CC BY-SA, © Tom Parnell

Location: Mid Argyll and Inveraray

A trial at Inverary Courthouse in 1908

In 1908, Dr Duncan Shaw Morrison, was attacked and killed on the path between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead. Part of the attack was witnessed by Archibald Carswell, a law clerk, who was cycling home with his friend Alexander Crawford and who encountered two men in the vicinity of the body. They later helped the local constable apprehend them.

Both men, William MacGregor Junior and Thomas Fox, were initially questioned about the murder. Fox became a witness for the prosecution while MacGregor was eventually sentenced to seven years of penal servitude at Peterhead Prison after pleading guilty to the reduced charge of culpable homicide. The victim was buried in Kilmartin Church graveyard.

The trial took place at Inveraray Courthouse and is significant in that it was one of the first occasions photography was used in a court trial. It has also left another curious footnote. For years after the event, a white-painted cross was to be seen on the wall at the scene of the crime. It was constantly touched-up and never allowed to fade, but we don’t know who put it there, or why.

As contributed by Inveraray Jail & County Court

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