserve the crime scene.

Moira Jones with a friend

 Detectives found business papers and toiletries among the items found scattered around the body, but no form of identification. Officers checked missing person reports and started ringing around local hotels to see if any guests had failed to check out. The strongest lead was a recent invoice recovered from the scene belonging to a sales executive for the drinks giant Britvic, her name was Moira Jones, 40 years old, who lived in a tenement flat on Queen’s Drive, overlooking the park. The home was empty, but once officers forced entry, they found family photographs which confirmed their suspicions that Jones was the dead woman. Moira had lived in Glasgow for five years, but was originally from Weston in Staffordshire.

Queens Drive, where Moira lived

As detectives began to construct a timeline of her final movements they discovered that she had left her boyfriend Paul Thomson’s flat in Minerva Street, Cranstonhill the previous night following an argument. This explained why Jones was carrying an overnight bag when she was ambushed, less than 60 yards from her front door. Due to the argument, Mr Thomson was taken in for questioning and his flat was searched, but he was quickly dismissed as a suspect. Of the scene, lead forensic scientist Carol Rogers recalls: ‘As soon as I saw her I knew it was going to be sexually motivated because of the state of her clothing.’ 

A post-mortem examination would later reveal that Jones had suffered 65 injuries during an ordeal which lasted more than two hours, the savage nature of the crime suggested that it was not the work of a first offender. Forensic officers were able to recover DNA from semen and constructed a full DNA profile, but it failed to match any profile on the UK database. During the early stages of the investigation suspicion initially fell on the 22 registered sex offenders who lived near the murder scene, police also compiled a list of everyone who had committed a criminal offence in or around the park, including crimes ranging from underage drinking up to violent sexual offences. Officers carried out extensive door to door enquiries in the area, taking more than 3,000 statements and more than 250 DNA samples, yet the killer remained at large.

It was not long however before detectives were able to establish where Moira Jones had first come into contact with her killer, they discovered a piece of handbag strap and some toiletries on a grass island on Queens Park. The spot was only 10 yards from where Moira has parked her black Toyota Rav4, at approximately 11.30pm on the 28th of May, it would become known as the ‘strike scene.’ Another breakthrough quickly followed, CCTV footage recovered from a moving bus showed a couple crossing Langside road and walking along the perimeter of the park. The woman was identified as Moira, Inspector Robertson describes the footage: ‘He (the suspect) is monstrously bigger than Moira. He has control of her and he has control of her property (her overnight bag). He is deciding where she is going.’ In light of what happened next, Carol Rodger, the lead forensic scientist on the case would say: ‘The CCTV from the bus, I think, is the worst thing I have ever seen. It is horrendous.’

A holly bush near the park tennis courts was identified as a second key location after a witness reported to police that he had spotted a couple there, a search recovered six buttons from Moira’s blouse and a cigarette butt, matching the suspects DNA. Meanwhile, detectives uncovered CCTV footage of a man matching the suspects appearance leaving he park, near Queen’s Park Baptist Church on Balvicar Drive at approximately 2.15am. Separate clips captured the same figure discarding a laptop then checking the back of his hand as he walked along Nithsdale road. Detectives consulted the UK National Criminal Database to see if such a pattern had been seen before – but they came up empty handed.


 Then, in June, an eastern European witness came forward, living in a bedsit in the area of the murder, she claimed that she had been living with a man named Marek Harcar for a few days but that he had left after Moira Jones has been killed. Harcar, 32, had slept in the same bed as the witness, Lucie Pechtlova, but she had always turned down his sexual advances. Around 10pm on 28th May Harcar left the bedsit, returning at 3.15am the following morning. From then on Lucie said Harcar appeared ‘scared of something’, on the 1st of June he fled Scotland without his belongings. Glasgow officers soon after obtained a European Arrest Warrant against Harcar and faxed it to the Slovakian authorities, within 24 hours Harcar was arrested, hiding in a friend’s house in the rural village of Nalepkvovo. Police recovered specks of Moira Jones’s blood from the leather jacket he was wearing during his arrest.

 Harcar maintained his innocence throughout the trial at the High Court in Glasgow, despite this the jury required less than an hour to return a unanimous guilty verdict on the 8th of April 2009. Harcar was sentenced to spend a minimum of 25 years behind bars, and faces deportation when he is released. The judge told Harcar during sentencing that ‘your conduct that night reflects a level of wickedness very rarely encountered.’

