In 1734 a new Town-House was completed on the former site of St Clement’s Church, which we know today as City Square.  The building was a fairly grand structure, as was indicative of its multiple uses, with beautiful arched piazzas which looked out onto what is now Reform Street.  It was locally referred to as ‘the pillars’.  Markets were held under the safety of the piazzas in bad weather, and it was a place of general hustle and bustle.  Atop the already-impressive building sat a spire which housed a bell, used for calling meetings or tolling proclamations.  A fire in 1773 occurred on the roof of the building – the source of which was never determined – and it caused the frames holding the bell to crash into the rooms below it, causing considerable damage.

Shops took up the majority of the ground floor of the building, with the exception of one room for town officers to stay in, if they needed to. On the first floor were the offices of the Dundee Banking Company, who remained in the building for over 50 years, as well as an apothecary which was also said to have been well established and often-visited.  Above all of this, on the second floor sat the Town Council’s Hall, described to be spacious and elegant, and also another hall (not as nice as the Town Council’s Hall) for the use of the Guildry for meetings and also for the Sheriff and Justices of the Peace to hold courts.

In 1788, a gang robbed the Dundee Banking Company by breaking into the Guildry Hall and ripping up the floor, allowing them access to the bank via its roof.  Dropping into the bank from above, the gang made off with their loot in a daring night time robbery.  Six people went to trial over the incident, and, despite only circumstantial evidence and the testimony of a man who was later sent to Botany Bay for forgery and subsequently hanged aboard the ship for trying to start a mutiny, 3 men were sentenced to death for the robbery.  The guilt of those accused was something of a contentious issue at the time, with many people unconvinced.  As robberies go, it was a fairly gutsy move by those involved – even more so because the Town Hall also housed the jail!

The main jail was on the third floor and was divided into 5 spacious rooms 24 foot long, 12 foot wide and 8 foot high. 2 rooms were kept for debtors, who were expected to provide their own bedding, candles and coal, as well as pay fourpence a day for running fees.  The jail was said to be of a very high standard of cleanliness throughout.  The ‘Iron House’, or jailer’s storeroom separated these 2 rooms at the front of the building from the 2 rooms at the back, which were for criminals.  These rooms were strengthened, with the outer walls being fortified with iron netting, double sets of bars on the windows, and the doors braced with iron rods.  Criminals were dealt with differently to those in debt, being allowed only a straw mattress and two rugs to sleep on. Above this part of the jail, in the attic space, a further 6 jail rooms were situated to account for overflow of prisoners, but by the 1800’s, it was used as the women’s prison.  As with the male jails below, these were also kept to a very high standard.

Whilst hangings were uncommon, they still did occur from time to time.  Murder and rape topped the list of offences, with 5 of the 6 recorded hangings listing this as the crime.  The first hanging recorded was for housebreaking and theft, with the perpetrator being hung to make an example of him.  Our list of hangings is here if you want to take a quick look.  During the time of the Town Hall, hangings took place outside one of the east windows of the Guildry Hall, looking onto the High Street. John Watt, David Balfour and Mark Devlin all hung from the east side of the Town Hall.  By the time the new police station was built at Ward Road/Lochee Road, executions were held there.  Arthur Woods, Thomas Leith and William Bury all met their fate at the hangman’s noose, with Bury being the last man hung in Dundee.

Whilst the Town House jail was said to be fairly secure, it had been noted that the attic cells were slightly easier to break out of, hence it was offered up as the female jail.  For anyone needing a bit of a special time-out, there was a frightfully dank and dark space in the basement for them, aptly named the “Thief’s Hole”.  It wasn’t just people who were flung in there – sometimes property was held there…and once, even a tree!

For almost 200 years, the Town House sat in its prominent position before it was torn down to make way for City Square in the 1930’s.  Attempts to save it, and even provide a new location for its re-erection proved to be fruitless, and it became yet another building Dundee lost to time.


‘Dundee Delineated’, Printed by A Colville for self and Alex M Sandeman, 1822, pp 109 – 112

‘Undiscovered Dundee’, B King, Black & White Publishing, 2011, pp 1 – 5

‘Historical description of the town of Dundee’, C Mackie, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1836 pp 66 – 67

Canmore Town House entry

Image of Town-House flagstone by Jim Glover


City Centre, February 2010

Failing to return home from a night out in the city centre of Dundee in February 2010, the relatives of Mary McLaren began to worry.  With no clues whatsoever as to the whereabouts of Mary, the rumour-mills were abound with gossip.  Had Mary secretly left Dundee, without saying goodbye, or was something altogether more sinister afoot?  As the search for her intensified, events took a dark turn when police officers located her body covered by ivy close to the city’s Ladywell roundabout.  Sgt Scott Findlayson, the officer who first made the grim discovery said “I found a pair of feet and I knew right away there was a body there.”  By the time of her discovery, Mary had been missing for 2 weeks.

