Given his capacity for violence it is remarkable that Patrick Carraher, The Fiend Of The Gorbals, reached the age of 32 …
True Detective June 2007
Given his capacity for violence it is remarkable that Patrick Carraher, The Fiend Of The Gorbals, reached the age of 32 before he killed his first victim. It was probably more extraordinary that this asthmatic little Glaswegian – who was, incidentally, found unfit for military service – was one of the city’s true hard men. He feared nothing and no one and was never bothered about the possible consequences of his actions, spending half his adult life in prison. Twice Carraher stood in the dock charged with murder, either side of the Second World War. Yet, ironically, it was another man’s fight that landed him in court that second time and ensured he kept an appointment with the hangman at Barlinnie Prison. Part 1 of our Scottish double-bill begins overleaf.
For someone facing the threat of the gallows, Helen Keith looked remarkably calm. Her son William stood tall and straight beside her in that dock at the Aberdeen court, his fingers beating a nervous tattoo on the dock rail. Were they cold-blooded killers or innocent victims of family spite? Their trial is as interesting today as it was all those years ago and the events surrounding the crime, if indeed it was a crime, paint an accurate picture of Scottish life of its day. Vengeance Of The Keiths, the second part of our Scottish double bill.
Hundreds of car headlights must have washed over the woman’s crumpled body lying on the grass verge, half-covered with a scarlet jacket. In life she had been beautiful; slender, shapely, dark-haired. Her hair now lay in ringlets on the dusty grass; graceful legs in silk stockings bent outward at an awkward angle. She was wearing black stilettos and her dress was rucked up exposing her thighs and suspenders, while a pained look twisted her features. Intrigued? We hope so. This amazing case from the 1930s is the first in a new series: The Editor’s Choice. We hope you enjoy reading the case as much as we enjoyed researching it.