Monday, May 05, 2008

Scotland Murders

Since I'm interested in writing a suspense/chiller novel and am doing that now, I pick up all sorts of information that might later be of interest. Vengeance Is Mine is coming along. I'm writing more scenes and learning that many of them are not necessary to move the story forward--so I'm cutting as well. Nasty game, this writing.

Here's something for the books--and in Scotland--from The It's long but interesting.

Two families, two tragedies and four murders to solve
Police cordoned off the area at Lennoxtown while investigations continued.

By Michael Howie and Alastair Dalton
TWO Scottish communities are today united in grief after the violent murders of two pairs of siblings in chillingly similar incidents only a few hours apart.
The first double murder came to light shortly after 5pm on Saturday, when brothers aged six and two were found in a car parked at a beauty spot near Lennoxtown in East Dunbartonshire.

Their critically ill father is believed to have suffered severe burns after his silver Vauxhall Vectra was set on fire with the brothers, from Glasgow, inside.

The man was earlier seen several times, apparently asleep in the car at a turn-off around ten miles from Glasgow, which is used as an unofficial lay-by by walkers.

Meanwhile, 50 miles away, in the Fife town of Buckhaven, the bodies of Michelle Thomson, 25, and her seven-year-old brother, Ryan Thomson, were discovered by their mother in their home at about 7:30pm the same day.

The pair were discovered in separate bedrooms, in a scene detectives described as "harrowing".

The father of the two Buckhaven victims was found injured at the scene.

Police investigating both double murders were last night waiting at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline to interview the victims' fathers.

In both cases, the fathers are understood to have been estranged from the victims' mothers.

News of the deaths have sent shockwaves through both communities.

In Lennoxtown, prayers were said for the murdered young boys and their loved ones.

Margaret Tindall, the session clerk at Campsie Parish Church, who led its service yesterday morning, said: "We prayed for the relatives. It is such a sad situation. It was so desperately sad that no-one was able to intervene and help them in time."

Father William Conway, of St Machan's Catholic Church, said the 200-strong congregation at mass had "prayed for those affected". He added: "It is very sad."

Floral tributes from relatives, friends and neighbours were laid close to both murder scenes.

In Buckhaven, flowers were placed outside the detached home where the brother and sister were found.

A family friend laying a floral tribute said the brother and sister's parents had split up very recently and the father, 49-year-old Robert Thomson, was left with the children.

The house, called Muiredge Cottage, on Methilhaven Road, had its windows covered and was partially obscured by police tents erected around the back and side.

Fife Chief Inspector Andy Morris said: "This is a terrible tragedy which has shocked the community (and] the police officers involved in the investigation."

Brothers found in car had suffered 'violent deaths'


A MURDER investigation was launched last night after two young brothers were found dead in the Campsie Fells, north of Glasgow.

Police are waiting to question the critically ill father of Paul Ross, six, and two-year-old Jay, who were found in a car and are said to have suffered "violent deaths".

Strathclyde Police confirmed that the deaths were being treated as murder, following post-mortem examinations yesterday.

The father is believed to have suffered severe burns after the silver Vauxhall Vectra he was in caught fire with his two sons also inside. The family are from the Royston area of Glasgow.

Officers have not said how the boys died, or confirmed whether they were found in the boot of the vehicle.

Reports that they suffered carbon monoxide poisoning or had their throats cut have been dismissed.

The alarm was raised at around 5:15pm on Saturday when the car was spotted beside the gated entrance to a hill track off the B822 Crow Road between Lennoxtown and Fintry, near the East Dunbartonshire-Stirling border.

The man, who is in his forties and thought to be Asian, was earlier seen apparently asleep in the car at the turn-off, which is used as a lay-by by walkers.

Half a mile away, at a popular viewpoint car park, several floral tributes had been left yesterday. One message read: "For those two little angels taken on such a tragic day. Forever in our hearts."

The road remained closed until lunchtime while investigations continued. By then, the only sign of the incident was a scrap of blue-and-white police tape fluttering from a fence. There were reports that the boys' parents were estranged and the father had weekend access to his sons. Police have spoken to the mother.

