13 Jan 2013 By Marion Scott
ALEXANDER GARTSHORE’S daughter Sandra Brown, who is convinced he killed Moira, believes police missed the opportunity to solve the murder mystery when they failed to act on a tape recording.
Reporter Marion Scott comforts Sandra Brown as her murder suspect father Alex Gartshore looks on in 1993
THEY were a few dreadful seconds that should have brought to an end one of Scotland’s longest running murder mysteries.
Under pressure from the Sunday Mail, child rapist Alexander Gartshore revealed startling new facts about the disappearance of schoolgirl Moira Anderson – facts only the killer could have known.
Confronted by our reporter and his daughter, Sandra Brown –who is convinced he killed Moira – Gartshore broke out in a cold sweat and clenched his fists until his knuckles turned white.
And then he started talking.
As he blurted out what he knew about the 11-year-old’s disappearance, Gartshore, then 73, damned himself with his own words.
Before Sandra broke down in the arms of our reporter, the tape captured every word from the shocking interview 20 years ago. The recording was passed to police but was never used to put former bus driver Gartshore in the dock for murdering Moira in 1957.
Last week, a painstaking search was launched for the schoolgirl’s remains, which Sandra believed may have been concealed in an innocent man’s grave at Old Monklands cemetery, Coatbridge.
But on Thursday, forensic experts who excavated Sinclair Upton’s grave reported there was no sign of a child’s remains in the lair. Sandra, who set up the Moira Anderson Foundation to help abused children, admits she is disappointed that nothing was found.
But she still views the failure to act on the Gartshore tapes as the biggest opportunity missed to solve the mystery of Moira’s disappearance.
Sandra said: “Despite that tape, the Crown Office refused to prosecute him, telling us that, at 73, he was too old and it happened too long ago. It was a lost opportunity. He should have been prosecuted and if he had been, I’m sure he would have finally revealed what happened to Moira. She could have been found long ago, and her family could have laid her to rest with dignity. Instead of that, I was fobbed off for years and treated as if I had horns for daring to suggest my father was part of a paedophile ring operating in the area at the time of Moira’s disappearance.”
In 1993, former college lecturer Sandra, 64, who received an OBE for her child protection work, sobbed in our reporter’s arms as Gartshore glowered behind them.
The pair confronted the convicted paedophile in Leeds, where he had settled with his second family.
Gartshore was challenged to place his hands on the Bible and tell what he knew about Moira’s disappearance in a snowstorm after boarding a bus in Coatbridge.
He said: “I swear on my children’s lives, I never touched that wee lassie Moira.” But in the next breath, he admitted abusing his eight-year-old niece, saying: “I did touch her, but it was never the full thing. Everythin’ else, like. But she was a relative, and I liked her ma and pa, so it wasn’t the whole hog.”
Gartshore was jailed for child sex offences just six weeks after Moira vanished.
As we questioned him further, startling new facts came tumbling out:
Gartshore confessed he had been driving the bus which picked up Moira and he got off at the same time as she did after a relief driver took over.
He revealed that Moira had been going to Woolworths to buy her mum a birthday card, something he could only have known if he had spoken to her.
He lied that he heard about Moira’s disappearance before he finished his shift at 11pm, as her family did not report her missing until midnight.
He also admitted his own father suspected he was the killer, searching his house, under floorboards, even his bus which had a storage box at the rear.
Gartshore also revealed police questioned him over the alleged abuse of 122 children.
He told us: “All those children who’d nothing better to do than tell lies.”
Our reporter asked if he was “driven by impulses”.
Gartshore replied : “Aye. It’s been with me all my life. It’s just something that comes over me. I can’t help it.”
The tape was handed to police, but Gartshore was never brought before a court over Moira’s disappearance and died in 2006, aged 85, taking his secrets with him to the grave.
Strathclyde Police Detective Chief Inspector Pat Campbell said: “Materials relating to any ongoing inquiry are retained. Anything relating to any possible charges is routinely passed to the Crown Office. This is still very much an open missing person’s inquiry.”
Sandra later wrote a book – Where There Is Evil – about Moira’s disappearance and set up the Moira Anderson Foundation in 2000 to help abused children.
Gartshore with a young Sandra
Seven years ago, we unmasked evil child abuser Alexander Keil, who was trying to cash in on Moira’s tragic case.Keil, 56 at the time, was touting a dossier compiled by Gartshore’s paedophile pal James Gallogley before he died in Peterhead prison in 1999.
Keil, from Boat of Garten, Inverness-shire, wanted £20,000 for the 26-page dossier claiming it contained revelations about a paedophile ring which included serial killer Fred West and Dunblane gunman Thomas Hamilton, as well as judges. The list, discredited by senior police officers, also included a dead Scots Tory MP, a Labour MP and an SNP activist.
The file claimed they were all part of an evil “club” known as The Untouchables.
It also included claims over the identity of 60s killer Bible John and details of Gallogley confessing that he and Gartshore adbucted and abused Moira.
Keil insisted former church elder Gallogley, jailed for 10 years in 1997 for abusing five little girls, had been “too ill” to write the dossier himself.
