Previous Section Home Page

Ottaway, Richard

Page, Richard

Paice, James

Patnick, Sir Irvine

Patten, Rt Hon John

Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth

Pickles, Eric

Porter, Barry (Wirral S)

Powell, William (Corby)

Rathbone, Tim

Redwood, Rt Hon John

Renton, Rt Hon Tim

Richards, Rod

Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm

Robathan, Andrew

Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn

Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)

Robinson, Mark (Somerton)

Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)

Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)

Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela

Ryder, Rt Hon Richard

Sackville, Tom

Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy

Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas

Column 1155

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)

Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian

Shersby, Michael

Sims, Roger

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Soames, Nicholas

Spencer, Sir Derek

Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)

Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)

Spink, Dr Robert

Spring, Richard

Sproat, Iain

Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)

Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Steen, Anthony

Stephen, Michael

Stern, Michael

Stewart, Allan

Streeter, Gary

Sumberg, David

Sykes, John

Tapsell, Sir Peter

Taylor, Ian (Esher)

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Temple-Morris, Peter

Thomason, Roy

Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thurnham, Peter

Townend, John (Bridlington)

Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)

Tracey, Richard

Tredinnick, David

Trend, Michael

Trotter, Neville

Twinn, Dr Ian

Vaughan, Sir Gerard

Viggers, Peter

Waldegrave, Rt Hon William

Walden, George

Walker, Bill (N Tayside)

Waller, Gary

Ward, John

Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)

Waterson, Nigel

Watts, John

Wells, Bowen

Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John

Whitney, Ray

Whittingdale, John

Widdecombe, Ann

Wiggin, Sir Jerry

Wilkinson, John

Willetts, David

Wilshire, David

Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)

Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)

Wolfson, Mark

Wood, Timothy

Yeo, Tim

Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes: Mr. Sydney Chapman and Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.

Column 1155

Question accordingly negatived.

Column 1156

George Beattie

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.-- [Mr. Wells.]

12.8 am

Mr. Jimmy Hood (Clydesdale): The subject of this Adjournment debate is the George Beattie case. I wish to draw the attention of the House, and especially that of the Minister, to the worrying history of the police force in my constituency, which was involved in the investigation of the murder of Margaret McLaughlan and the wrongful conviction of my constituent, George Beattie, in July 1973.

First, let me tell the House of the conspiracy that took place on the day that the girl's body was found--a conspiracy which set the tone for the entire investigation that followed. The court and the jury were told a story which is at great variance with the facts as many now tell them.

The man who went to court and told the story of finding the body was a uniformed inspector from Lanark police. He still lives in Carluke today in retirement. He told the defence solicitor: "She appeared to be dead and must have been dragged down the path. I noted the time as 2.25 pm."

I repeat the time of 2.25 pm, so that hon. Members will not forget it. Inspector Harry Robson found the body at two minutes to 3 in the afternoon. He called in the CID, and the pathologists arrived at the scene at 6 o'clock in the evening and began their examination of the body. They had come from Glasgow--perhaps an hour away at the most. When Inspector Robson went to the court at Beattie's trial, he was not so precise about the time of finding the body. Hon. Members may later come to some conclusion as to why the inspector did not tell the court an accurate time for finding the body. The inspector said that he had left the police office in Lanark at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, so it seems that his timing of finding the body at two minutes to 3 would confirm that. Why then am I now aware of some five police witnesses who have testified at one time or another that the body was found in the morning?

Last year, the woman police constable who was assigned to question the family of the dead girl, now former WPC Stewart, gave an interview to BBC television. When she was asked the time when the body was found, she replied:

"I think I was in the house until about lunch time, twelve o'clock, half past twelve, something like that when the CID officers came in and then I was taken out to get on with other inquiries." Another person interviewed by the BBC at that time was the man who found the body, Constable John Baker, now a retired policeman. He said that, after he had discovered the body, the procurator fiscal was quickly on the scene. What time had the procurator fiscal arrived?

"Between ten and eleven o'clock",

said John Baker. The interviewer was astounded and said:

"You're talking about the morning, then, not the evening". It was true. John Baker had found the body at about 10.30 am. Imagine that a girl had been murdered and that news had got out around the neighbourhood. Who of all the people in that neighbourhood would remember to the very minute when he or she heard the news? It would, of course, be the parents.

Next Section

  Home Page