September 18, 2021

Glasgow Crime Stories: The Story of the Polk Shields Railway Murder.

It was one of the most heinous and cold-blooded murders ever to take place in Glasgow – even by the city’s violent standards.

Two railway workers were shot dead in a robbery in which the gunman escaped with just a few pounds.

It was Monday, December 10, 1945, and clerk Anne Weathers, Porter William Wright and Jr. Porter Robert Go were on late shifts at Polk Shields East Railway Station near Albert Road.

He was sitting in the stationmaster’s office trying to warm up around the coal fire as the temperature dropped outside.

At about 10:10 that evening, the door slammed and a young man was seen brushing his gun.

Read more: Glasgow Crime Stories: Arthur Thompson Jr. Murder and Paul Ferris Trial

Glasgow Times:

She immediately fired at Annie Weathers, and she fell to the floor.

Guff went to help Annie and threw her body at his partner to save her.

The gunman killed her with a second round of gunfire as she screamed on the floor.

He then turned to 15-year-old Robert and shot him in the right wrist and then in the abdomen.

Read more: Glasgow Crime Stories: The Murder of Lawyer Marshall Stormont.

Glasgow Times:

William Wright, 42, managed to escape when a gunman opened fire on him and a bullet entered his body.

The killing took a total of ten seconds.

William lay quietly on the floor and played dead while the killer went to the next door and opened a safe in search of money.

After the gunman left, he telephoned the nearby Polk Shields East signal box and alerted the signal men there.

At this point, the passengers shot at the train, unaware of the massacre.

Oddly enough, the train guard did not believe what Wright said and ordered the train to go to its next stop.

Robert, still alive but bleeding profusely from his wounds, stumbled onto the platform in search of help.

Police and ambulance personnel were on the scene within minutes of the double shooting.

Severely injured Anne Wooders died on the way to nearby Victoria Infirmary.

Robert Gough, who was still alive at the scene, was taken to the same hospital in critical condition but died two days later.

Significantly, he told a sheriff about the killer, and two days before he died, William gave the detectives a detailed description of the cunningly dressed killer.

He was about medium height and build, a thin pale face. She was wearing a light raincoat and a brown hat.

Glasgow Times:

Photos from the Glasgow Police Museum

The man in charge of the murder, Detective Chief Superintendent William Ewing, ordered a search of the railway line and surrounding streets if the killer had gone missing.

Unfortunately, the remote location of the train station, which was below ground level, and the dim night meant that there were no eyewitnesses except William Wright.

Glasgow Times:

Detective George McLane, head of the police forensic team, told reporters that six shots were fired using a 9mm German logger semi-automatic pistol.

The gunman also found several fingerprints on the left side of the stationmaster.

w 4.20 (now priced at £ 185) A wage packet was stolen.

Despite an eyewitness to the murder and a forensic evidence, attempts to identify the killer hit a brick wall.

A national newspaper offered a £ 1,000 prize, now equivalent to 000 40,000, but to no avail.

The trail cooled and despite the initial commotion. Crime Disappeared from the first pages and slipped from the public mind, then out of the blue in October 1946 – ten months after the double murder – found a clue about a possible suspect.

Glasgow Times:

He was Charles Templeman Brown, a 21-year-old railway firefighter who lived with his mother on the battlefield in Brisbane Street, about a mile and a half from the scene of the murder.

Police were also told he had a gun in the house when detectives called Lt. Frank Dow and Detective Inspector McCartney, whose mother said they were on a train between Glasgow and Carlisle.

The two police officers then left a message for Brown to contact them.

When Brown returned to the groundwork and learned of his visit, he panicked.

Assuming police were about to arrest him, he pulled out a pistol from his bedroom and tried to kill himself.

Ironically, the gun was jammed on this occasion.

Oddly enough, he then approached Constable John Byrne, who was directing traffic on Newlands Road, and said: “I committed a murder.”

When asked by police what his murder meant, Brown replied, “Polk Shields job.” Constable Byrne, who knew about the case, noticed the seriousness of the situation and warned him.

He then took Brown to a police signal box near Spain Street to alert his CID colleagues.

When Constable Byrne told Brown that he was going to look for her, Brown said, “You may have one,” and Lugar prepared a pistol and ammunition box.

From the police signal box, Constable Barron telephoned the Southern Police Office on Craigie Street to tell them about his arrest.

He then joined another bat policeman and again warned the accused in front of a witness.

While waiting for the detectives to arrive, Brown wrote a letter to a friend on a message pad in a police box acknowledging the double murder, which would prove during his trial.

Shortly afterwards, Detective Lt. MacDougall and Detective Sergeant Murdoch McKenzie took Brown into custody.

He was tried in the High Court in Glasgow on December 9, 1946, a year after his murder.

William Wright identified Brown as the man who shot and killed two of his colleagues.

Glasgow Times:

Detective Lt. McLane showed Jury Brown’s fingerprints and a Lugar pistol used in the double murder on Severi’s handle.

The main evidence was a letter from the accused confessing to the murder written in a police signal box.

The defense claimed that it was private correspondence with a friend and was not acceptable.

However, the prosecution was able to refute these claims, as Constable Byrne had twice warned Brown.

He also portrayed Brown as a dangerous water-type fantasyist.

During the trial, it was revealed that he was an immature young man who worshiped the heroes Hitler, Stalin and the band leader Joe Los. It was also fixed on Frank Sanatra and he once went to London to buy the same coat the singer was wearing.

A key part of the lawsuit was the testimony of a friend who was told by Brown: “What’s the point of buying a gun if you’re not using it?”

After an hour of deliberation, Brown was convicted of double murder and sentenced by trial judge Lord Carmont to death by hanging.

During the trial, he sat recklessly in court and appeared uneasy with the evidence against him.

His defense team argued that the killing was a matter of less liability.

He claimed that he had a disease called Incidental Dementia Precoccus – now called Schizophrenia.

Brown was also sentenced to death in a Berlin prison on Friday, January 3, 1947.

However, a request to save him from execution was successful and the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Eleven years later, in 1957, Brown apparently recovered, was released from prison and got a job as a salesman for a tire company.

He was also said to have become a model citizen and an active member of his local church choir.

However, his life ended 18 months later on Sterling to Dunblin Road when he collided with an oncoming vehicle.

He died on December 9, the same date he killed two defenseless railway workers 12 years ago.

Brown never gave a reason why he killed two railway clerks unnecessarily on this cold December evening.

One idea was that he wanted to be like his old friends who fought in the other. World Know the thrill of war and murder.

Whatever the reason, like many other assassins, he carried the secret to his grave.

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