Sandra has now written a second book No Secret Better Kept.
She said: “I’d hoped exhuming the Upton grave would be the last chapter.”
A Crown Office spokeswoman said: “A report was received in 1993 by the Procurator Fiscal at Airdrie in relation to historical sexual offences. After consideration of all of the circumstances and the available evidence, Crown Counsel instructed that there were to be no criminal proceedings.”
PROSECUTORS have today named Alexander Gartshore as the killer of schoolgirl Moira Anderson who disappeared on February 23, 1957 in Coatbridge.
The 85-year-old was the prime suspect in the case but he died in 2006 taking his secrets with him to the grave.
The last recorded sighting of 11-year-old Moira was in Coatbridge on Saturday, February 23, 1957.
Despite extensive inquiries, her body has never been found.
In 1993, Gartshore told the Sunday Mail he had picked Moira up on his bus the day she disappeared before getting off at the same time as she did.
In January last year, a burial plot in Old Monkland cemetery in Coatbridge was examined but no unidentified human remains were found.
Gartshore’s daughter Sandra Brown, who was convinced for years he killed Moira, believes police missed the opportunity to solve the murder mystery when they failed to act on a tape recording which was recorded 20 years ago.
In the recording it’s understood Gartshore revealed startling new facts about the disappearance of schoolgirl Moira Anderson – facts only the killer could have known.
The announcement was welcomed by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC, who paid tribute to those who campaigned for justice for Moira as well as the cold case unit and Police Scotland officers.
“This will hopefully bring closure to the family of Moira Anderson who have had to wait more than half a century for answers,” he said. It is important that unsolved homicides are not allowed to become a forgotten file gathering dust on a shelf. The work of the cold case unit will ensure that this does not happen.”
Mr Mulholland emphasised that indicting a person for a crime was not the equivalent of that person being found guilty.
He said: “The trial process is the only place in which guilt or innocence can be determined. We are not saying that the suspect is guilty, only that there is sufficient credible and reliable evidence to indict him and there would be a reasonable prospect of conviction had he still been alive. It was only after serious consideration of the circumstances of this case that it was decided to place this information in the public domain.”
The fresh evidence uncovered by the review included statements from two new witnesses.
One said Gartshore had exposed himself to her and Moira in a park in 1956 and had called Moira by name at that time.
A second revealed they had seen a man dragging a young girl fitting Moira’s description by the arms near a bus terminus in Carnbroe, Coatbridge, on the day she was reported missing.
At an identification parade the witness picked out an image of Gartshore as the man they had seen.
The witness had a credible reason for not coming forward earlier, a statement issued by prosecutors said.
Evidence shows Moira boarded a bus driven by Gartshore on the day she disappeared.
He admitted to family and police officers that he was the last person to see her alive.
Gartshore had told family members that he was sexually attracted to young girls and Moira in particular, the statement said. He was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing a young girl, it added.
He also incriminated himself by stating that he knew Moira was missing before she was being treated as a missing person.
The cold case review was led by DCI Pat Campbell, who said he hoped the announcement would offer solace to Moira’s friends and family.
Mr Campbell said: “Despite the passage of time, she has never been forgotten. Her disappearance remained an unresolved case for Police Scotland and as such was subject to periodic review by officers. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of Moira remain unknown and I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to people again, if you have any additional information which could help us find Moira, please do pass it on. The publicity surrounding the reinvestigation resulted in additional information being passed to police and I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to those people who got in touch with us, providing additional lines of inquiry for officers to follow up, which ultimately led to a report being submitted to the COPFS. Today demonstrates our commitment to continue to investigate historical homicides and cases. We recognise that no matter how long ago it may have happened, it still impacts on families and communities. We will continue to review unresolved cases in the hope that we can reach a satisfactory conclusion, holding those responsible to account and providing closure for families affected by crime.”
The Crown Office said it took the “unprecedented” step of making the information public due to the high level of interest in the case.
A statement said: “We reiterate that we are not saying the suspect is responsible for her murder, only that there is sufficient credible and reliable evidence to indict him and that there would be a reasonable prospect of a conviction, had he still been alive.”
There is still no information about the whereabouts of Moira’s body, it added.
In January last year a search of a plot at Old Monkland Cemetery in Coatbridge failed to find her remains.
Police had been investigating the possibility that Gartshore dumped the youngster’s remains in the grave of an acquaintance named Sinclair Upton.
Ms Brown, who set up the Moira Anderson Foundation in 2000 to help victims of childhood sexual abuse, has said she believes her father was a paedophile “in the same mould as Jimmy Savile” who operated as part of a ring in central Scotland over a number of decades.
Airdrie and Shotts MSP Alex Neil, who campaigned for the cold case investigation into the disappearance, welcomed the development.