Sunday 23 September 2018

Queens Park - Part One - 1920

Acquired in 1857 Glasgow’s Queen’s Park with its large stretches of manicured lawns, wide avenues lined with trees and spectacular views over the city from its highest point, is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll, some nature loving or just some quiet reflection. Yet, despite its calm aura, the park is no stranger to bloodshed. The park is located on the site of the 16th century Battle of Langside, one of the most important battles in Glasgow’s history and the site of more than 100 deaths, even its namesake, Mary Queen of Scots (not Queen Victoria, a common misconception) carries a particularly bloody association. But the parks dark history does not end in the distant past, this entry will detail four major murder cases to take place in Queens Park, stretching from 1920 to 2008. So, join me, won’t you, for a dark tour of Glasgow’s Queen’s Park.  

Wednesday the 4th of February 1920 was a typically cold Glasgow day as two nine year old boys, students of the nearby Deaf and Dumb Institute, made their way into Queens Park Recreation Grounds to play a game of football. Shortly after beginning their game, one of the boys, giving the ball a particularly hard kick causing it to fly past his friend before coming to rest in a clump of bushes. As the young boy bent down to retrieve the ball, he recoiled in horror as he came to realise that the football had come to rest against the dead body of a man. Running as fast as they could, the two boys returned to the Deaf and Dumb Institute with the news of their gruesome find. Soon the park was swarming with police, charged first with identifying the corpse. This would be no easy task, there were no personal papers or identification located on the body, and the face of the victim was so badly beaten that it was completely beyond identification. A note was made that the man’s shoes had been removed and both trouser pockets had been torn away with a knife rather than just turned out, suggesting robbery as a motive.

 The corpse was soon removed to the mortuary attached to the nearby Queens Park police station, still unnamed, and thereafter a search of the surrounding parkland commenced. It was not until the following day that a positive identification was made in the case, the victim’s mother having read reports of the grisly find in the newspaper. The body was that of Henry Senior, 35, a bachelor, and stonecutter who lived in the Govanhill district with his widowed mother. She had gone to police to report him missing after he failed to return having gone out on Tuesday night and not having returned by Wednesday afternoon. Due to the severity of the injuries to Senior’s body and face, it was agreed that the victim’s brother would formally identify the body to spare his mother the trauma, but even then, due to disfigurement, identification could only be made based on the clothing worn by the corpse. 

Police ascertained from Mrs Senior that her son had left home around 7.30pm on Tuesday with the intention, he explained, of ‘meeting a girl from Fife’. He originally went to take £10 from a box on the mantelpiece, but his mother warned him about carrying large amounts of a cash, so he replaced most of it leaving the house with only two or three pounds. Although Mrs Senior was anxious when her son did not return that evening, she only made enquiries when she read about the discovery of the murder in the local paper the following morning. From her descriptions of what her son had with him when he left the house that Tuesday, the police were able to publicise that the deceased was missing several items, including a pair of brown boots, an overcoat, a pig skin pocketbook, and some money and army discharge papers. 

A tram conductor came forward claiming that two men had boarded his tramcar around 9.45pm on the night of the murder on Cathcart Road, only yards from the scene of the crime. One of the men, the conductor remembered had a pair of boots sticking out from the pockets of his overcoat, whilst the other man’s hands were stained with blood. The conductor was able to provide descriptions of both men and state that they both departed the tram in the City Centre, on Gordon Street. The police were quick to match the tram conductors descriptions with two men suspected of committing a string of recent violent assaults in the park.

Acting on information, detectives visited numerous addresses in the Govanhill area, no arrests were made but certain leads took the case in an unexpected direction. Early on Saturday morning detective chief inspector Keith and his colleague Detective Inspector Noble caught a boat heading for Belfast, the journey came after a tip suggested that two men fitting the description of the wanted men were spotted at Glasgow’s central Station boarding a boat-train bound for Ireland. Once in Ireland, the Glasgow detectives sought the assistance of the local police who pointed the detectives in the direction of Lord Street, with the information that the men they sought were staying in a boarding house in that area, although they were unable to provide the exact number. Thus, the whole street was placed under observation. That evening two men matching the description of those wanted for murder in Glasgow appeared from a house in Lord Street and were swiftly detained by detectives. 

