Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Willie McRae Part 27: Donald Morrison - Evidence in Full

 

In Part 26 I laid out Donald Morrison’s evidence – a policeman who knew Macrae – under three headings: active, historical and on-going involvement of Special branch with Willie Macrae.  Here I publish it as one document including the section which wasn’t relevant for Part 25’s discussion.

Note: This document is available online as a pdf file here.

But first let me explain where this document has come from.

Previously, Donald has spoken to Paula Murray of the Express and to Fergus Ewing.  I haven’t had access to their discussions.  Mark MacNicol (of one of the 3000 Trees plays) put me in touch with Donald.  Over a dozen or so emails Donald sent to one or other of us, key subjects were covered several times.  I then collated and consolidated these emails into categories which suited my thinking.  I wanted to ensure that for each of Donald’s points I extracted the maximum information and  description.  Where necessary, I tweeked grammar and corrected typos. It is important that you know that almost all the words reproduced are Donald’s and not mine.

When completed, Donald checked the consolidated document, added some extra information and answered some clarification questions. I emailed the final document to Donald who signed it off (by email) for publication.

 

Before we come to the document I must say that, in his emails, Donald mentioned some police officers by name.  My understanding is that in reproducing Donald’s words with the names included I would not be defaming those people because I would not be implying any negativity or wrong-doing on their part.  But I do not control the comments that readers might leave here and so, despite the risk being very small, I have removed their names and replaced them with letters.  Be assured though that Donald’s emails included their names.  I retain those names for possible future use.

Enough.  Here is my consolidated version of the information Donald has shared with me and Mark.

 

DONALD MORRISON EVIDENCE 28 MARCH 2015

In 2011, the police took a statement from me on behalf of Rt Hon. Elish Angiolini, Crown Office, Edinburgh.

My first contact with police was on 22 March 2011 when Det. Sergeant GA (now Det Inspector) took a lengthy statement from me. I was aware that they were coming so I secretly contacted Iain Fraser (a former policeman) and he was in my home that day. A Det. Const. obtained a statement from him in a separate room within my home.

 

FRIDAY 5TH APRIL 1985

Between 1100 AM / 12noon on 5th April, the day before Mr Macrae's death, Mr. Roderick MacKay (Manager of Agnew's Store West Nile St.) served Mr. Macrae 2 bottles of Islay Mist whisky & 40 Benson and Hedges cigarettes before he (Macrae) headed north.

I saw Willie coming out of the shop and then placing one of the bottles on the roof of the car while he opened the driver's door and I grabbed the bottle before it slipped to the roadway, The two who were taking ops would have seen this and that bottle would have my prints thereon and that would tie me to seeing him at the car before he set off.

Willie left West Nile St. between 11am and 12.30 at the latest. I know it was no later than 12.30 because at 12.30 I would have been in the police office for lunch. I cannot say he left Glasgow though. What he told me in West Nile St. was that he was heading up north right away to get settled in.

His last words to me were "I think I've got them this time", then he repeated " Yes I've got them this time” as he winked. Again he said for the third time, “I've got them this time" as he patted his bulging brief case. “I have to go through all this during the weekend up in Kintail.“

The body language of the two who were taking surveillance suggested to me that they were very annoyed at me speaking to Macrae as he sat in the car. As a matter of fact I looked over my shoulder two or three times and saw the man in the blue suit with an open hand gesture as if to say "what the hell is this cop speaking to Macrae?”. That was the feeling I got. At that point it crossed my mind to tell Macrae that he was being watched. Now I wish I had.

I stopped traffic to allow him to do a 'U' turn as he headed northwards in West Nile St. I unintentionally caught them (the surveillance two) on the hop. This resulted in them running northwards across Sauchiehall St and along West Nile St pushing pedestrians to the side to allow them to rendezvous with the two waiting cars which were either parked in West Nile St or in Renfrew Lane (which does not exist any more). Both were double-manned and went through red traffic signals burning rubber to tail him. I was so suspicious of the whole exercise that I decided to see for myself what was happening. The second car having gone through the lights and causing pedestrians who were crossing to scatter seemed to apologise to the pedestrians who were shouting at them by extending his right arm out the driver's window - a common practice used by police in a hurry. The manner in which this surveillance was carried out so meticulously made me very, very suspicious.

