Unsolved Murders

Martin Toner

Age: 34

Sex: male

Date: 13 Jul 2004

Place: Langbank, Renfrewshire

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Martin Toner was found dead in a field.

A man was later tried in 2015 but acquitted after the case against him was found not proven.

His body was found on 13 July 2004 at about 1am in a field on North Glen Farm under a hedgerow covered in grass at Langbank, just off Gallahill Road in Renfrewshire by a farmer collecting hay bails. He said that he was collecting hay bails and had moved some from a hedgerow and as he was manoeuvring his tractor he saw the something in the tractor lights and got off to have a closer look and saw Martin Toner's head and a bit of his shoulder. It was described as a remote spot. The police said that they thought that he had been lying there for some time and that he had probably been dead on the day he was seen in the area on 29 June 2004. He had been covered in a lot of grass.

He had been reported missing on 29 June 2004 by his wife. He had been stabbed 12 times and then had his throat cut. The police said that he had suffered a very violent death and that he had not been murdered in the field, but somewhere else and then dumped there.

His toffee and black Berghaus sports hold-all and contents, a mobile phone, a pair of navy Adidas jogging bottoms, t-shirt, light coloured towel and bottle of Lynx shower gel, were missing and never found. He had been wearing a stone coloured zip-up top, grey tracksuit bottoms with a black side stripe and black trainers.

At the time he had been due to go on trial for smuggling cocaine into the UK with two other men, one of whom was later tried for murdering him. He was accused of smuggling cocaine into the UK between September 2000 and 2002 as well as supplying cocaine and possessing cannabis. The day he vanished was the day before the pre-trial hearing. The case against the other men later collapsed when it was heard that detectives had been in another court room watching the proceedings. The judge ruled the case could not continue as there had been a risk of prejudice although it was later said that the case could be retried and in 2008 the case was tried again and the men were cleared.

Martin Toner was last seen at 3pm in Main Street in Langbank, although it was not known why he had been there. He had earlier been seen at the Key to Life gym in Ashtree Road, Pollokshaws, Glasgow. In 2015, when two men were charged with his murder, it was heard that one of the men, a company director and one of the men tried for his murder, who had been a police constable before, had been to the Key to Life gym at about 2pm to speak to the gym director, who was the other man charged with Martin Toner's murder, to talk to him about renovations. At the time, the ex-police constable was the director of a construction company. He said that at 2.30pm he met Martin Toner who told him that he had lost the keys to his silver Saab car and that he took him in his Mercedes G Wagon car to the railway station in Langbank, just off the M8, and that that was the last that he saw of him.

He said that at the time they had been involved in property development in Bearsden.

At the trial, the gym owner was acquitted halfway through the trial when the Crown withdrew the charge against him. The company director was acquitted after the charge against him was found not proven.

He was charged after a person who was interviewed 10 years later in Spain, whose sister had been dating the company director, said that he had seen the company director saturated in blood on the day Martin Toner was murdered. However, the company director said that he had no reason to kill Martin Toner and had had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

The prosecution at his trial said that the ex-police constable and the gym owner had enticed Martin Toner to go with them in the car to Langbank where they had taken him to the garden and grounds of the Coach House on the Gleddoch Estate where they had killed him. It was heard that the ex-police constable had carried out some renovation work on the Gleddoch Hotel and Golf Club in 2004.

At the trial, the ex-police constable had lodged a special defence of incrimination against six men.

At the drug smuggling trial, it was heard that the third man had been stopped in a taxi in Glasgow with £65k worth of cocaine in a plastic bag. However, he had said that he had thought that the bag had contained legal steroid dietary supplements.

It was also heard that the ex-police constable that had been tried for Martin Toner's murder had been followed during an international investigation to Antigua where he had met Martin Toner. At the smuggling trial evidence was heard from a Belgian policeman had infiltrated a multi-million pound drugs ring called Operation Backslider that had targeted the ex-police constable and Martin Toner.

Martin Toner was described as a gangland figure and the police said that they had come up against a wall of silence and that they were certain that there were friends of his that knew more about his last movements than they had said.

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

see BBC

see BBC Murder victim faced drugs charges

see BBC Police renew Toner murder appeal

see BBC Reward offer in field murder case

see BBC Drugs smuggling charge not proven

see BBC Drugs smuggling charge not proven