At the police station, the men gave their names as Albert James Fraser and James Rollins. The two men were stripped of their clothing, which was then taken way for further forensic identification. Nothing was discovered until one sharp-eyed detective noticed that one sleeve of the jacket taken from Fraser appeared to be far cleaner than the rest of the grubby garment. Slashing open the lining, detectives uncovered traces of blood on the lining. An even better clue was a piece of paper detailing the exact address the two men were staying on Lord Street, officers were despatched to search the premises thoroughly. While they were doing so, two young women arrived stating not only that they both resided there, but that they were the girlfriends of Fraser and Rollins. They too were quickly arrested, giving their names to police as Gladys Renton and Elizabeth Stewart. It was soon decided that the four persons detained, Albert James Fraser, James Rollins, Gladys Renton and Elizabeth Stewart should be transported to Glasgow as soon as possible.

 The four arrived at 5.30am on the Sunday morning boat-train from Belfast accompanied by Keith, Noble and two Belfast detectives and two female prison wardens. Despite the early hour of their arrival, crowds had already begun to assemble at Central Station ready to hoot and boo the Belfast four as they entered the Paddy Wagon.

The full circumstances of the case were not revealed until the start of trial which began on the 3rd began on 3rd May 1920 at the High Court in Glasgow. The first shock of the case was that only two of the four, the two men, Fraser and Rollins, faced a murder charge and three assault and robbery charges. The two women arrested in Belfast had given statements to the police regarding their involvement and had subsequently turned King’s Evidence. There was the usual scramble for seats that any murder trial brings, such was the interest that when the case was heard there were more would-be spectators locked out than could squeeze into the court. It was during this time that the jury and the public learnt more about the two men accused:

Albert James Fraser was a 24 year old deserter from the Australian army and James Rollins a 22yrd old Irishman from County Tyrone, also a deserter from the army but from the Irish Guards. In court they sat together in the docks appearing to take great delight in the proceedings, often laughing and joking with each other, seemingly enjoying the fact that the centre of everyone’s attention.  

The court first learned about the victim: 35 year old Henry Senior was a bachelor who resided with his mother at 50 Robson Street, Govanhill. A veteran of the Great War, serving from 1914 with the 11th Hussars until he was badly injured in April 1918. By the time he had recovered from his wounds, the war had ended. He went back to his old employment as a stonecutter. On the fateful evening o Tuesday 3rd February 1920, Senior had got himself dressed up in his best clothes and, having told his mother he was going ‘meet a girl from fife’. Following advice from his mother, Senior took only £2/3 pounds with him when he left the house. The story of what happened next is taken up by Helen Kennan or White, the 22 year old woman who, when she was arrested in Belfast along with the two male accused, gave her name as Gladys Renton. She explained that she was an Aberdonian who had come to Glasgow three years beforehand. She had met and married a Canadian soldier who was on leave, when he had to go back to his unit, she soon took up with the accused Albert Fraser and stayed in lodgings with him in the Maryhill area. On the night in question, both she and Fraser went into the city centre where they met with James Rollins. She was told by both Fraser and Rollins to ‘get a man and they would follow up’. 

Around 9pm, White met Henry Senior in Hope Street. Without much prompting, the couple caught a tramcar heading to the south of the city. The couple alighted the tram near the Queens Park Recreation Ground and walked into the park. They sat down together on the grass next to a wooden fence, whereupon Senior produced a small pocketbook and took out a ten shilling (50p) note, which he handed to White, the agreed fee for the sexual liaison. But before much could take place Fraser and Rollins appeared, confronting Senior, who protested loudly at the unwelcome intrusion. Not expecting Senior’s resistance, Fraser produced a revolver from inside his coat and threatened the older man while Rollins approached the victim from behind, put an arm around his neck and attempted to force him to the ground. Senior continued to struggle, so Fraser proceeded to strike him several times in the face with the butt of the pistol while Rollins continued to compress his neck. At this point the girl, White, was instructed to leave the scene and returned to the city centre. The two men continued to beat Senior until he was unconscious before removing his trouser pockets with a knife, disappointed with only a meagre hail of six shillings (30p), Fraser removed Senior’s boots, hoping to find more money inside, they were empty, so Fraser decided the take the boots themselves, which he put in the pockets of his overcoat. Rollins stole Senior’s tweed overcoat for himself. 