Having witnessed what happened in West Nile St, Glasgow that forenoon, I knew right away that it was very well planned and was also aware within myself that I would not see Mr. William Macrae alive again. I pulled my radio out of my pocket to inform HQ about what I had seen but decided from doing so because I had not taken the Reg. No. of Willie Macrae's car.

Anyway, I tried to convince myself that Mr Macrae had been under surveillance for some time and that his life was not placed in danger. I went along to Stewart St. police office and told colleagues what had happened. The advice that I was given was 'For your own good keep your nose out of it.' I did fear for my own life and that of my wife.

I was also aware that it was a waste of time reporting the matter to police as they were already aware of Macrae being under surveillance along with Special Branch.


SURVEILLANCE AND SPECIAL BRANCH

I have mentioned above the surveillance of Mr Macrae on Friday, 5th April 1985.

 

A short time [see the two paragraphs below] before Macrae's death, Constable DP (now deceased) got a call via his personal radio to attend the premises of William McRae after a suspicious break-in where no cash was ever stolen but filing cabinets only forced open. A short time later another message came over the radio saying that PC DP had attended the premises of William McRae and had found 'highly confidential files that were so important they could bring the government down.' and requesting that Det. Const. WW attends. Det. Const. WW attended and contacted Supt. BH and Special Branch who arranged for all files from Willie's office to be secretly taken to Stewart St. police office to be photocopied. Supt. BH authorised documents being taken to Stewart St. Willie was not present and had not been made aware of this. Willie unexpectedly appeared at his office and was very annoyed at police removing his documents. I was present when Supt. BH told him the lie that his filings were removed in the interest of safety. Willie was raging because of this. There was so much to be photocopied that Supt. BH suggested getting another loan of a photocopying machine from M&S Sauchiehall St. g>

When taking my statement in 2011, Det. Sergeant GA asked me how long is a 'short time'? Is it 6-12 months? In reply I said I didn't exactly know how long it was but appeared to be short time. He put 6-12 months in my statement.  I could not say for sure that it was a few weeks or even a few months. That is why I wrote to FOI Pitt St. enquiring as to when pc DP was awarded the Chief Constable's Commendation.

The background to this is that DP was awarded a Chief Constable's Commendation for finding the documents that were considered so dangerous that they could bring the government down. To give me an idea of when PC DP found this info I sent an FOI by Recorded Delivery to Insp. C, 173 Pitt St Glasgow G24 JS on 16th Feb. 2015 requesting that I was given the date PC DP (who was my neighbour on occasions in police) was commended by the Chief Constable. They have not acknowledged my letter or sent me a reply!

 

About 4/5 weeks before Willie's death, a former policeman (Mr. Iain Fraser) who had left because of poor wages set up his own private detective agency and had an office in the same office block as Willie Macrae's in Bath St. He received a phone call enquiring if he knew Mr. Macrae. He said that he did know him. This phone was believed to be from Newcastle. Iain was told that Macrae would be attending an SNP conference in Edinburgh on a particular date and he was asked to take surveillance on Willie and the other two people who would be with him. He was than asked to submit his report asap to a Box Number in Newcastle. A few days later he received a cheque for about £130 for a day's work along with another retired police sergeant from Greenock. A week or so later Iain got a job abroad and remained there for several weeks. He was not aware that Willie had met his death until he came back to Glasgow.

 

Willie's executive office in Bath St was broken into 5 times as far as I recall. There was never any cash stolen but his filing cabinets were always burst open. As a rule Tommy Sheridan's small office 5 up at 12/14 Renfield St. was broken into the same night as Macrae's. It was forming a pattern! Macrae's office was 1 up to the right hand side while a Celtic millionaire director's office was to the left on the landing. He told me that he had been there for 28 years and that the security of his property had never been overcome until Macrae arrived. He blamed Willie's presence for the break-ins. I added this in my statement but again this has been deleted.

I wasn't surprised that senior officers whom I approached were not interested about the break-ins and asked me to give him 'flannel'. Willie himself knew that they were not real house break-ins and blamed Special Branch /MI5.

