BEATTIE'S STORY OF THE FRIDAY EVENING.
Beattie worked shifts at the Lanarkshire Steel Works in Motherwell. This meant that he was often asleep during the day.
On July 6th he slept for much of the day. He had been at work during the previous night where he had hurt his knee. He got out of bed at around 7:15 pm. As he went downstairs the BBC was transmitting "Top of the Pops" - and the number one record being played was "Pleeze Me Squeeze me" - by Slade, a pop group that wore top hats with mirrors on them. That was to be significant.
Beattie had been awakened by his sister Ena. She told him that the local tomato shop, Gorry's, was closed. Ena had gone there by car on her way home from work to buy nine pounds of tomatoes for George to distribute at his workplace that evening. He did this favour for his workmates every week. Ena told George there was a notice on the shop doorway " Back at 8:15". She said that George would have to walk to the shop on his way to catch the bus to work. This meant walking across the playing field behind the Beattie house, through the glen, past the railway station, then northwards through a series of streets - where Beattie would be able to pick up the bus a few stops further on than he normally did.
Knowing there was no point in setting off early, Beattie watched a TV programme called "Romany Jones" on ITV. He then left home for the tomato shop. The programme was transmitted from 7:30 to 8:00. However, considering that there are commercials on ITV, this would mean that the programme would end at around 7:55.
Beattie had not seen Margaret McLaughlin earlier that day - he could not, because she was at work. So, he could not have known that she would have been on that route that evening. Indeed, until 7:15, he had no idea that he himself would be taking the route through the glen.
Margaret's mother said she left home at 7:52 pm. DC Richardson timed her journey to the glen at 2 mins 21 secs. So she must have reached the glen at about 7:55. This was the time Beattie said he was leaving home.
Beattie was in no particular hurry. During the half hour before he left home he was sitting watching the television and eating a pie.
According to Beattie's version, it seems it must have been impossible for him to have seen Margaret cross Unitas Crescent as she walked into the snicket leading to the field from which she entered the glen. If you look at the map , you will see that there is only a short distance when anyone near Beattie's house might have seen her cross the road - and that part of the road is not visible from inside Beattie's house.
So, Beattie left home, walked along Unitas Crescent, down the snicket and across the playing field. He went through the area where Margaret was first attacked - the path leading up through the glen to the railway line. Then he walked along the side of the railway station. Reaching the road by the station car park, he met a friend called Ian Freel - they said hello to each other. Then Beattie went on northwards to the tomato shop. Along the way he stopped to talk to another friend, Tam Bryce. When he reached the tomato shop several people saw him and passed the time of day with him. Nothing unusual was noticed by any of these people.
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