Unsolved Murders

John Morton Walkinshaw

Age: 36

Sex: male

Date: 23 Jul 1961

Place: Tormusk Road, Castlemilk Estate, Glasgow

John Walkinshaw was found shot in his taxi in Tormusk Road on the Castlemilk Estate in Glasgow on Sunday 23 July 1961 just after 2am.

A 29-year-old man that had lived in Rock Street, Glasgow was tried for his murder but the charge was found not proven.

He had been shot three times, two of the bullets lodging in his head and a third shattering his shoulder. The windscreen of his taxi was also shattered. The murder weapon, which was thought to have been a pocket revolver, was never found.

He had been taken to Killearn Hospital where he died 23 hours later following an emergency operation to remove one of the bullets from his brain which failed.. It was reported that after he died a CID detective said, 'This is a case of capital murder'.

It was initially suspected that although he died from three bullet wounds that the wounds might have all been inflicted by the same bullet.

He died without regaining consciousness.

It was thought that the murderer had been a passenger in John Walkinshaw's taxi.

The suspect was described as:

  • Aged 20 to 30.
  • About 5ft 10in tall.
  • Bareheaded.
  • Wearing a dark suit.

It was thought that the murderer had probably hired John Walkinshaw's taxi in the Gorbels area or in the city centre.

Following the shooting a man was seen running away from the taxi into a wood that led towards the Castlemilk Estate by a 22-year-old man that had lived in Tormuske Road who had come out to investigate.

Between John Walkinshaw being shot and the man finding him in his taxi John Walkinshaw had lain in his taxi slumped over the steering wheel for several minutes as his dispatcher at his radio-cabs headquarters attempted to raise him on their two-way wireless. When the 22-year-old man came over he raised the alarm over the taxi's radio.

The police said that John Walkinshaw's meter had ticked over to 10/4, which was said to have represented approximately a six mile trip. It was noted that John Walkinshaw had been due to pick up a fare in Tormusk Road after he had dropped his passenger off there.

It was also reported that the police were looking to trace a man in a blue suit who they believed could help with their enquiries into the shooting. He was described as:

  • In his twenties.
  • About 5ft 2in tall.
  • Wearing a blue suit.

During the police investigation, the police had carried out a house-to-house canvas in the Castlemilk area in the course of which 1,430 houses were visited. they also interviewed 1279 taxi drivers.

When the man that was tried was charged with John Walkinshaw's murder he said, 'I was never in any ---- taxi at the weekend. I was in the house at the time and my family will prove it. He also pleaded not guilty to having eleven cartridges for a firearm in his possession in his house in contravention of the Firearms Act.

The man had been arrested at 6am on Thursday 27 July 1961 in the Castlemilk housing estate. It was said that at the time of his arrest he was already well known in the city's underworld.

It was claimed by the prosecution that John Walkinshaw had picked up the man that was tried at a party in Bridgeton and taken him to Castlemilk and that the man had then shot John Walkinshaw in Tormusk Road when the taxi stopped. It was said then that he had run off through Glen Wood and come out on the other side in Ardencraig Road where he had then taken a second taxi to his parent's home in Stravanan Road nearby. At the trial the  taxi driver of the second cab that took the man from Ardencraig Road to Stravanan Road said that the man on trial was the man that he had taken.

It was further heard that samples of glass found at the murder scene were found to match glass samples found in the heel of the man's left shoe.

The prosecution further said that whilst the bullets found at the man's house did not match those that had been used to kill John Walkinshaw, they did show that the man had access to firearms.

It was further heard that the police had been unable to find that taxi-driver that had picked the man up from the party in Bridgeton, which they said proved that the driver that had picked him up had been John Walkinshaw who was now dead.

However, the man's defence argued that the man had never been in John Walkinshaw's taxi, noting that the normal fare from Bridgeton to Castlemilk was six shillings but that the fare in John Walkinshaw's cab had shown ten shillings and four pence which they sid indicated that John Walkinshaw had picked up his murderer elsewhere in the city.

When they addressed the matter of the glass fragments found in the man's heel they said that the fragments were so common that they could have come from anywhere and a defence witness said that he had been in a pub a few days after the murder when a beer glass had broken at his feet.

It was further noted that there were no eye witnesses to the shooting and that there was no forensic evidence to show that the man had either shot John Walkinshaw or ever been in his taxi.

It was also noted that the man that had come out of his house to see the man running of had said that the man had been wearing alight coloured suit whilst the man who was tried had been wearing a dark coloured suit.

His defence also noted that it was unlikely that a man that had just murdered a taxi driver would then get another taxi a few minutes later in a street on the same housing estate.

The man was tried at the High Court in Glasgow on a capital murder charge but the charge was found not proven on Thursday 2 November 1961. It was thought that they would have spent a considerable amount of time in their deliberations but they returned their verdict in just 43 minutes.. his defence submitted that there was a mass of evidence that pointed to some other man as having committed the crime. The jury unanimously found the charge not proven and also found the man not guilty of having had the eleven cartridges at his home.

It was reported that after the man was acquitted that pandemonium broke out outside between rival newspaper reported in a bid to secure an exclusive interview with the man. During the chaos a policeman was injured and a reporter suffer two broken legs after he was knocked to the ground. It was said that three had been about 60 news reporters trying to get an interview.

When the man did give an interview, he said that he thought that John Walkinshaw had been shot by a raving madman that had been lurking in the Castlemilk woods and that that man might strike again. He added, 'I had nothing o do with this ghastly pointless murder'.

The man that was tried had had two children at the time.

John Walkinshaw was buried at the Riddrie Cemetery in Glasgow on the afternoon of Thursday 27 July 1961. His funeral was said to have been attended by many of the city's 1,200 taxi-drivers.

John Walkinshaw had lived in Horndean Crescent, Easthouse and had been married with three children. his wife said that he had worked hard and had built up his own taxi business and owned five cabs.

John Walkinshaw was noted for being the uncle of a 14-year-old boy who had stowed away on an airliner flying from Prestwick to Canada the previous week.

It was said that after his murder that Glasgow taxi drivers were to meet up with the chief constable to discuss methods of protecting cabbies from attacks by undesirable fares. It was heard that the outcry from the public at large was such that many passengers would give their driver's 'stuff' to protect themselves with, items known by the taxi drivers as 'chibs' and had included axes and swords.

The man that was tried for his murder was however later convicted for possession of explosives and sentenced 18 months and later still of the attempted murder of a man in July 1966 along with two other people and sentenced to 21 years. They had carried out a raid on a the National Commercial Bank at Pollokshaws on 7 April 1966 during which they shot the assistant manager. They also assaulted a teller and a clerk and stole £19,947. At the trial it was heard that all of the men had previous convictions and had all been released from prison fairly recently.

It was said that after his release in 1980 that he was again convicted for trying to rob a grocery store and sentenced to another three years after which he eventually settled in Dennistoun where he died in 2009.

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

see www.truecrimelibrary.com

see Press Reader

see Seumas Gallacher

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Thursday 02 November 1961

see Belfast Telegraph - Thursday 27 July 1961

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Monday 24 July 1961

see Daily Herald - Thursday 02 November 1961

see Liverpool Echo - Thursday 27 July 1961

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Thursday 02 November 1961

see Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 24 July 1961

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Tuesday 31 October 1961

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Monday 31 July 1961

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 16 July 1966

see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 26 July 1961

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Monday 31 July 1961