Further examinations revealed that Mary had been brutally raped and murdered.  This was no accident.  Panic gripped the city, with many women fearful to go out as the news spread like wildfire throughout the city.  Police enquiries and CCTV footage built up the hours prior to Mary’s disappearance, and police became very anxious to speak with a man who they believed was the last person to see her alive.

41-year old Patrick Rae had been out drinking with an acquaintance before deciding to continue alone throughout the evening.  After leaving Fat Sam’s nightclub in the city centre, Mary was seen walking with Rae, through the centre and along Rattray’s Close before arriving at the area close to Ladywell roundabout.  Footage of Rae walking to a garage about 2 hours later to this, along with eyewitness evidence provided by the garage clerk, made Rae the prime suspect in Mary’s horrific murder.  Despite previous convictions including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and assault (which were not made available until after the trial), Rae protested his innocence.

His futile attempts to pervert the course of justice, however, fell flat, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his disgusting crimes after a four week trial.  The jury heard how, after an evening of partying with her sister, an inebriated Mary randomly met Rae, who had also been drinking, and the two had walked together through the centre of Dundee.  At the crime scene, Rae stabbed his helpless and trusting victim, before strangling her, forcing her clothes off, beating her and raping her.  They learned that Mary died under the barrage or evil Rae’s vicious assault.

Mary’s family, whilst deeply upset and heartbroken by this devastating tragedy, attended court during the trial and sentencing.  Showing commendable strength of character, a very diplomatic statement was released after sentencing had been passed, stating “She loved us.  We love her still and cannot believe that she is no longer with us…Patrick Rae has robbed us of a much-loved and loving daughter, wife and mother…He also denied Mary the chance of holding a grandchild that she was so looking forward to welcoming into the world.”

In the following weeks, a major inquiry was launched into the circumstances that allowed Rae, a registered Sex Offender in Ireland, licence to travel to Scotland.  Although blame was not the purpose of the inquiry, concerns were raised as to how Rae had managed to move to Scotland whilst having an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and without alerting the proper authorities regarding not only his change of address, but also the re-spelling of his birth-surname of “Rea” to “Rae”.

Unsurprisingly, the monster’s submission of appeal against his sentence was refused, and he remains incarcerated for his hatefully wicked crimes against a loving and caring woman.

Fintry, August 2012

A great night out in Dundee turned into a tragedy for 50 year old John McMurchie when his life was taken in a senseless attack in the early hours of August 12th 2012. Described as the life and soul of the party, John had been out with his wife, Donna, and some others for a few drinks before returning to a house in Dundee. He had been having such a great time that, when it was time for Donna to go home, John decided to carry on the party a little bit longer.

However, events started to go wrong in a big way once Donna left, and a “significant physical altercation” took place inside the house, resulting in John leaving the property. Within half an hour, he was found seriously injured in Fintry Terrace. The vibrant, fun-loving father of five and grandfather of two was rushed to Ninewells Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. His untimely death was not due to any underlying illness or medical condition, but as a fatal stab wound to the heart.

Word spread through the city very quickly as police swarmed the area. The property alleged to have been the scene of the initial altercation was seized by officers and swiftly became the key focus of the investigation for five months before being returned. A man was initially arrested, but later released without charge.

Detective Inspector Bobby Dow of Tayside Police was quoted as saying: “Someone knows who is responsible and can give John’s family the answers they deserve…I would urge anyone who has knowledge of what took place in the house, or who might be involved, to get in touch with us…Establishing exactly what happened in that house is a significant part of our investigation and may be key to finding out who is responsible for John’s murder”.

Mrs McMurchie was told at a meeting with officers in February 2013 that no detectives were working on the case at that time. Disheartened, but remaining resolute, she said: “They said they have investigated all the avenues that they could and there was no more they could do without finding the murder weapon. The only way now is for the person to come forward and say they did it — but they’re not going to do that are they? Let’s face it.”

Despite appeals for information leading to the arrest of a suspect, the murder goes unsolved and John’s murderer still walks among us to this day.