A spokeswoman said officers were following a "positive" line of inquiry and were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

The man is being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Police officers are at the hospital, waiting to speak to him.

David Shephard, from Lennoxtown, who drove past the car several times on Saturday afternoon, said he thought the man had been asleep.

He said the Vectra had been parked pointing south towards Lennoxtown, with no sign of anyone else in the car.

Mr Shephard, 26, said: "I drove past the car with my girlfriend at about 1pm. It was in a wee lay-by. The guy was in the driver's seat, smartly dressed in shirt and tie, with his head lying to one side. I thought he must be sleeping.

"We passed him on our way back about 20 minutes later, then I passed him again at about 4:30pm when I drove up to take the dog for a walk."

Mr Shephard said he noticed at that time a small silver car had stopped, which he thought may have contained the people who raised the alarm.

When Mr Shephard was returning home about an hour later, he found the road had been cordoned off, with police cars and vans and an ambulance and fire engine at the scene.

Prayers were said at church services in Lennoxtown yesterday.

Margaret Tindall, session clerk at Campsie Parish Church, who led its service yesterday morning, said: "We prayed for the relatives. It is such a sad situation. It was so desperately sad that no-one was able to intervene and help them in time."

John Dempsey, a Lennoxtown councillor, said: "My thoughts are ones of shock at these tragic deaths.

"I have a three-year-old grandson, so I know how the family will be feeling."

Mother finds disabled daughter, 25, and son, 7, dead at home


POLICE are investigating a double murder after a disabled woman and her young brother were found dead in their home.

Michelle Thomson, 25, and seven-year-old Ryan were discovered by their mother on Saturday evening.

Police and paramedics were called to the house in Buckhaven, Fife, at about 7pm, but the siblings – found in separate bedrooms – were already dead.

The bodies of Ryan Thomson, seven, and sister Michelle Thomson, 25, were found in their home on SaturdayAnother sibling, 20-year-old Ross, was found in the house, but he was uninjured. Ms Thomson is understood to have suffered from severe disabilities.

The children's father, Robert Thomson, 49, was found injured at the house, and was taken to the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.

He is being kept in the high-dependency unit with a police guard.

Police last night refused to release details on the causes of death of the children, but described the scene officers were met with as "a harrowing one".

Yesterday, the main road out of Buckhaven was closed off and guarded by police as forensics experts examined the scene. The house, in Methilhaven Road, had its windows covered and police tents erected around the back and side.

Examinations of the crime scene are expected to finish later today.

Last night, neighbours said there had been marriage problems between Robert Thomson and his wife, June.

One family friend, laying flowers outside the house, said: "A couple of weeks back, June left him, but she had come back to try and patch things up."

She added: "My daughter cared for their daughter, Michelle, and was engaged to their eldest son, Shaun, so we knew the family quite well. I don't know what would bring someone to do something like this; it's just horrible to think."

Chris Arnott, 38, who also lives in Methilhaven Road, said: "It isn't nice to think this could happen on your street. I have spoken to the guy Bob in the pub a couple of times – he seemed normal. But they have only lived there for a little while and have been trying to sell that house practically since then – there was a terrible accident outside it a few years back."

Other neighbours told how the family had "kept themselves to themselves" since moving from Kirkcaldy.

The couple's eldest son, Shaun, 24, lives in Essex and was yesterday travelling back to Fife after being informed of the tragedy.

Floral tributes have been left outside the detached house.

Messages read simply: "Sleep in peace forever" and "God bless".

Nobody had been charged in connection with the deaths by last night. But police confirmed they had launched a murder inquiry.

Detective Superintendent Alastair McKeen said: "This is a murder investigation, but it is at a very early stage and we are keeping an open mind.

"Mr Thomson is likely to have valuable information about the events which took place in the Muiredge Cottage yesterday, and we will be keen to speak to him."

After appealing for information from the public, he said: "This is the type of event you hope you never have to see."

The full article contains 1564 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.

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