The Peter Manuel case.

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The Peter Manuel case.

Postby junkcatcher » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:40 pm

As child growing up in Brachinnie in late 1950s-and 60s Peter Manuel was the devil incarnate who struck fear throughout the East End and adjacent areas of Lanarkshire. Although only six years old I can remember the lifting of a feeling of tension when Manuel was convicted and sentenced to death.

The Peter Manuel case has been touched in other threads but not really explored with time passing it struck me that now would be the time to discuss while people affected by the case are still around. One of the real ironies of the case is the Manuel came from a very decent hard working family.

Has anybody here got memories of the case ?
Is the urban ledgend that his grave was simply tarmaced over when the Barlinnie car park was enlarged true ?
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Dexter St. Clair » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:22 pm

i think most contributors are a bit young to recall manuel but the B BBC might repeat this on bbc2


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00dn7bp
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Socceroo » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:33 pm

junkcatcher wrote:Is the urban ledgend that his grave was simply tarmaced over when the Barlinnie car park was enlarged true ?


I am too young to remember the Manuel case, but i have read about it in a number of Books over the years. I understand that Manuel's body along with the 10 or 11 other convicts who were hung in Barlinnie were buried against B Hall Wall in unmarked graves.

Later in the mid 1990's when Barlinnie was being modernised the graves were moved to an unknown location in a Cemetery elsewhere in the City.

The BBC Alba Documentary which was shown on it's opening night the other week was excellent. One of the main points being should Manuel have been hung or should he have been declared insane and put in a Mental Hospital.

I remember years ago a colleague who was much older than me pointing out a house in Burnside or thereabouts where Manuel had killed three people in their Beds.
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Josef » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:45 pm

He also killed three people in a house in Uddingston - I used to live a few doors down from it.
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Mori » Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:39 pm

A file i downloaded from the evening times website.

Evening Times wrote:Notorious among the murderers was Peter Manuel, the mass killer who was hung at Barlinnie at one minute past eight on the morning of Friday, July 11, 1958.
‘Manuel Dies in Silence’, read the front page headline in that day’s Evening Times: Manuel hadn’t uttered one word to officials for three weeks, since his unsuccessful appeal against his convictions for murder.
The 32-year-old labourer had
been found guilty after an
astonishing trial of the murders of Mrs Marion Watt, 45, her sister Mrs Margaret Brown, 42, and her daughter Vivienne Watt, 16, after a break-in in High Burnside.
Isabelle Cooke, 17, was killed on a footpath in Mount Vernon; and Peter Smart, 45, Doris Smart, 42, and their son Michael, 10, after a break-in in Uddingston.
The victims had all been shot, apart from Isabelle, who had been strangled.
Manuel falsely alleged that the first three murders had been the work of bakery owner William Watt, Marion’s husband. During the trial, Manuel sacked his counsel and conducted his own defence with, as one paper noted, ‘fluency, forensic skill and sharp intelligence’.
But his skills could not prevent the jury from returning unanimous guilty verdicts. The judge, Lord Cameron, had, however, told the jury to return a not guilty verdict on a charge of killing 17-year-old Anne Kneilands. Nevertheless, in Lord Cameron’s words, the charges facing Manuel were a “catalogue of crime which in gravity is certainly without precedent for many years”.
The judge passed the death sentence, then reached for his black tricorn hat and added solemnly, “This is pronounced for doom”.



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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby viceroy » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:07 am

Josef wrote:He also killed three people in a house in Uddingston - I used to live a few doors down from it.


The bodies of the Smart family lay undiscovered for 6 days – the neighbours didn’t realise that something was wrong because they saw that the curtains had been drawn each night and opened the following morning. In fact it was Manuel himself who had been creeping back to the house and manipulating the curtains so that the house would have a lived-in look.

I didn’t see the BBC Alba docudrama so I can’t comment on any conclusion it might have reached. In any case I am fundamentally opposed to the death penalty so my view is that he should not have hanged, although whether I would have been of this opinion had I been an adult at the time of his trial in 1958 [I was eleven] is very much open to question. But was Manuel insane and therefore a suitable candidate for Carstairs Hospital? I think not. Undoubtedly he was psychopathic, i.e. unable to empathise with other human beings. But, unlike most serial killers, he was a highly intelligent and articulate individual who must have been aware that his acts were morally reprehensible in the extreme, even though this awareness may not have been internalised. In other words he would have been perfectly capable of distinguishing right from wrong, a basic criterion for determining criminal responsibility.

I have to say that the coldbloodedness of Manuel’s modus operandi is quite shocking. His shooting victims seem to have been killed in an almost casual, off the cuff sort of manner. And calmly going back unobserved to the Smarts’ bungalow twice a day while their bodies were still lying there is something I find particularly spinechilling.

It is of course quite well known that Manuel conducted his own defence at his trial in 1958. However, this was not the first time he had done this. In 1955 he was tried for attacking a girl and abducting her at knifepoint. He dismissed his lawyer and conducted his own defence, managing to obtain a Not Proven verdict from the jury, basically by lying through his teeth. As the accused he was able to speak from the well of the court and not under oath in the witness box, thus protecting himself from any charge of perjury. He later boasted to an associate that he was in fact guilty of the crime, stating that ‘you have to be able to sell yourself to the women on the jury’.

A thoroughly evil man.
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby junkcatcher » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:50 am

While I am not comfortable with capital punishment because it reduces the state to the same level as the culprit and the fact that in the 1950's Britian we managed to execute quite a few people who were either innocent or should have received lesser sentences, the Manuel case is an exception, although it is a widely held belief in Glasgow that the Police had to play dirty to get a conviction I have never heard any sympathy for Manuel or suggestion that he might have been innocent from any Glaswegian.