Like a textbook “whodunit” mystery, nobody seems close to catching the killer, but the McMurchie family still live in the hope that they can have the closure that would finally end their nightmare and allow John to rest in peace. The charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 to anyone providing information to them anonymously via 0800 555 111 that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person in connection with Mr McMurchie’s murder. Tayside Police can be contacted on 0300 1112222.

Princes Street, Dundee, February 1889

When a man came to the police station on the night of 10th February 1889 to report the suicide of his wife, Ellen Bury, alarm bells began to ring for the Lieutenant who took his story.  Amid claims that she had killed herself, Bury made another startling claim.  Upon “finding” her prostrate body, Bury stabbed her in the abdomen.  Fearing he would be likened to Jack the Ripper, he had hidden her body.  In his empty, dank basement squat below a shop in Princes Street, officers found the dead body of his wife, and Bury was arrested.

Ellen’s lifeless corpse had been crudely stuffed into a wooden box, exactly where Bury said she would be.  The force required to push her into the box in such a manner was enough to break her bones, as her right leg had been broken in two places.  Whether this was done prior to putting her corpse into the box, or during the process is unclear.  Ellen had been strangled with a rope Bury had bought days before, and stabbed with a penknife later found in their squat.  Her abdomen had been sliced and mutilated to the point that her intestines were protruding.

The ligature marks around her throat and the bruising on her hands and body were consistent with a violent struggle, and injuries which she could not have applied herself.  It was theorised that Ellen would have been sufficiently stunned by the violence of the blows rained upon her to allow her attacker to strangle her without much of a struggle.  Whether or not Ellen was alive when Bury stabbed her still remains to be seen, and will probably never be known for certain.

Ellen and Bury were not long married, and had recently moved to Dundee from London, in a perceived attempt to rid themselves of their demons.  Bury was a violent drunk with a shady past, but Ellen had baggage all of her own.  A London bargirl and prostitute, Ellen met Bury whilst he was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes; alcohol and licentious women.  They married, despite his drinking, womanising and ceaseless violence – he attempted to cut her throat on more than one occasion – and, on the basis of a lie told by Bury, made their way to Dundee.

Euan Macpherson writes that Bury “stole from his wife, assaulted her, frightened her by sleeping with a knife under his pillow, gave her a venereal disease, reduced her to a life of utter misery…yet showed absolutely no guilt or remorse” in his book The Trial of Jack the Ripper: The Case of William Bury (1859-1889).

The reasons surrounding the motive for Ellen’s murder are unclear to this day, but Bury’s links to Jack the Ripper thrust the duo into the global spotlight for all the wrong reasons.  Whether Ellen Bury was keeping a dark secret for William, we will never know.  One thing we do know for certain is that she met her death at the hands of a violent, abusive, drunken man with no care for the torment he caused her in life or in death.

Atlanta Constitution Georgia, U.S.A.14 February 1889
Dundee Policemen Think They Have Caught Jack the Ripper

London, February 13.

The body of a woman concealed in a wooden chest, was discovered Monday by the police of Dundee. The body was mutilated. The chest was so small that the murderer had been compelled to squeeze the body into it. The husband of the woman has been arrested on suspicion of being her murderer. It was positively ascertained that Wm. H. Bury, the victim, murdered her. Bury was a resident of Whitechapel, London, and his antecedents suggest that he is probably Jack the Ripper, and that he is subject to fits of unconscious murder mania. The post mortem examination held on the body proved that the woman had first been strangled, and that her body had then been mutilated, the abdomen being ripped open and the legs and arms twisted and broken.

Bury says that he left Whitechapel three weeks ago. He refuses to say why he left there, and acknowledges that he had no business requiring his attention at Dundee. He says that he and his wife drank heavily last night before retiring, and that he does not know how he got to bed. Upon awakening, he says he found his wife lying upon the floor with a rope round her neck.

Actuated by a sudden mad impulse, for which he cannot account, he seized a knife and slashed the body. Upon reason returning he became alarmed and hastily crushed the body into the chest in which it was found, thinking to make his escape. He found, however, that he could not leave his wife’s remains, and he finally resolved to inform the police.

The theory of the police officials is that Bury’s wife knew of facts connecting him with the East end atrocities, and that she took him to Dundee in the hope of preventing a recurrence of the crimes.

