Many people believe that George Beattie is innocent of the crime. He was 18 at the time, a shy young man who was given to fantasising about his life and telling tall tales. But Beattie had been in the area at the time. He went through the glen to get to a market garden shop to buy some tomatoes.
Margaret McLaughlin had left home on the Carluke housing estate to catch a train at 8:03pm on Friday evening, July 6th 1973. She was a very pretty, somewhat reserved Catholic girl who was engaged to be married to a successful businessman who was away on business in South Africa when she was murdered. She had been stabbed 19 times.
George Beattie was arrested 5 days later and was later convicted. The police officer in charge of the case was one of Scotland's most famous - Detective Chief Superintendent William Muncie.
In 1983 the BBC programme "Rough Justice" covered the case, producing important new evidence.
The case has since become one of Scotland's most controversial cases. Beattie won a rare "appeal on reference" in 1994 when the Secretary of State of State for Scotland sent the case back to the appeal court. But the appeal was dismissed. He was then let out of jail - but only on licence. There are many reasons to suppose that Beattie is innocent of the murder and that the real murderer went free to kill again. This web site lists some articles outlining some of those proofs.
But since Beattie's 1994 appeal, startling new evidence has been identified that the Scottish Office ( the government office in charge) is trying to keep covered up. It centres on a police notebook. One of the leading police officers on the case, Lewis Johnston, did not submit his notebook to the court at the trial, never mentioning it even when he was asked about it. It contains vital information that will clear Beattie.
Johnston claims that since the notebook was re-discovered in 1995 he has burned it. The Scottish Office will not investigate whether it still exists or not either in the original or in a copy.
Beattie's lawyer wrote to the Scottish Office in January 1997 asking that such an investigation be done. It seems that no one in SCotland is interested in the fact that Johnston burned the notebook as soon as he learned how important it was to Beattie's case.
1. Chronology of the case. A quick skip through 25 years of injustice.
2. George Beattie - a Background.
3. Faults in the Scottish Legal System.
4. Why the Appeal Court really got it wrong. Peter Hill produces evidence that shows the 1994 appeal did not judge correctly what the 1973 appeal court would have done.
5. How the police bungled the case from the start.
6. Exactly how the police fitted up Beattie.
7. What Johnston's notebook reveals.
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