The death sentence may just be society taking revenge but because they didn't hang the crimes of more recent serial killers like Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, Dennis Nilsen, Fred & Rose West, Beverley Allitt, Robert Black, Dr Shipman still haunt us.

As I mentioned when I started the thread I was brought up in Barrachinnie over looking the north end of the Mount Vernon Avenue which runs southwards towards where the Isabelle Cook murder took place. In those days the Mount Vernon avenue was not the straight road it is today instead it was an unclassified road little more than a red tarmaced farm track that wound its serpentine way from the Church Army Houses at Barrachinnie over what is now part of Barrachinie Park, then eastwards across what is now Burntbroom almost reaching Hamilton's Farm house and then back west and then south towards Murray-Neilson's Garage. and the junction of London and Hamilton Roads.

In the late 1970's early 1980's I encountered Peter Manuel's sister and she struck me as a decent good person her life ruined by bearing the burden of her brother's unspeakable evil..
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Socceroo » Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:12 am

viceroy wrote:But was Manuel insane and therefore a suitable candidate for Carstairs Hospital? I think not. Undoubtedly he was psychopathic, i.e. unable to empathise with other human beings. But, unlike most serial killers, he was a highly intelligent and articulate individual who must have been aware that his acts were morally reprehensible in the extreme, even though this awareness may not have been internalised. In other words he would have been perfectly capable of distinguishing right from wrong, a basic criterion for determining criminal responsibility.


Excellent post Viceroy. The BBC Alba documentary had a number of Psychologists and Psychiatrists giving their view on Manuel's character. I think they all (like you) pointed out that he was a Psychopath and that he had no empathy for other human beings and their suffering.

The Judge at his Trial directed the Jury that they should not take cognisance of any plea of insanity or diminished responsibility.

The one doubt that was aired in the Programme was that Manuel may have been suffering from some type of Epilepsy which brought out blind violence in him. Apparently he had shrapnel injuries to his skull from the Coventry Blitz having stayed there with his parents during the War.

I think this claim of Epileptic Fits causing blind violence was discounted as with this type of Epilepsy you apparently do not recall much about your outburst or act of violence after the event, whereas Manuel appeared to have recall.

I would recommend watching the BBC Alba Documentary / Docu drama when it is reshown.
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Mori » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:00 am

BBC Alba

Next on:
16 Jan 2009, 21:00 on BBC ALBA
Duration: 25 mins

Docudrama raising questions about the mental state of notorious serial killer Peter Manuel 50 years after he was hanged.

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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Riotgrrl » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:33 am

BTW, did you know that the people who run Carstairs are trying to 'rebrand it' to some extent? They want us to talk about 'The State Hospital' rather than Carstairs. I met a couple of guys who worked there at some dinner once. I was a bit pished so I may not have this 100% right, but apparently the people who actually live in the village at Carstairs are sick of their village being known only for one thing, and apparently the name Carstairs is too much a reminder of the time two inmates escaped and went on a murderous spree in the late 1970s.

I remember that. I was still a kid, but I remember it being on the news and my Mum making sure all our doors were locked when they were on the run.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scott ... -20261418/
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Josef » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:04 pm

It's been called The State Hospital within the NHSS for quite some time now, possibly a decade or more.

It also used to be (and perhaps still is) the case that anyone sent there had to have a bed kept for them until death. Not sure if this meant that the number of people who could be sent there was limited, or whether it worked on the same basis as Outpatient clinics or airline reservations, which are routinely overbooked in the statistical near-certainty that not everyone will turn up.

They'd be smarter renaming the village, mind you.

[diversion] When was the last time a town or village was renamed in Scotland? [/diversion]
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Dexter St. Clair » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:30 pm

I think Bishopbriggs was originally called Spam Valley and they're reviving that name for the new prison to save any further embarrassment. The Evening Times is running some kind of competition to come with an acceptable name for the replacement to Low Moss. I've suggested HMP Furcoatnaeknickers.

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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby Fossil » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:23 pm

Dexter St. Clair wrote:I think Bishopbriggs was originally called Spam Valley and they're reviving that name for the new prison to save any further embarrassment. The Evening Times is running some kind of competition to come with an acceptable name for the replacement to Low Moss. I've suggested HMP Furcoatnaeknickers.

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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby dave2 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:48 pm

Riotgrrl wrote:BTW, did you know that the people who run Carstairs are trying to 'rebrand it' to some extent? They want us to talk about 'The State Hospital' rather than Carstairs.


It was always a State secure Hospital, just like Rampton and Ashworth are in England, but tends to get known by Carstairs because it was a shorter name and was teh only reason most people knew the name. Other health facilities have a similar problem. HMP Bishopbriggs could have the same issue.

The mini-secure unit to be built at Stobhill may have a different naming issue, given Stobhill hospital will be the ACAD unit on that site, even though the majority of that site will be being used for psychiatric (secure care centre, West of Scotland Mental Health Inpatient facility for young people,specialist unit for patients with alcohol and drug addiction problems). This site will also have an elderly unit and the Marie Curie Hospice. The media are already calling it 'mini-Carstairs'.

Another interesting one, in relation especially to Dykebar Hospital, is that in an effort to rationalise property, spare capacity is being sued for Dental Hospital outpatient services. Thus people may soon be going to Dykebar Hospital for dental work. I wonder if they tell their family/friends that they have an appointment at Dykebar what the friends reactions will be......proof that stigma against mental illness lives on.
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Re: The Peter Manuel case.

Postby JayKay » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:58 pm

HMP Low Moss was is of course built on the Low Moss plantation, which was at the time outside Bishopbriggs. On the site of a former RAF station.

Called RAF Bishopbriggs...

So as a compromise I propose it should be named after a nearby area of the bishy.

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