1956,the Watt family had been murdered in their bungalow in Burnside

 Park Engineering

 John Park, 32 the Loaning, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Scotland, U.K. ML1 3HE

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Peter Manual 'The Beast of Birkenshaw' fails to avoid the noose. 07-12-2016

Birkenshaw serial killer Peter Manual is taken up the rear stairs of the High Court in Edinburgh in June 1958 for his appeal after being sentenced to hang for seven murders the previous month. The appeal was dismissed and having avoided the noose on June 19th due to the appeal, the hangman did his job at Barlinnie Prison on July 11. In the days before his execution he tried to feign insanity which led to his mum Brigit slapping him across the face, telling him "You can't fool me!" Manual's capture in a three part miniseries in Plain Sight which starts on STV tonight (Wednesday) at 9pm.  The Drama series "In Plain Sight" is based on the true story of Lanarkshire detective William Muncie's quest to bring justice to notorious Scottish killer Peter Manual. It stars Douglas Henshall and Martin Compston.   

Not long after John Christie was murdering women throughout London in the fifties, another serial killer was leaving a trail of death in his wake across Scotland. The evil Manual managed to evade capture for two years.


Scots actress on her hit TV roll. I got inside mind of Manuel's sister

Rising star Bobby Rainsbury has lifted the lid on getting inside the mind of Peter Manual's sister for her role in the hit telly drama about Scotland's worst serial killer. During research for the biggest part of her career, she discovered her mum Rosemary had a friend who worked with Theresa Manual at the now closed Bellshill Maternity Hospital. That set the 25-year old, who plays the murderer's late sister in ITV'S 'In Plain Sight' along side leading man Marton Compston, on a heart breaking voyage of discovery about one of Manual's hidden victims.   She told the Scottish Sun on Sunday: "My mum was working with a woman who worked with her on the baby unit which was amazing.  "Mum went into work and was like, 'My daughter got this job,' and then one of the ladies told her about the connection. Then we arranged for me to come in and have a chat. It was amazing -- It's such a a small world. You want to do the story justice because of the nature of it." US born Manuel, raised in Birkenshaw, Lanarkshire was hanged aged 31 at Glasgow's Barlinnie in 1958. His death came after he was convicted of shooting dead seven people. -- Marion and Vivienne Watt, Margaret Brown, Isabelle Cooke and and Peter, Doris and Michael Smart. He also confessed to killing17-year-old Anne Kneilands but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence. Three part series in Plain Sight follows detective William Muncie, played by Douglas Henshall, as he attempts to bring Manuel to justice. Bobby from Jordanhill Glasgow, said: "His sister Threrasa was a Psychiatic nurse  in the Southern General at the time and I think she had an Idea of maybe what was wrong with him. She spoke to people about it and even went to the Procurator Fiscal."  Theresa was described as a "credit to the community" when she died from a stroke aged 74 in 2008. She lived out her days in Uddingston, Lanarkshire in a two-bed-roomed ex-council house Manual stayed in during his killing spree.    London based Bobby -- whose screen debut came in fifth along side James McAvoy -- said: !I was struck by the guilt she felt. From the research I've done, I think she loved him but found it very difficult. He wasn't like that towards her. But I read somewhere that a couple of nights before he was arrested, he tried to attack her with  a knife. That was the only incident that was mentioned anywhere. I think part of her feels responsible. That's maybe why she didn't talk about it. Wednesday's opener which saw manual successfully defend himself against a rape charge brought by Mary McLaughlan (Jenny Hulse) -- was a ratings hit, netting 5 million viewers. The single actress, who played River City's rebelIous teen Kirsty Lindsay in 2014, said: "!i really enjoyed it and there's been a great response. "I didn't go on twitter or anything though to check -- I was too busy texting Jenny. She was great. "It's a big part for me and it's an opportunity that doesn't come round very often. It was an incredible experience. 


Sitting in his Barlinnie prison cell, Peter Manual's brazen attitude took over as he penned his first letters to lawyers and police officers.

