Unsolved Murders

Anne Kneilands

Age: 17

Sex: female

Date: 2 Jan 1956

Place: East Kilbride Golf Course, Calderwood

Anne Kneilands was found murdered on East Kilbride golf course by the fifth tee in Calderwood on 2 January 1956.

She had vanished two days earlier after having gone out for a date with a man that failed to show up.

Her body was found by a dog walker. It had been snowing at the time she was found.

It was thought that she had been murdered by Peter Manuel who was later executed for five other murders on 11 July 1958. Peter Manuel was tried for her murder but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence even though he had admitted to murdering her. It was heard that he had been questioned over her murder at the time for four hours but that his father had given him an alibi. At the trial it was heard that although Peter Manuel had confessed to murdering Anne Kneilands that there was no corroborative evidence.

Peter Manuel was 28-years-old at the time and had worked at a nearby gas works and it was noted that even at that time he had an extensive criminal record, including sexual assaults. He was later known as the Beast of Birkenshaw. He was executed on 11 June 1958 at Barlinnie Prison and shortly before he confessed to a total of twelve murders.

Anne Kneilands and her family had lived in converted stable at the demolished Calderwood Castle and on the night she was murdered had arranged to meet a man at the Capelrig Farm bus terminus, but he never arrived. The Capelrig Farm bus terminus was about a mile-and-a-half from the centre of East Kilbride. After the man failed to turn up Anne Kneilands caught the 180 SMT bus back at 6.44pm. She was seen by a bus conductress getting off at the Willow Tearoom on Kirkton Park in East Kilbride Village and also by the driver of the 7.10pm bus returning to Capelrig. However, she was never seen alive again.

The crime scene was initially closed off to the public and members of the press, but when journalists were allowed onto the course on 9 January they reported seeing evidence to indicate that Anne Kneilands had been battered with inhuman force. They noted that patches of grass, surface earth and a 10 foot sapling had been removed by the police for laboratory examination but that the trunks of trees surrounding the spot where Anne Kneilands's body was found were still spattered with blood, noting that blood spots were found as much as four or five feet off the ground on trees that were several yards away.

The press reported seeing two strands of fair coloured hair on one tree with fine texture about four feet from the ground, noting that Anne Kneilands had had fair hair.

The press reported that a sapling, the one nearest to where Anne Kneilands was found, had been recently cut down and suggested that that had been the ten foot sapling that the police had taken away for scientific examination.

It was later determined that Anne Kneilands had run for her life from Maxwellton Road to the golf course and her shoes were found stuck in a ditch.

On 10 January 1956 it was reported that a man without shoes was seen to board an Eaglesham bus at Clarkston Toll in Renfrewshire on the night of 2 January 1956 and the police said that they wanted to trace the man. He was seen by a 12 year old girl and her 14 year old brother who lived a 62 Hawthorn Road in Busby as they were returning from the local cinema with friends. They said that they had been sitting upstairs on the bus when the man had got on and sat behind them. The 12-year-old girl said, 'The reason I noticed him was because he came up the stairs so quietly. He had no shoes on. I thought he looked awful cold'.

The man as described as being thinly built and wearing a grey suit and having had dark stains at the foot of his trousers. She also said that he had not been wearing a hat or coat.

She said that the man started to leave the bus at Arthur Street which was about two stops after Clarkston Toll but had then changed his mind and run back upstairs again.

The 12-year-old girl said, 'I thought it was funny'. She went on to say that a boot repairer, a family friend had told her to tell the police. The boot repairer, who had a shop at 55 Glasgow Road in Cambuslang, said, 'I thought it was very suspicious. The 12-year-old girl is a good girl, very observant, and she would not make up a story like this'.

It was also reported on 10 January 1956 that a scarf and earrings that were found on 9 January 1056 had also belonged to Anne Kneilands.

On 14 January 1956 it was reported that a sawn-off pick haft was being examined by 'murder squad' police after it was found the day before under a Gas Board hut near Maxwellton Avenue which was close to Capelriggs farmhouse and the place where Anne Kneilands was found dead.

It was also reported on 14 January 1956 that a man's black suit had been taken to police headquarters for scientific tests and that a man had been interrogated by the police but it was not clear who that man was.

Anne Kneilands had worked for a tailors firm in Glasgow.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Wednesday 25 January 1956

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Monday 09 January 1956

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Saturday 14 January 1956

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Tuesday 10 January 1956

see Daily Herald - Monday 16 April 1956

see Daily Record