Friday, 2 October 2015

Glasgow Double Murder

A senseless shooting spree occurred at a remote Glasgow railway station in December 1945 that left two dead and one slightly wounded.  Events began on December 10th at Pollockshields East station, on a fog bound early morning when a man rattled the locked door of the waiting room.  Staff opened it assuming it was a passenger wanting to wait inside.  But to the horror of the three staff inside, the man was holding a gun.  Booking clerk, Anne Withers, 36, screamed in fear.  Suddenly, the intruder opened fire repeatedly.  Anne withers collapsed, 15 year old porter, robert gough fell to the floor and William Wright, a 42 year old Porter and clerk, fell on top of them.  They heard the gunman searching through drawers and a safe.  He then ran out.  Bill wright was slightly wounded and ran to the signal box to call the Police.  Anne Withers lay groaning from two bullet wounds, young Robert Gough had staggered out of the waiting room then collapsed. 

    A train pulled in but had to carry on, so the three waited for the Police and an ambulance to arrive.  Police poured into the station, but Anne Withers died on the way to hospital.  Robert Gough died two days later, but not before giving Police a description and his recollections of events.  His story matched Bill Wright`s.  Fingerprints were found on the safe but there were no matching prints on file.  The amount stolen was the equivalent of a week`s wages.  A huge manhunt ensued but despite a substantial reward offer, nothing surfaced.  Until February 1946.  A man talking to a friend asked if he would like to earn the reward money.  The friend asked him how.  The man replied that if he said he was the double killer, what would he say?  The friend, and others were well used to exaggerated and tall stories that railway fireman Charles Templeman Brown always told.  The friend gave this no further thought.

    Police doggedly kept up the hunt and it was October 1946 that a tip said that somebody in the south of Glasgow possessed a Luger, the gun said by forensics to be the murder weapon.  Soon, the Police visited the home of a Mrs Brown, and asked if Charles Brown was at home.  She told them he was working away.  They requested she tell him to contact them as soon as possible, but would not give her any details.  But the following day, October 9th, Brown spoke to a Constable on traffic duty to tell him he was the killer being sought.  Constable John Byrne immediately took him to a Police Box, searched him and found something bulky.  Brown reached into his pocket and handed the officer a Luger and ammunition.  Brown`s fingerprints matched those on the safe.  Bill Wright immediately identified Brown from an ID parade.  He was sent for trial on December 10th, exactly a year to the day of the murders.

    Brown was described as having a compulsion to talk or brag about anything, according to friends, in evidence.  It was thought that as his friends did not believe anything he said, then the Police would listen.  But in describing the shooting, he claimed that Robert Gough had thrown himself at him, causing him to fire.  However, the young man`s dying declaration was read out to the court, saying he threw himself in front of Anne Withers to protect her, then the gunman opened fire.  Various medical opinions were given about Brown`s mental state.  Incipient Dementia Praecox, medically but not legally insane, a borderline case, and a third was that he needed to be kept under observation.  One friend told of Brown`s obsessions about Communism, the band leader Joe Loss, and an American Crooner named Frank Sinatra.  The Judge asked if this Sinatra was notorious or known for outlandish dress.  Yes, was the reply, he always wore dicky bows and camel hair coats.  (an obvious evil influence on the young of Britain!!!!!!)

    Brown was convicted of murder and sentenced to death with his execution set for January 3rd 1947, but within days, he was reprieved and given life.  But as was the norm, Brown served just ten years for a cold blooded bloodbath.  But Brown slipped into complete obscurity until a few years after his release.  He had a serious car crash near Dunblane in 1960 critically injuring his female passenger, but dying himself.  The date:  December 10th.  God working in mysterious ways?