Times (London)
29 March 1889

SENTENCES OF DEATH.-At a Circuit Court, held yesterday in Dundee, Lord Young presiding, William Henry Bury, 29, was charged with murdering his wife by strangling and stabbing, in Dundee, on the 5th of February. Prisoner pleaded “Not Guilty.” Mrs. Corney, Stanley-road, Stratford-le-Bow, London, said deceased was her sister, and before her marriage was in service. Seven years since an aunt left her £300. Prisoner and her sister married in April last. He was often drunk; and was always demanding money from deceased. He ill-treated her. Cross-examined, she admitted her sister was servant in a brothel in London, that it was there she first met prisoner, and that she married him after a month’s acquaintance. Other witnesses from London deposed to the drunken habits of the prisoner and his cruelty to his wife. In the first week of February prisoner went to the police and said his wife had strangled herself, and that, seized by an impulse, he had stabbed the body, which was found dreadfully mutilated in a box. Medical evidence was to the effect that deceased did not strangle herself, but was choked by a cord drawn round her throat. Lord Young summed up, and after a consultation the jury returned a verdict of Guilty, but was recommended prisoner to mercy. Sentence of death was pronounced.

‘Eight little whores, with no hope of heaven
Gladstone may save one, then there’ll be seven
Seven little whores beggin’ for a shilling
One stays in Henage Court, then there’s a killing
Six little whores, glad to be alive
One sidles up to Jack, then there are five
Four and whore rhyme aright
So do three and me
I’ll set the town alight
Ere there are two
Two little whores, shivering with fright
Seek a cosy doorway in the middle of the night
Jack’s knife flashes, then there’s but one
And the last one’s the ripest for Jack’s idea of fun’

Dundee, December 1825

On what we can safely assume was a cold, wintry day on 22nd December 1825, David Balfour murdered his wife using a butcher’s knife he had obtained from the Fleshmarket in Dundee. David was a sailor, and, as such, was prone to being away at sea for long bouts of time. Margaret, for all intents and purposes, appears to have been a lively, interactive type of woman, and it was reported that she had taken many lovers during her husband’s absence. In an attempt to bring in more money, Margaret would take in lodgers, some of whom she would then embark on sexual affairs with. As you could imagine, this caused many arguments in their household, and the events proceeding Margaret’s murder started off, once again, in this fashion. During this furious exchange, David Balfour stabbed his wife with the butcher’s knife.

In a bizarre turn of events, Balfour immediately made his way to the Town House where he ardently confessed to his crime, only to be advised that he would need to wait outside until someone could deal with him! Defying the odds, Balfour patiently waited, and eventually re-confessed to his crime and was jailed. The website at shows that Balfour was put on Trial in Perth on 20th April 1826 for the crime of murder in Dundee, and sentence was passed that he was to be executed on Friday 2nd June 1826. The Courier reported that a cast was made of Balfour’s head after his body had been sent for dissection, in an effort to find a link to identifying and understanding a typical “criminal” head. The cast of his head is still in existence, but sadly unseen and largely forgotten by the general public at the site of the old Barrack Street Museum, which is now a storage shelter for McManus.

Law, December 1992

A young woman was walking her father’s police dog on the morning of December 30th, 1992 by the Law when she made a horrifying discovery. Lying in the underbrush was a severed arm. Alarmed, she rushed home to notify her father, who reported the grim find. A further search of the area uncovered numerous plastic bags, each containing body parts. A public appeal led to information relating to a man’s disappearance, noted due to his absence from his family’s Christmas dinner. That man was Gordon Dunbar, 52. Identification of Dunbar was restrictive due to the fact that, despite his body parts being scattered all over the Law, his head was never recovered. Forensic analysis and tell-tale scarring were the only means of identifying Dunbar as the tragic victim.

As the search for Dunbar’s killer intensified, it became clear that Dunbar was last seen on Christmas Eve. With the knowledge that he was to attend the family dinner the following day, but never made it, it is assumed he was murdered either on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning, with the former being the preferred assumption. With no evidence forthcoming about the murder, Police were given a breakthrough when a tip-off led them to investigate a man called Alastair Thompson. Whilst searching Mr Thompson’s belongings, they came across a key to a flat on the 9th floor of Butterburn Court, a multi-storey apartment block within a moderate walk from the crime scene. Evidence in the flat linked Dunbar’s murder to this property, such as the plastic bags used to wrap the body parts and the remnants of stickers that were on the bags found on the Law. In addition to this was the startling and grim discovery of a blood-drenched saw and human tissue matter which DNA analysis matched to Dunbar.

