Estate office worker Archie McIntyre was the first of the McIntyre family to come home from work in the late afternoon of SEPTEMBER 26th, 1947, and as he trudged up the narrow path to Tower Cottage, overlooking Loch Tay, he had a feeling that something was wrong. His mother did not answer the doorbell, and when a passing friend told him that she had not been seen all day Archie fetched a ladder and climbed in through the kitchen window.

When he discovered his mother’s room was locked he took an axe and broke it open. On the bed before him was the body of Mrs. Catherine McIntyre. She lay on her back, her ankles bound by black bootlaces, and she had been gagged with one of her son’s scarves. Missing from the cottage was £90, the sum which her husband, head shepherd on the Tombuie Estate, had drawn as the wages for the estate’s other shepherds.

What emerged from an intensive police search were identical stories about an untidy-looking man aged about 30 on a seemingly aimless trek around the local countryside. A bit of a tramp, in fact. More than that: a foreign tramp with a bad cough.

Soon police discovered a lair, a patch of flattened grass, where a shotgun was hidden. Forensic experts established that the butt of the gun had been used to batter Mrs. McIntyre’s head in. This and other clues led them to a farm at Old Meldrum, Kenmore, whose foreman remembered a casual worker, Stanislaw Myszka, who hadn’t been seen since the murder.

Myszka’s presence in the area was a legacy of the Second World War. On the north bank of Loch Tay was Taymouth Castle, once the seat of the Earl of Breadalbane. For the past two years it had been used as a resettlement centre for 800 Polish soldiers who had applied for permission to stay in the UK after the war. Myszka, it seemed, was there for two months, but left without giving any notice of his intentions for the future. Fellow-Poles talked of him as a man of low intellect but with a degree of charm.

After the killing Myszka spent a few days at the home of a married Polish friend, Wladslaw Szec. As Mr. Szec read newspaper reports of the murder he realised that his recent guest could have been involved, and called the police.

By the time they caught up with Myszka’s latest movements he had disappeared at twilight into the heavily wooded hills around Ardallie. Next day he was spotted, and after a mile chase across countryside he was brought down with a flying tackle.

Myszka, small, stocky, with a sickly-pale face, was brought to trial at Perth on January 6th, 1948. A Polish army officer sat beside him acting as interpreter.

The prisoner showed hardly a flicker of response when he was sentenced to death. On February 6th his was the first hanging to take place at Perth Prison since 1909.