Historic Hamilton By Garry L McCallum
Historic HamiltonBy Garry L McCallum 

MURDER AT PALACE GROUNDS, 1950.

MURDER AT PALACE GROUNDS, 1950.
Three Hamilton men sentenced to hang.

A vicious assault took place at the Hamilton Palace recreational grounds on September the 9th, 1950 where a man later died.

At the High Court Trial at Glasgow, four men who are charged with murder, in Hamilton Palace Recreation Grounds, where John Edwin Newall of 6 Cadzow Street, Hamilton, died in Killearn Hospital on September 14. It was alleged that the assault was committed on the evening of Saturday September 9th, when a clash occurred between a gang of about 20 or 25 young men and employees of Bertram Mill’s Circus.

The accused are Robert Gallacher, a labourer of 9 Portwell, John McGuire, a machinist of 36 Church Street, Robert McKenna, a labourer of 43 Tuphall Road and Edward McGuire, a labourer of 36 Church Street who are charged with acting together with others unknown and who are also accused of having committed a breach of the peace, seizing brushes and shovels belonging to the circus and adopting a threatening attitude towards circus employees, particularly Noel O’FIynn struggling and fighting and throwing missiles at them and circus vehicles.

All the accused pleaded not guilty and John McGuire tenders a special defence of alibi. An additional charge against Edward McGuire alleges that he assaulted John Leonard Wool, staff manager of the circus and attempted to strike him. 
Mr H.R. Leslie, K.C., Advocate-Depute, conducts the case for the Crown, and the accused are represented as follows—Gallacher, Mr W R . Milligan, K.C.; John McGuire, Mr C.W. Graham Guest, K .C .; McKenna, Mr C.J.D. Shaw, K.C and Edward McGuire. Mr W Ross McLean, K.C.

Mr Cyril Bertram Mills chairman of Bertram Mills Circus, gave evidence to the effect that the circus was being dismantled after the final performance on September 9. A little before 10 o ' clock he saw three men fighting, and soon afterwards another two fights. His own men were involved and he called to them to group together and to drop any of the tools they might have been using. He saw a group throwing bricks and stones at a tractor the windscreen of which was broken, and then he saw a group of seven men and a woman kicking a man. The four accused were identified by witness as having been amongst this group Mr J.L. Woolstaff, manager, said he saw a crowd of about 20 men entering the ground in a hostile manner Some had bottles, one picked up an iron stake, and another had a 14-lb hammer with a broken shaft They were looking for a man whom they called "the Belfast Irishman."

Cross-examined by Mr Ross McLean, witness agreed that he had seen Edward McGuire at the circus the previous evening he arrived late when the box office was closed and was refused admission.

Constable William Aitchison of Hamilton Burgh Police stated that he saw John McGuire at Hamilton Old Cross at ten minutes past ten on the night of the assault McGuire said, 'You are going to have a busy night’, and witness told him and others to "Move on." 
At 10:25, after he had been called to the Recreation Grounds, he saw John McGuire and the
three-other accused, all of whom he knew well, kicking a man lying on the ground the man whom he recognised, was unconscious, bleeding from the ears, nose, and mouth.

The date of the execution was fixed by Lord Keith as 26th November 1950 at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow.

DEATH SENTENCE APPEAL.
On the 13th of November, Edward McGuire has lodged an appeal against his conviction on the ground of misdirection of the Jury. It was also announced on Saturday Appeals on behalf of the other two men. Robert Gallacher (23) and Robert McKenna (31), who were also sentenced to death, are expected to be lodged to-day.

CIRCUS CRIME: THREE MEN REPRIEVED.
On Saturday the 23rd of December 1950, the three men due to die on Boxing Day for the Hamilton circus murder were reprieved yesterday.

Mr Hector McNeil, Secretary for Scotland, has advised the King to commute the capital sentence to a sentence of life imprisonment. 
I couldn’t find the deaths
for the men, so I am assuming that they all did life at Barlinnie and either died there or were released.

Visit our Blog on Wordpress.

Contact us today....

If you have any queries or would like to share your stories & pictures, please contact us:

admin@historic-hamilton.co.uk

Get social with us.

Print Print | Sitemap
© Garry McCallum