Thompson’s violent and disturbing history included the murder of his own grandmother, for which he had been sentenced to life for in 1968 – later to be released in 1984, having served 16 years. He moved around the country before settling in Dundee shortly before he murdered Dunbar. It is believed that Thompson lured Dunbar to the flat in Butterburn Court under the pretence of sexual dalliance before he attacked him. What is evident, however, is that Dunbar suffered a horrific death before his body was cut into pieces in the bathroom with a hacksaw before being placed into plastic bags and strewn over the law. It is not noted anywhere whether or not this murder was a homophobic attack or whether it was motivated by the need to kill, a need for money, or just a quarrel that got out of hand. Thompson was not an openly gay man, although Dunbar was, however, news of Thompson’s apparent bisexuality spread as his story exploded in the media. Indeed, it later transpired that Thompson gifted a gold chain to his girlfriend – the same chain worn by Dunbar at the time of his murder.

Edinburgh’s High Court head the case against Thompson in the year preceding the murder. His defence was that he did not actually perform the murder/robbery of Dunbar, but had merely disposed of the bodies for who he described were “Glasgow heavies”. These so-called “heavies” were never identified, and, as the only suspect in one of the most brutal and callous murders in Dundee, a jury sentenced him to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment at Perth Prison, where he died in December 2010. Dunbar’s head was never recovered, and Butterburn Court has since been demolished, eradicating forever the scene of the crime.

Read Alexander McGregor’s book “The Law Killers” for the full story, or do a bit of digging for yourself…

Hawkhill, Dundee, 17th August 1833

Janet Kelley lived with her husband, Enos, in a flat in the Hawkhill area of Dundee. On the evening of 17th August 1833, Enos staggered home particularly drunk, turning up at his neighbour’s house to ask for some tobacco. Turning him away, the neighbour, Mrs Kay, could hear him entering his flat and bothering his wife, Janet, who lay asleep in their bed. An argument ensued, and Mrs Kay ran to Janet’s sister, Susan, for some help. Mrs Kay left Janet’s sister and returned to the Kelley’s property on the urging of her son.

When she got there, Janet was in the midst of what appeared to be a fit, with foam coming from her mouth. Enos asked for help getting Janet to bed, which she did before leaving the property. The commotion had roused many of the neighbours, and Mrs Kay told anyone who would listen of what she saw of Janet, claiming she looked almost dead. Whether curiosity or concern prevailed, Mrs Kay returned to Kelley’s flat shortly after this, to check on Janet. Being told she was well, but fast asleep, Mrs Kay eventually returned to her own home. Something didn’t sit well with her, however, and she sat up listening and waiting.

By 4am, Mrs Kay heard a series of knocks on her ceiling, coming from the Kelley’s flat, along with muffled crying. She went to the property and found that Janet was cold and dead. The foam that had secreted from her mouth only hours earlier had been replaced with blood. Enos sat crying on the floor as Mrs Kay fled to another neighbour’s house to begin alerting people to the death. Following a medical examination, Enos Kelley was arrested for the murder of his wife.

Forbes Inglis writes that the wording of the indictment against acted against the Crown in this case, with the charge as follows:

“..did murder his wife, in so far as you, on 17th August 1833, in your house at Hawkhill, Dundee, wickedly, maliciously and feloniously attacked and assaulted the said Janet Mitchell otherwise Kelley, and did with your fists, and with a poke, or with some other weapon to the Prosecutor unknown, inflict one or more wounds on the head, and other parts [on] the person of the said Janet Mitchell otherwise Kelley, and did violently throw or knock her down to the ground, and with your hands and knees did violently press her body to the ground; by all which the said Janet Mitchell otherwise Kelley was severely and mortally injured; and in consequence of which injuries she immediately or shortly thereafter died, and was thus murdered by you the said Enos or Innes Kelley.”

Despite witnesses placing him at the scene of the crime, as well as confirming his argument and his subsequent scuffle with Janet on the night in question, the proceedings were about to take a twist that would see Enos Kelley literally get away with (alleged) murder. Whilst Kelley agreed that he did push his wife that evening during an argument, she began to have a fit and he could not get her to bed himself. He refuted any allegations held against him and pled not guilty.

2 medical examiners were called to take the stand during the trial. Whilst one examiner told the court exactly what they needed to hear in order to secure a conviction – that Janet’s death was caused by violence, the other examiner took a different approach. Dr Webster contradicted Dr Crichton’s medical assessment by stating that he did not believe that the physical violence she may or may not have suffered had anything to do with her cause of death. He believed that the cause of death was asphyxiation.

