MOIRA ANDERSON: No human remains found in canal search

23 MARCH 2017


20th March 2017

Police divers are to retrieve objects from a canal for assessment by forensic experts in the search for a schoolgirl who disappeared 60 years ago.

The items have been highlighted during recent sonar scanning of the waterway in an effort to locate the remains of 11-year-old Moira Anderson.

She left her grandmother’s house in Coatbridge on 23 February 1957 to go to the shops but never returned.

Convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore is suspected of her murder.

Det Supt Pat Campbell

Det Supt Pat Campbell says divers have been deployed for the next stage of the operation

Det Supt Pat Campbell said: “There are five distinct areas which have been identified which relate to items or structures within the silt layer. We are going to deploy divers from Police Scotland to remove these objects.”

He said specialists from the University of Dundee would then identify the objects and determine whether any of them are bones.

Divers in waterPolice divers at the scene

The first phase of the operation last week focused on a 170m (185 yards) stretch of canal at Carnbroe. Although it is 3.5m (11.5ft) deep, around 2m (6.5ft) of that is silt.

The team were joined by leading experts including soil forensic expert Prof Lorna Dawson and forensic anthropologist Prof Sue Black.

The search involved the use of ground-penetrating radar, sonar scanning and magnetometry, which identifies magnetic anomalies within the water and silt layer of the canal.

police officer at the scenepolice tent and divers

Bus driver and convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore, who died in 2006, is suspected of murdering Moira and disposing of her body.

When she left her grandmother’s house during a heavy snowstorm, she boarded a Baxter’s bus that was driven by Gartshore.

Later that year, he was jailed for raping a 17-year-old babysitter.

Moira AndersonAlexander Gartshore

Moira Anderson was last seen by her family on 23 February 1957Police believe child abuser Alexander Gartshore murdered Moira and disposed of her body

In 1999, convicted child abuser James Gallogley named his former friend Gartshore as Moira’s murderer.

Gartshore’s own daughter Sandra Brown was convinced he was the killer and campaigned to have him charged.

In 2014, prosecutors announced that Gartshore would have faced prosecution for the schoolgirl’s murder if he were still alive.

A previous search has focused on the theory that he may have buried her body in Monkland Cemetery, in the family plot of an acquaintance, but an excavation in 2013 found nothing.

The latest searches were prompted by a sighting, reported in 1957 but not followed up, of a man carrying a large heavy sack towards the canal.

FIND MOIRA 19th Feb 2017, 11:43 am

New search for remains of schoolgirl Moira Anderson to begin – 60 years after she disappeared

Specialists will search Monkland Canal in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire in attempt to solve one of the longest-running mysteries in Scottish criminal history




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