Travelling through the Glasgow suburb of Coatbridge on JUNE 20th, 1923, a lorry driver saw Mrs. Susan Newell struggling to push a handcart. It was piled high with rags, and Mrs. Newell’s eight-year-old daughter was perched on top of them. The lorry driver stopped, offered Mrs. Newell a lift, and she, the handcart and her daughter were put on the vehicle.
Shortly afterwards, as the cart was being removed from the lorry at Duke Street, a woman looked out from her house to see someone’s foot protruding from beneath the pile of rags. She called the police, who followed Mrs. Newell and her handcart to the entrance of a boarding-house. There they arrested her.
The rags were removed from the cart to reveal the strangled corpse of John Johnstone, a 13-year-old newspaper boy. He had last been seen alive entering Mrs. Newell’s home, and at her trial she was said by her daughter to have killed him in a rage over the cost of the newspapers.
Sentenced to death, Susan Newell was hanged at Glasgow’s Duke Street Prison on October l0th, 1923. She refused to wear the white cap, and dropped through the trap-door glaring at the assembled officials, her face turning a darker shade of purple.