Police reopen 50 year old Edinburgh ‘missing’ case

Police are reopening the case. Picture: Julie Bull
Police are reopening the case. Picture: Julie Bull
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DETECTIVES in the Capital were today expected to visit a back garden where family members believe the body of a woman missing for more than 50 years is buried.

The latest move in the hunt for the body of Bridget Robertson marks a U-turn for police chiefs – who only weeks ago told the woman’s relatives they had closed their case.

But her son, Ady Ford, 56, who believes he witnessed his mother’s murder and burial in the back green behind the family home in Edinburgh’s Easter Road when he was only three, would not accept the decision and waged a campaign to reverse it.

Now, after the intervention of local MSP Malcolm Chisholm, police are to review the case with the help of Mr Ford, who will point out the area where he believes his mother’s remains lie.

He said: “It was not a happy home, even apart from losing my mother.

“It brought back a lot of painful memories. But I need to know if my mum’s still there.”

Mr Ford said he is certain he saw his mother murdered on the landing of the family’s basement flat.

“My mum was with my 
stepdad, Donnie Ford, and we were living in a basement flat near the top of Easter Road,” he said.

“I remember my third birthday, in October 1960, and it wasn’t long after that. My mum was on the landing outside our flat. I don’t know why, but there was a man with her I didn’t recognise and he was striking her.

“A short time later, I saw her stretched out on the floor of the coal cellar in our close, which was four stairs up from our door.

“There was a lot of blood and she wasn’t moving. I was too young to understand the significance of what I was seeing, but she was never seen again.”

Mr Ford believes he witnessed her being buried in the back green but is not certain.

He said: “I saw my stepdad tending that bit of garden I will point out to the officers over and over for years.

“We hardly ever had enough to eat, but he always had grass seed to put on that bit of ground.”

Mr Ford believed the mystery of his mother’s disappearance had been solved when the body of another woman with the same name and date of birth was found in a London grave.

She had been living in a homeless hostel before passing away at St Mary’s Hospital in December 1975.

But doubts surfaced after it emerged the dead woman was an alcoholic and only had one ovary. She was also five inches taller than Mr Ford’s mother.

The uncertainty prompted Malcolm Chisholm MSP to express concern to detectives, who agreed to review their decision-making process in the case.

Mr Chisholm said: “I hope the police will explore every avenue possible so that my constituents are satisfied that everything possible has been done.”

Mr Ford – whose stepmother was jailed for farming him and his sister out for sex – said he was “grateful” that officers were looking again at the case, adding: “I don’t think that all that could be done has been done, and I believe Police Scotland has an obligation to 
investigate.”

Police Scotland bosses have refused to discuss “operational decisions” or the apparent anomalies thrown up by the post-mortem report.

A police spokesman confirmed officers were due to meet Mr Ford today to hear more about his fears surrounding his mother’s fate.

But he ruled out any 
immediate excavation of the garden.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com