Inglis writes that this caused considerable issued for the prosecution, as the judge felt it was his duty to advise the jury that they must make their decision on the charge as it was presented in Court. If any of the jury thought that it was possible Janet was choked or somehow asphyxiated to death, by any means, they could not return a verdict of guilty based on the original charge. It seemed as though more than one or two members of the jury believed Dr Webster’s account, because the case against Enos Kelley was found Not Proven. He quotes:

“Lord Meadowbank concurred, and then addressed the prisoner in the most forcible terms – told him that it was an ambiguity in the indictment which had induced the jury to acquit him, while they could have had no doubt of his guilt; and that as it was, he had to depart from this bar with the mark of crime upon his forehead.”

Is it possible that Enos Kelley was in fact, innocent? Perhaps Janet did have a fit and it caused her to choke – we’ll never know for sure. If he did do it, which most people seemed to assume he did, then it’s fair to say that Kelley got away with murder.

St John’s RC High School, November 1967

The man above is Robert Mone; depraved multiple killer and the murderer of local teacher Nanette Hanson. Having been expelled from St John’s Roman Catholic High School in 1964, Mone returned to exact deadly revenge on the morning of 1st November 1967. Having spent some time serving with the Gordon Highlanders in Germany, Mone had returned to Dundee depressed and vengeful. Armed with a shotgun, he entered the High School and went into a classroom on the first floor, occupied by Miss Hanson and her small needlework class of 14 and 15 year old girls who were quietly making dirndl skirts.

At gunpoint, he threatened Miss Hanson and ordered the terrified girls into the storeroom before ordering the tallest of the girls back into the classroom and subjecting her to horrific sexual abuse in front of her sickened, disgusted and pregnant teacher. He abused a further student whilst Miss Hanson begged for them to be left alone. As he ordered one pupil to leave the room and tell the headmaster what was going on, he forced others to barricade the door closed with desks to ensure they were not bothered. With instruction from Mone that if anyone tried to enter the classroom, he would start shooting, swarms of police officers stood by on the sidelines for fear of a bloodbath.

His demands included that he speak with a female acquaintance of his, Marion Young. A student nurse, 18 year old Marion was roused from her sleep and brought to St John’s RC High School, where she bravely made the decision to enter the classroom where Mone was in lockdown with his captives. Most of the girls remained in the storeroom, petrified with fear, as Mone brought one of the girls he had sexually assaulted back out to sit with Marion. As the women pleaded with him, Mone began to get stressed and erratic. Nanette Hanson bargained with her life for the sake of her young charges, peddling Mone to let the girls go and keep her instead. Surprisingly, Mone agreed, and the shocked, confused and frightened young teenagers were released after a stand off lasting approximately 90 horrifying minutes.

Things soon took a terrible turn for the worse as Mone turned the gun on Nanette Hanson and shot her dead. Cowardly Mone could not look the pregnant teacher in the eye, forcing her to turn away from him as he shot her from behind. By asking Mone to release the girls, 26 year old Miss Hanson’s fate had probably already been sealed. Nanette’s parents travelled from her home town in Yorkshire to receive the body of their daughter, and it is said that around 300 people attended her funeral, including Marion Young, who had been forced to watch in horror as Mone executed the heroic young woman.

Declared criminally insane and unfit to testify, Robert Mone was never actually convicted for the murder of Nanette Hanson, and was instead sent to Carstairs Hospital, a high-security treatment facility in South Lanarkshire. In 1976, along with his friend and lover, Thomas McCulloch, Mone broke out of Carstairs, killing an inmate, prison guard and then a police officer on their way. A car chase ensued down past the border between Scotland and England before the notorious duo were finally apprehended and once again incarcerated. For more details on this, read what the statement by Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Bruce Millan had to say about the events at the end of this post.

Claiming that his outbursts stemmed from having a dysfunctional childhood, it comes as no surprise to learn that his father later killed three women, including a member of his own family, and was sentenced in 1979 to life imprisonment. He was later stabbed in jail and died in 1983. Unfortunately for the general public, Mone is still alive, but thankfully, still incarcerated.


Mrs. Hart (by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the incident at Carstairs State Mental Hospital yesterday.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Bruce Millan)

The whole House will wish to join with me in expressing its deep regret and sympathy to the families of the three people who died in the tragic events which took place in and near the State Hospital at Carstairs last night, and to the others who were injured.

Since criminal proceedings are pending against the two patients, Mr. Robert Mone and Mr. Thomas McCulloch, who escaped, it would not be proper for me at this stage to comment on the events, and I shall give only a brief summary of what is so far known to me.