Leaving Senior for dead, the two men left the park and caught a tramcar on nearby Cathcart road where they were observed by the conductor who would later provide their descriptions to the police. They would later meet up again with Helen White, who was given Senior’s blood soaked overcoat and instructed to wash it, which she did before pawning it the following morning for 17 shillings (85p) while Rollins pawned Senior’s boots for eight shilling and sixpence (42.5p). The grand total of money accrued was a measly 41 shillings, or £2.07 in today’s money.

 Later that day, the three met with the Elizabeth Stewart, Rollins’ girlfriend after which the two women went to the cinema on Argyle Street. However, their film was interrupted not long afterward by the two men, frantically trying to get their girlfriends attention by waving a newspaper. The newspaper contained the news that Senior was dead, and the four decided to immediately flee to Ireland where they were later apprehended by police.

The trial lasted only two days and after only 20 minutes of deliberation the jury returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty. The judge informed Fraser and Rollins that they ‘had been convicted of an atrocious murder and, consequently, there was only one duty devolving upon him, donning his black cap he sentenced the pair to death. On hearing this, the two men were reported to have turned to each other, smiled, and shook hands. Some reports even suggested that the prisoners even fooled around, with Fraser spotted wiping away pretend tears from his cheeks in an exaggerated manner while Rollins drew a finger across his throat, as if slashing it, for the benefit of the spectators in the public gallery.

 An appeal was launched for the death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment, the defendant’s lawyers arguing that the two men had entered Queens Park with no intention of committing murder, only assault and robbery, but the appeal was denied.   

On Wednesday 26th May 1920 Albert Fraser and James Rollins were awakened at 6am sharp, served a hearty breakfast, and for the first time since their trial were permitted to associate in a cell together. A short religious ceremony was conducted by the prison chaplain and just before 8am the famed executioner John Ellis entered the cell and pinioned the arms of both men, throughout the men were compliant and in seemingly good spirits. Fraser and Rollins then were walked the short distance from the cell, across the landing to the scaffold. After confirming their identity, they both stepped on the trapdoor without complaint. Ellis placed a white cap over each man’s head, and a noose around each of their necks, as his assistant went to pull the lever to release the trapdoor, Fraser was heard to say ‘Cheer up, Jimmy’ to his companion. The lever was pulled and the two men died instantly. This would be the last double-hanging to ever take place in Scotland. But it was not the last time that Queens Park would take feature prominently in a murder case.

To be continued. 

Monday 27 November 2017

August 1891 - Body of a Child Found in a Box Left in Queen Street Station

On the 6th of August 1891 staff at the Queen Street Station cloakroom began to notice a foul smell emitting from a box that had been checked in on the 21st of July, on opening it they discovered that the box contained the body of a child.  The body was that of a female child, less than 6 months old, wrapped in newspaper, a towel and a piece of blanket, a post-mortem examination would later reveal that the child had been born alive. Examinations would later reveal that the cause of death was due to pressure on the infant’s chest.

Detectives discovered that the box had been handed in on the 21st of July by a woman who gave the name of MacKenzie, but beyond this, almost certainly fake, name, detectives had few leads that looked likely to result in the identification of the depositor. In an effort to stir up new leads, police began to widely circulate descriptions of the box and its contents in the newspapers, an effort which paid off when a woman came forward linking the piece of blanket wrapped around the body with a woman who had abruptly quit her lodgings in Crown Street around the same time that the box was deposited in the station, and was known to have recently given birth to a female child.

Detective-Inspector Carmichael and Sub-Inspector Elliott managed to trace the midwife who had attended the woman, who confirmed that a child had been born on the 17th of July, four days before the body had been left in the cloakroom of Queens Street Station. The midwife also told detectives that the woman had told her that the child was going to be taken care of by her sister, and asked for a piece of flannel in order to keep the child warm on the journey, the midwife later identified this piece of flannel to be the same as the one found in the box. It was discovered that, following the birth of the child, the woman had pawned all her furniture, quit her lodgings, expressing her intention to enter domestic service.

