January 2013

Police to open up grave in search for missing schoolgirl Moira Anderson

ma

Police will today begin to open a family grave in the search for the remains of a schoolgirl who vanished almost 56 years ago.

Moira Anderson was 11 when she went missing from her home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, in February 1957 while running an errand for her grandmother.

It is widely believed that she was abducted and murdered, but her body has never been found.

The case remains unsolved, although convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore, (pic below) a Coatbridge bus driver who died in 2006, has been connected with the disappearance. 

He was jailed for four years for raping his family’s 13-year-old babysitter but never questioned about Moira’s disappearance.

alexander-gartshore

Today, investigators will start excavating the plot of Sinclair Upton, who was said to have been known to Gartshore, to see if the schoolgirl’s remains were hidden there.

The exhumation of the gravesite at Old Monkland Cemetery in Coatbridge, which is reportedly known to contain eight bodies, is expected to take several days.

The operation, which will be conducted by Strathclyde Police and led by forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black, comes after a sheriff gave the move the go-ahead last month.

The process is expected to involve highly-skilled personnel trained in the techniques required for this type of work.

Experts are exploring the possibility that Moira’s body may have been dumped under a coffin in the grave, which was thought to have been open around the time of her disappearance.

Gartshore was blamed for Moira’s murder by his own daughter, Sandra Brown, in her book Where There is Evil.

March 2012

Is missing girl buried in Coatbridge cemetery?

THE mystery of what happened to Coatbridge schoolgirl Moira Anderson who vanished without trace 55 years ago could soon be solved.

Moira disappeared on February 23, 1957, after being sent on an errand to the local Co-op in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, by her grandmother.

The Advertiser can reveal that the Crown Office are looking at a proposed exhumation of a grave at Old Monkland Cemetery, Coatbridge, in the hope of uncovering the remains of the 11-year-old girl, who disappeared on a snowy day on February 23, 1959. 

Author Sandra Brown, who accused her own father, Alexander Gartshore of murdering Moira, told the Advertiser this week: “I am convinced Moira was placed in a ditch at Gartgill and later moved to an open grave at Old Monkland Cemetery.”
The grave was opened for a burial shortly after Moira vanished on a trip to the shops.

Gartshore, now deceased, was the driver of a bus boarded by Moira and was the last man known to have seen her alive.  He was jailed for four years for raping his family’s 13-year-old babysitter but never questioned about Moira’s disappearance.

Sandra, author of  ‘Where There is Evil’, exposing Gartshore as Moira’s killer, and the schoolgirl’s two sisters Janet Hart and Marjorie Muir have campaigned tirelessly over the years to find out what happened to Moira. 

Now lawyers for the sisters have applied for an exhumation of a grave at the cemetery after Sandra’s research and a ground-penetrating radar revealed one plot showed up ‘abnormalities’.

Said Sandra: “I have just returned from a trip to Australia where I stayed with Janet and we got a call from the lawyers to say that all the relevant paperwork has been submitted to the Crown Office.

“This has been a long and weary road and what we want is closure. This is Scotland’s  longest cold case and we finally need answers to what happened to Moira.”

Gartshore’s friend, convicted paedophile James Gallogley, made a deathbed confession while in Peterhead Prison in 1999, naming Gartshore as the murderer.
And it is believed that Gallogley described a paedophile ring operating in the area at the time which was said to contain some very important people.

Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill MP Tom Clarke said: “The community of Coatbridge has waited for half a century while the mystery of what actually happened to Moira Anderson remains unresolved.

“Many people in Coatbridge and beyond remain baffled by the mystery of Moira and find it unacceptable that as yet there has been no satisfactory outcome. The authorities need to step up their level of activity, produce a strategy that will reach a definitive conclusion, and anything less is unsatisfactory.

“There is a need for the Crown Office to identify a specific date for the exhumation as relatives of the family need to know precisely when that will be.

“It is most regrettable that Moira’s family have had to wait for such an extraordinary period to get closure on this most vexed issue.  We cannot go on wondering indefinitely year after year after year if a conclusion can be found.

“There is a determination to reach a conclusion especially for Moira’s family but also out of respect for her own life.”

A Crown Office spokesman said: “We continue to liaise with parties’ legal representatives in relation to a proposed exhumation.”