His name was well known to the authorities and he was no stranger to life inside. The callous murderer had already claimed four innocent lives but the net had yet to finally close in on the man dubbed The Beast of Birkenshaw.   Instead, it was Manual himself who helped tighten the noose around his own neck in a series of daring letters which are now open to the public for the first time without restriction. the files have been held by the National Records Office and archivists have decided to re-open closed records. The last review was more that 20 years ago. Now, more that 1000 pieces of paper have been made publicly available. In a series of explosive notes written while serving time for housebreaking, Manual approached well-known solicitor Laurence Dowdall asking his to represent him. At the same time, Dowdall was representing William Watt, who had been charged with murdering his family and was serving time alongside Manuel. Manuel would ultimately be held responsible for the Watt murders. It was a crime for which he was able to produce a drawing of the deadly weapon he used to murder the family.  Now, almost 60 years after Manual was hanged for the murders of seven people, these bombshell records have been made public as part of a review of paperwork surrounding Scotland's most high-profile killer. The Sunday Mail secured access to documents that include Manuel's own hand drawn image of the gun he used to commit some of the most notorious killings, details of a poison suicide attempt behind bars and intimate details of his correspondence with his legal team. In one letter by the Barlinnie prison governor three days after Manuel's hanging, he reveals how a bottle containing powder and labelled "SNOB" was confiscated. The suspected poison was handed over by prisoner George McClung, who claimed other prisoners had asked him "to endeavour to pass it to prisoner Manuel while he was awaiting sentence of death." The governor added. "I am of the opinion that this bottle has been in the prison for some considerable time. Indeed before Manuel trial, and it may have been the desire of the unknown prisoner to get this deadly material into Manuel's food so that he would not appear in court".  Observation notes from the condemned cells reveal how on June 20th, 1958, at about 2.30 pm, "Manuel was found lying on his bed frothing at the mouth". They go on to say: "The prison doctor carefully examined him, that he was examined by the prison doctor each subsequent day and that on Monday, 23rd June, the departments prison medical adviser  ....  the consultant psychiatrist conducted a most physical examination of Manual which would have been bound to reveal no only any serious injury but any bruising. Manual had also accused a prison officer of assaulting him. Both this and the suicide attempt is believed to have been a delaying tactic by Manual ahead of an appeal. But it was A SERIES OF LETTERS WHICH WOULD arouse Dowall's suspicion and eventually lead to Manuel's conviction and death sentence. On September 17, 1956, the Watt family had been murdered in their bungalow in Burnside, Glasgow. Marion, 40, her 17 year old daughter and Marion's sister Margaret Brown ,30, all lost their lives. Marion's husband William was accused of the murder. Even in his first letter, Manuel hints at having information which could prove crucial in helping to snare the family's killer. The first letter dater October 8, 1956, reads: "Last Tuesday I was sentenced to 18 month's imprisonment in Hamilton Sherriff Court. "Today, I lodged an appeal and decided I should like to represent me. I wish to obtain bail during period as appellant and desire to have this accomplished with all urgency. "I would like you to come and see me on Wednesday. The proposal I have outlined are to our mutual advantage mainly due to the fact that I have some information for you concerning a recently acquired client of yours who has been described as 'an all-round athlete'   within two months, Watt was released from prison and cleared of all charges. But Manuel continued with his correspondence, this time writing to Dowdall on October 26. He said: ;Tonight I received a visit from a friend of mine who gave me some very disturbing news. If you are not able to obtain bail by next Friday, there will be no chance of my participating in any way on your behalf regarding the matter we discussed. Manuel also wrote to superintendant James Hendry on November 9, 1956, displaying huge arrogance and playing a game of cat and mouse with detectives. He addressed it as "Dear Jimmy" and said: "As I told you last Saturday, Nov. 3rd, I would give you a decision on whether or not I would give you a statement when I learn the result of my appeal. I now honour it.