Paedophile named likely killer of Moira Anderson

Moira Anderson. Picture: Comp

Moira Anderson. Picture: Comp

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AN Edinburgh woman who believed her bus driver father killed a young girl nearly 60 years ago has spoken of her relief after he was named by prosecutors as the likely murderer.

Sandra Brown has long believed that her father, Alexander Gartshore, murdered 11-year-old Moira Anderson from Lanarkshire in 1957.

The Crown Office yesterday confirmed that Gartshore – a convicted paedophile who died in 2006 – would have been charged if he was still alive. Moira was last seen on a bus driven by him.

Ms Brown has campaigned for years to find the body of the youngster – who was a childhood friend – and first went to police to name her father as a suspect in 1992.

Ms Brown said: “It’s a really historic decision by the Crown Office.

“I feel that legal confirmation of a really terrible crime and the naming of a perpetrator is a huge leap forward.

“In a few weeks Moira will have been missing for 57 years.

“She went missing when she was just a schoolgirl looking forward to high school.

“Her parents and sisters have never got over what occurred.

“I believe this will go some way in helping them come to terms with such unimaginable violence.”

Referring to the disappearance of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular from his Edinburgh home earlier this month and the subsequent discovery of his dead body, Ms Brown said: “This is particularly significant just now. The events from this month have shown us the impact of when a child goes missing from a community.

“It’s horrific when the body is found. But when it’s never found, then I just can’t comprehend the impact of that on a family.

“I can’t find the word for how I’m feeling, there are so many mixed emotions. Although it confirms my worst nightmares, it certainly gives me a sense that this will hopefully silence anyone who doubted my father was responsible.”

Ms Brown believed Moira’s body might have been buried at Old Monkland Cemetery in the family plot of an acquaintance of Gartshore. Last January the grave was opened, but forensic officers confirmed there was no trace of the schoolgirl.

Ms Brown said: “There were so many missed opportunities with this case – my dad died in 2006, and I approached the police in 1992.

“This is 22 years down the line, and although the exhumation last year was hugely disappointing at the time, this shows it was all worthwhile.

“If we hadn’t gone to the sheriff court, and we hadn’t gone to the cemetery, we wouldn’t have had the tsunami of people coming forward with new evidence.”

The naming of Gartshore came after a new witness stated that she saw him dragging a young girl, who matches the description of Moira, by the arms near to a bus terminus in Carnbroe, Coatbridge on the day she vanished.

In a statement, the Crown Office said: “The new evidence provides the sufficiency to allow Crown Counsel to take the decision that the suspect (Gartshore) would have been indicted had he still been alive.”

amcewen@edinburghnews.com