Pursuing this lead, detectives decided to make inquiries at various register offices in the city, leading to the discovery that the woman identified by the midwife had recently secured a position as a domestic servant at a home in Kelvinside. On visiting the home, detectives were surprised to find the door opened by the woman herself, when the detectives informed the woman that they were detectives, she was reported to have replied: ‘I expected it; no one should do evil that good may come out it.’ The woman was then conveyed in a van to the Central Police Office where she gave the name of Mary Ann Anderson or Smellie and her age as 32 years. She informed officers that four years earlier her husband, a timekeeper, had died, leaving her with their two girls, aged 4 and 7. Following her husband's death, she supported herself and her daughters by keeping lodgers in their house on Elderslie Street until they had to move to cheaper lodgings in Crown Street. Soon after this, the woman placed the two girls in a home, and she maintained that the motive for the murder of her illegitimate child was to prevent reproach falling on them.

Monday 10 July 2017

Toryglen Street, Oatlands, March 28th 1961

It was around 5.30pm on the wet afternoon of the 28th March 1961 that a report of a child having fallen from a third storey window at 39 Toryglen Street, Oatlands, Glasgow, came through the ambulance  radio to driver Jack Kirkland. He would later recall that accidents of this kind weren't particularly unusual at that time, he would tell a reporter in the 1980s: 'Accidents of that nature were a common occurrence in those days, especially with the old fashioned windows.' But it soon became apparent that this was no ordinary fall, and this was no accident. Before the ambulance had even reached the scene, a second call came over the radio reporting that not one, but several children had fallen from the same window, as the emergency services fielded dozens of frantic calls from the public. Jack would later recall: 'As we turned into Toryglen Street we were confronted by a nightmare. There was frantic activity, police cars everywhere. The policemen were trying to clear a path for us through the shocked and horrified groups of people ...Women in headscarves and aprons held each other and cried uncontrollably.'

As the responders forced their way through the gathered crowd they were confronted by the sight of five crumpled young bodies lying on the pavement. One of the bodies, four year old Marjorie Hughes, had died on impact and had been mercifully covered by a blanket by onlookers, but miraculously the other four children were still alive, though gravely injured. A neighbour, 45 year old James Haiming, would tell reporters his memories of that day. He had just returned from work when he heard two sickening thuds outside his Toryglen Street home. He would recall: 'I looked out and saw two kiddies lying there.' Having rushed out into the street he saw another child plunging toward the pavement from the third storey window. 'I half caught him on my shoulder before he fell to the ground - but before I could do anything else I looked up and saw two more kiddies on their way down. I felt so helpless, there was nothing I could do.'

 As the paramedics attended to the four injured children, the story of that days events began to emerge. It seemed that the children had been invited by a local woman to her top floor flat to look at a litter of puppies. But once the children were inside, the woman bolted the door, opened the window, and began to throw the children from the window one by one. Once the children began to realise the reality of the situation, they tried to escape. Neighbours hearing the commotion ran up the stairs and began trying to break down the door, while on the other side a sixth child, a young boy, desperately tried to unbolt the door. He would escape unharmed but suffered badly from shock. 

The dead child was Marjorie Hughes (4) of 15 Toryglen Street, and the four injured children, Francis Lennon (7), his sister Margaret Lennon (5) also of 15 Toryglen Street; Thomas Downie Devaney (4) and Daniel McNeill (5). The woman was 37 year old Jean Barclay Waddell, a former hotel receptionist and shorthand typist, she was charged the following day with 1 count of murder and 4 counts of attempted murder at Glasgow's Sheriff Court. During her appearance she was said to have 'bitten her lip but otherwise seemed quite composed.' She would later be found insane and unfit to plead, and was afterwards confined to Carstairs psychiatric hospital.

Jean Barclay Waddell, 37

It would later emerge that Waddell had suffered a complete mental breakdown following the breakup of her marriage to soldier Floyd Oakman. After the end of the second world war she entered a sanatorium to be treated for tuberculous, but while undergoing treatment she assaulted a nurse and was then transferred to a mental institution.  She was said to have suffered from delusions and paranoia, sometimes believing herself t o be Empress of Japan, at other times convinced that she was carrying an illegitimate baby, or that the police were watching her. It would later emerge that she had been subject to electric shock treatment in an attempt to alleviate these symptoms. Afterwards she was said to be so frightened of undergoing shock treatment again that she would tell people that she would rather die, she would attempt suicide by overdose a few days before the murder. Crime writer David Leslie would say of the case: 'What would save Jean from being hung, as much of the public called for, was that by 1961 politicians and most of the public had lost the stomach for marching a female to the scaffold.' She would later fade into anonymity and died in a care home in 2009 at the age of 86.