The two patients were parole patients —that is to say, they had some freedom of movement within the hospital. A nursing officer, Mr. Neil McLellan. was in charge of recreation. The patients were members of his drama group. Early in the evening of 30th November there was a routine check of patients in wards, and, as some patients in the drama group were absent, a call was made to Mr. McLellan’s office in the old administration block, part of which is being used temporarily as a recreation area. As there was no reply, nurses went to the office and found the dead bodies of Mr. McLellan and another patient, Mr. Ian Simpson, with severe head injuries. Mr. Simpson was also a parole patient and a member of Mr. McLellan’s drama group. A fireman’s axe was missing. This axe had formerly been kept in a safe in the central nursing office in the old administration block. When the new block was opened the axe had been handed to Mr. McLellan to keep in the safe in his office for use in case of fire.

The alarm was given and escape procedure put into operation. It was found that the patients had got over the perimeter fence using a weighted rope ladder, which they had evidently prepared beforehand, by what means is not vet known. It is not the case, as stated in the Press, that the patients got through the gate in nurses’ uniforms. The patients had taken Mr. McLellan’s keys, but these were not used in their escape and they have now been recovered.

The police officers, Constables Taylor and Gillies, were meanwhile on routine patrol in the vicinity of the hospital in a Panda car. They saw two men and stopped to interrogate them. Constable Taylor sustained injuries from which he has since died. Constable Gillies was also slightly injured. The two men made off in the police car until it crashed on the A702. A van stopped at the crash so that the occupants might help. Its two occupants were seriously injured and are in hospital. The van was then taken by the two men, who made off to Town-foot Farm, Roberton, where they secured, apparently under threat of violence, the farmer’s car. The men then made off to the south on the A74, with the police in pursuit. The car crashed at roundabout 43, just north of Carlisle, and after a struggle the occupants were overpowered by the police.

Mr. Mone and Mr. McCulloch were brought before the Sheriff Court at Lanark this morning on a charge of murder. They were committed for further examination and sent to Barlinnie Prison.

These are the main facts as so far known to me. I am already pursuing my own immediate inquiries to satisfy myself that the incident does not reveal any obvious security deficiency that should be dealt with at once, but the House will know that the security record of the State Hospital has been a good one. In view of the nature of the incident, however, it is my intention to set up as soon as possible an independent inquiry into the circumstances in which the escape was possible and to report on any additional measures that might be taken in the interests of security.

Finally, I wish to express my appreciation of the prompt, brave and effective action taken by the police and of their ready co-operation with the hospital. I should also like to pay tribute to the constructive and devoted work done by the hospital staff in the care of patients, often in circumstances of the utmost difficulty.

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Gow’s Gun Shop, City Centre, February 1989

What started out as a disturbing fantasy of kidnap soon turned into bloodshed when two friends got together to put their devilish plans in motion. Ryan Monks and Paul Mill planned to kidnap the eldery mother of a local bakery owner and hold her to ransom for £200,000. Having worked in the bakery, Ryan Monks knew the company was doing well, and enlisted the help of his friend to put his plan into motion. Thankfully, for the baker and his mother, the plot was not carried out, but this was not due to the killers abandoning their plans – instead, events had taken an even more sinister turn during the course of collecting their supplies, resulting in the untimely death of Gordon Johnston.

Johnston, 54, was managing Gow’s gun shop in Union Street when Monks and Mill entered the premises, using what was described as “overwhelming force”. He was brutally murdered; the shop plundered of a variety of weapons, ammunition and cash. Monks and Mills were believed to frequent the shop, so it is likely that Johnston knew his attackers. 48 axe or iron bar wounds were counted on his hacked and lifeless body, found by a policeman after lying dead in the shop all day. The young killers had locked the front door behind them, giving themselves time to escape before the alarm was raised. It is not known if Johnston was alive when they left the crime scene, but his injuries were sufficient to believe that he died at the hands of his attackers.

Monks confessed to his uncle, Lucio Ianetta soon after the murder, asking him to help burn blood stained jeans, trainers and a jacket which Monks had brought to his home in plastic bags. Frightened and confused, Ianetta complied, and threw the clothes into his fire. Giving evidence at the trial, Ianetta told the jury he had helped his nephew buy a set of car license plates days before the murder, unaware of his nephew’s plans at that time. Seemingly unable to cope with the pressure of endless media campaigns and pictures of Gordon Johnston’s face, Monks’ uncle turned his nephew and Mill over to the police. Monks was later reported to have said that his uncle handed them over to the police in order that he could claim the reward for information leading to their apprehension.