He said: “It also confirms what Sandra Brown, who has led this campaign brilliantly, has said all along about Gartshore being the most likely culprit in this dreadful crime. Frank Mulholland has done what no previous Lord Advocate has done and he should be loudly hailed for this brave and welcome statement. The Crown Office has been excellent in pursuing this matter in the last few years and Mr Mulholland must be commended for his first-class leadership which will bring a lot of much-needed comfort to Moira’s family. This is a legal first for the Crown Office to make this declaration but it is absolutely the right thing to do. The great pity is that Gartshore isn’t still alive. That way he could have been brought to justice. Finally I hope that Moira’s family will feel some comfort from knowing that the justice system has at last caught up with the alleged perpetrator of this heinous crime.”
He once confessed to her that police had questioned him over 122 sex attacks on children before he left Scotland for Leeds in 1965 – raising fears there could be more victims in Yorkshire.
However, the links between the trio of vile criminals are now set to be thrust into the spotlight by the continuing mystery surrounding the fate of tragic 11-year-old.
Author Howard Sounes said West used to boast darkly of having “a Scottish connection” – thought to be a reference to friends who could help him dispose of bodies.
He said: “Chronologically it is interesting because directly after he comes back to England we know he starts killing people and cutting their bodies into pieces before burying them.
“This is within months of him being in Glasgow, so it wouldn’t be mad to suggest that he started earlier and killed his first victims in Scotland.”
After leaving Coatbridge, West lived with Rena and her child Charmaine – who were both later murdered – and their daughter Anne-Marie at Maclellan Street, in Glasgow’s Kinning Park.
He kept an allotment at the end of the street, growing a few potatoes and cabbages but with much of the plot always raked over as fresh soil – telling people: “I’m keeping it for something special.”
West, who worked as an ice cream van driver and returned regularly to Coatbridge with Rena, would visit the plot late at night and often took girls back to the shed for sex.
Sounes said: “I remember the police looked into the disappearance of a number of young girls during this time – three or four of them – but by this time the allotments were buried underneath concrete at the junction of the M8 and the M77.”
Gartshore – who died in 2006 still maintaining that he did not kill Moira – once admitted that Gallogley had been a close “pal” of West’s, although he insisted that he had never met him personally.
However, Sounes said it was likely that the “garrulous” Englishman would have quickly become a well-known figure in the town.
“Nobody knows what he was up to in that allotment, but he sure as hell wasn’t gardening” – John McLachlan
Glaswegian John McLachlan – who had an affair with tragic Rena – first revealed the suspicions about the Kinning Park allotment in 1995, just days after Rose West’s conviction.
He said that in a police interview he was shown the names of four young girls who had disappeared when West was in Glasgow, although one of them was later found alive.
“Nobody knows what he was up to in that allotment, but he sure as hell wasn’t gardening,” he said. Source The Express
MYSTERY serial killer Bible John has been named in a startling deathbed confession by a convicted paedophile.
The murderer has eluded police for nearly 40 years after strangling three women with their own clothes on nights out at the Barrowland ballroom in Glasgow.
Friends of the murderer’s final victim Helen Puttock remember him quoting from the Bible during the evening.
And little else was known about him – until ex-church elder James Gallogley lifted the lid on the sickening crimes as he lay dying.
Now, the address, full name and car registration of the man named by him have been handed to murder cops.
The pervert also shed new light on the murder of schoolgirl Moira Anderson 46 years ago, even linking Fred West to her abuse.
The 12-year-old disappeared during a blizzard as she went out on a shopping errand in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.
And, in his 15-page (15? In 2006 it was reported here Keil’s file was 26page. Is this same file? If so, where has 11 pages appeared from or disappeared to?) deathbed confession at Peterhead Prison, Gallogley told his cell-mate where her body was dumped and implicated convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore in the killing.
Cops are already stepping up their bid to solve the murder.
Yesterday, Moira’s sister Janet Hart said: “When I heard there had been a confession I just broke down in tears. Maybe we can finally bring this all to an end.”
SOURCE The Mirror Oct 13th 2003
- Fred West Chased from Glasgow by Razor Wielding Lynch Mob
- West’s Postcard To Paedo Pals
- Satanic Cover Up: Fred & Rose West – Occult connection?
- Moira Anderson, Gallogley, Gartshore, Willie McRae & The Untouchables
- Ice Cream Paedophiles
- I saw Fred West run over little Scots boy
- BROTHER JOINS EVIL WEST IN HELL
- Brother of Fred West ‘knew about murders’ – Herald Scotland
- ‘MURDERING WESTS WORSHIPPED DEVIL’ Occult expert claims he’s found satanic link
MORE MSM ARTICLES
- Police appeal for former employees of Baxter’s Buses as part of Moira Anderson murder case
- Police urge former colleagues of prime suspect in Moira Anderson investigation to come forward
- Police to dig up eight graves in bid to find murdered Moira Anderson who went missing in 1957
- Moira Anderson probe police to begin exhumation of Coatbridge grave
- Moira suspect’s sex attacks on two more victims
- I saw fiend drag Moira Anderson into a field
But in his confession, Gallogley said Moira was taken back to the bus depot where she was sedated with chloroform and sexually abused by Gartshore before being placed in the seat box of a bus, where she was later found to be dead.
He claimed that a few days later her body was dumped in the Tarry Burn in the Townhead area of Coatbridge.