Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bible John

Glasgow

Although the city's name comes from the Gaelic for "a green hollow," there is little of the area's pastoral origins left in the bustling industrial hub along the River Clyde.

McLellan Galleries
McLellan Galleries

Over time the city developed into a metropolis that can now boast cultural gems such as the Gallery of Modern Art and McLellan Galleries, prestigious museums and universities, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and multiple architectural masterpieces created by native son Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

But lights so bright must, by definition, cast shadows, and the city also holds, as journalist Russell Leadbetter wrote in the city's Evening Times "(no) shortage of thugs...murderous villains...and petty thieves."

A quick tour through the darker side of Glasgow's past reveals notable crimes and criminals such as:

Madeleine Smith
Madeleine Smith

Madeleine Smith. Brought to trial in 1857 for the alleged poisoning of her foreign-born lover Emile L'Angelier when he threatened to expose their affair as she was preparing to marry a wealthy suitor. Emile had kept her love letters (which, when read aloud, caused a scandal in the Victorian courtroom), and those letters certainly proved motive, but the prosecution could not prove opportunity, and Madeleine was acquitted under the unique Scottish verdict of Not Proven.

Dr. Edward W. Pritchard
Dr. Edward W. Pritchard

Dr. Edward William Pritchard. Pritchard's wife seemed to be struck by mysterious illnesses while at home, but recovered nicely when out of his presence. After he finally killed his wife off (and her visiting mother, just for good measure) with the easily hidden poison antimony, an anonymous letter persuaded the authorities to exhume both bodies, which resulted in an 1865 trial and gave the good doctor the claim to fame of being the last person to be executed in public in Scotland.

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