Unsolved Murders

Marion Gilchrist

Age: 82

Sex: female

Date: 21 Dec 1908

Place: 15 Queens Terrace, West Princes Street, Glasgow

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Marion Gilchrist was murdered in her flat. A man was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death but reprieved although his conviction was later quashed and he was pardoned.

She lived alone although had a servant girl. The property was split into flats and Marion Gilchrist lived on the second floor in a six room flat with a kitchen. The top flat was at the time unoccupied.

At about 7pm on 21 December 1908 Marion Gilchrist sent her servant girl aged 21 out for an evening paper which she went for from a shop on St Georges Street. She had been gone for about 10 minutes and when she got back she saw the tenant from the flat below at her door. He said that while in his flat he had heard unusual sounds through the ceiling and had come upstairs to see if anything was wrong.

When the servant girl opened the door a young man of respectable appearance came out from a back room, walked leisurely out of the flat and then when at the stairs quickened his pace and rapidly disappeared.

When the servant girl went into the dining room she saw Marion Gilchrist lying on the floor in front of the fire with her face and head beaten and covered in blood.

When the servant girl screamed the neighbour from downstairs immediately suspected something untoward had happened and looked to find the stranger that had walked out but in the darkness of the night he was unable to see what direction he had gone in.

There was no evidence of a struggle having taken place. Her skull had been smashed and there were marks of other blows on her head and face. Her left eye had been dislodged and the floor and fire irons were bespattered with blood and brain fibre.

The injuries had been caused by some heavy blunt instrument but no weapon was discovered.

It was thought that robbery was the main motive and that it had been carried out by someone acquainted with the habits of the household.

It was thought that someone had been on watch and when he saw the servant girl leave probably rang the doorbell from the street  which would have been opened by Marion Gilchrist with a mechanical contrivance inside her flat. It was thought then that Marion Gilchrist would have thought that the servant girl was returning and that she then probably left the door to her flat ajar and so the intruder would have had little problem getting in.

The injuries to Marion Gilchrist indicated that the attack on her was sudden and violent which would account for the reason why no scream was heard. It was thought that the banging that the neighbour heard had been the intruder beating Marion Gilchrist to death.

The intruder was said to have then lit the gas lamp in the back bedroom which was not lit when the servant girl had left and then begun a search. However, he only managed to get a valuable diamond broach of a circular design about the size of a half crown. However, on the dressing table and lying around promiscuously were a number of other articles such as a gold bangle, a gold watch and chain and gold rings that were not taken.

It was noted that a work box was found open and its contents, including papers of various kinds, were scattered across the floor as though the intruder had some definite purpose in his search.

The neighbour and the servant girl had described the man that had left the flat as being between 25-30 years old, about 5ft. 9in. tall with dark hair and a clean shaven face. He wore a light fawn overcoat and a cloth cap.

They said that his appearance was not that of the ordinary burglar and the neighbour had said that if he had looked suspicious he would not have allowed him to have departed.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see The Scotsman - Tuesday 22 December 1908

see Gutenberg