Both youths were arrested and the trial took place at Perth Sheriff Court in November 1989, with Lord Mayfield presiding. During the trial, both men blamed each other for the murder, insisting that they were merely the getaway driver, whilst the other was, in fact, the murderer. Detective Sergeant Edward Boyle interviewed Mill after a stash of armaments were found at his home and was initially advised by Mill that he was nowhere near the shop at the time of the murder. When pressed about this, Mill reportedly changed his story and said that he had picked up his friend, Monks that morning and had driven him to the gunshop, where he was complicit, but not a part of, the robbery.

Conversely, Detective Sergeant Eric Drummond told the court that in a tape recorded interview, Monks alleged that he was the driver, and Mill was the one who had carried out the attack. According to Monks’ account, he had stayed in the car for a while before entering the shop to see what was going on. He maintained he spoke briefly to Mill before returning to the car to wait to his return. When Mill reportedly returned to the car, Monks claimed Mill changed his clothing whilst ordering Monks to drive. In reference to the burning of the clothes, Monks stated they belonged to Mill, and he was merely getting rid of them for him.

Danna Henderson, Mills’ girlfriend at the time, told the Court how, months after the incident, Mill confessed to her that Monks had entered the shop with the intention of merely subduing the shop manager in order to steal the items they needed for the kidnap, but everything had “gone wrong”. Monks was alledged to have told Mill that “his head burst open” when Monks hit Johnston during the scuffle. Monks’ wife, Anne, also confessed to knowing about the robbery one week after it happened, but kept the information to herself.

In a trial that lasted 3 weeks, the jury unanimously found both parties guilty of murder. Detailed plans relating to the kidnap attempt, as well as a Postal van robbery were found in the homes of the pair, along with various weapons and objects needed to carry out their scheme. Mill was released in 2002 on licence, whilst Monks was released in 2003.

Law hill, August 2001

As Anne Nicoll walked her parents’ Airedale terrier by the Law on 2nd August 2001, she became the victim of a brutal and senseless killing.  Stabbed a total of 29 times, the body of Anne Nicoll had been so savagely mauled that even her bones had been cut.  It emerged that her voicebox had been sliced in the attack, preventing her from screaming out for help, as she was mercilessly stabbed to death.  Concerned for his girlfriend when she did not return home what should have been a routine walk with the dog, Gordon McKenzie went out to search for her.  He quickly found the dog wandering around, and was quickly guided to Nicoll’s lifeless, battered and bloodied body.

Her killer was red-haired teenager, Robbie McIntosh.  15-year old McIntosh had his identity concealed at the start of the investigation, but as more details of his heinous crime were revealed and he appeared in court, he turned 16 and his anonymity was revoked.  During the trial, Judge Lord Bonomy quoted a witness as saying she had been “butchered, and no better description could be applied to the way in which she met her death”.  It also emerged that McIntosh had stamped on his Nicolls’ head as she lay helplessly at his feet.  The murder weapon, believed to be a boning knife, was never recovered.

Police enquiries led them to McIntosh after questioning two shop workers who revealed that McIntosh came into their place of work on the night of August 2nd and told them there had been a murder on the Law, and that the victim had been stabbed and beaten to death.  A young boy who had spoken to McIntosh in the days proceeding the murder said that McIntosh had appeared to know far too many details about the murder, which struck him as bizarre.  McIntosh also told a care worker during his detention at Rossie School, that he was not willing to go to prison for a crime he did not commit.  He then divulged that he had been at the scene of the crime on the night in question, but it was his friend Robbie Soutar who had attacked Nicoll following an altercation between the two.

When Police questioned McIntosh, he constantly changed his story.  From outright denial, to claims of smoking cannabis, as well as trying to incriminate a friend, McIntosh weaved a web of lies in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from himself.  Indeed, McIntosh had returned home from the Law, showered, dressed and was on his way to meet up with some of his friends when he stopped by a local fish and chip shop to tell two workers of the murder.  Forensic analysis linked McIntosh directly to the crime, by matching blood found on his clothing to Nicoll and his fate was sealed.

At the High Court in Forfar, on the 11th day of the trial and following an arduous deliberation, a jury of 15 found McIntosh guilty of murder.  Judge Lord Bonomy sentenced him to a minimum of 15 years for his crime, detaining him in custody with no fixed time limit.  An appeal was lodged with the Court of Appeal in 2003, claiming that evidence and statements presented were circumstantial and this was not advised to the court at the time of the trial.  The motion for appeal was refused, stating that it was “without substance” and no miscarriage of justice had been done in the sentencing of Robbie McIntosh for his violent and savage attack.