 

I was asked to get a copy of keys to the Macrae/Murray/Spence office 1 up in Bath St. To the best of my knowledge this was a considerable time before 1985. Partner Len Murray and Macrae didn't see 'eye to eye' and Macrae left the office they had shared some 2yrs approx. before his demise. He had moved along to another office some 1 hundred yards along westwards in Bath St. I enquired of the senior officer if I could get a copy of the Chubb keys with a pencil. He replied " No, No, this can be done by pushing the keys into wet soap or plasticine.” I was quite friendly with the Commissionaire and admired the way he was turned out sometimes wearing his active Service War medals. I had too much respect for him and did not feel comfortable to ask him as the reply would be more likely negative. However I recall that I did visit the cleaning lady but she was very suspicious of police presence in the lawyers office. So I failed to get a copy of the keys.>

 

Also deleted from my statement was this paragraph. I was on uniform patrol one night when dog patrol officers pulled up near to Watt Bros, corner of Sauchiehall St/Hope St. I recall that the driver knew me and stopped to say hello. To the best of my knowledge this would be either pc. Kenny or pc Alasdair (I can't remember their surnames). While speaking to the driver both of us heard a message coming over the AS radio in the van. [Note: This radio was for traffic vehicles, while beat police used a local personal radio system.] The message was to the effect that Special Branch were following Willie Macrae's car (he was a suspected drink driver). They requested that a marked police car attended to stop his vehicle as they could not do so. Mr Macrae, I believe, had a drink driving charge pending. I do not know whether he was stopped or not that night. Once anybody is taken into custody all their personal belongings are removed from them. There is no doubt that should SB wish to do so - they could gain access to examine that property including keys etc. I cannot put a time on this but I feel it may have been probably a year or even more.

 

Between 1975 to 1977, I'm not sure when, I recall being on duty with a colleague in the 5 Ways area Buchanan St/ Bath St, when we received a call asking for our position. We confirmed our position and, shortly after that, police sergeant Y told us that Special Branch and M15 were taking obs. on the premises of Willie Macrae and warned us not to go near the premises that night. Also he added that no marked police vehicles were permitted in the area of Bath St that night. None of these witnesses were contacted by police until I gave them the names 27yrs later.

 

One day, a long time before his death and before he left his office in Bath St, I attended at Willie's former office with a fax message from the Procurator fiscal regarding a sudden court adjournment. The heavy maroon curtains were drawn on a warm summer's day. I pulled the curtains over and Willie said, “No! No”. and indicated that he was under surveillance from property across the road (1 up).

 

Another time, again a long time before his death and before he left his office in Bath St, Macrae reported to Stewart St. police office that a strange blue Triumph car was circling his block. I attended along with a colleague and obtained the registration number and a complaint from him. The Reg No isn't known now. Like most policemen at Stewart St. neither us was really surprised to learn this as we both knew that Willie was under surveillance for some unknown reason: we were never told why! I attended at Stewart St police and asked the controller to do a PNC (Police National Computer check) and the result came back as 'No Trace' as we expected. We went back to see Willie with our findings and told him that that Reg. No. did not exist. He looked at us both for what seemed like a minute and he said " M15 and Special Branch motors are not registered in Swansea”. Supt. BH decided to send two plain clothes officers to visit Macrae about his complaint. Immediately, it was suddenly cancelled after Supt. BH received a telephone message from the Chief Constable's office to say that Mr. Macrae had sent a letter of complaint to Pitt St HQ. It was then decided to send a police Insp. and Sergeant instead of plain clothes to deal with the matter.

 

OTHER POINTS

An inspector from FOI told me that he (Macrae) may have drunk the two bottles and thrown them away. Roddy MacKay only stocked Islay Mist for Willie as that was all he drank. Yet other brands of whisky were found.

 

In my statement I gave the police the address and telephone number of Roderick MacKay who was the manager of Agnew's stores, West Nile St, and who sold Macrae whisky and cigarettes on Friday, 5 April 1985. I was assured that they would contact him. Six months later the police had failed to even phone Mr. MacKay. I phoned the Inverness Constabulary team who were dealing with the Macrae case and enquired as to why Mr MacKay had not been interviewed despite me giving his details in my statement. There reply was “We will phone you back". Police did phone me later that day and told me that they did not have Mr. Mackay's details.

They said that on 4 November 2011 a Detective Constable would attend at my home for Mr. MacKay's details. A Det Const did visit me to get Mr MacKay's address.

I also told Det. Sergeant GA, who took my statement that, after witnessing what I observed that day [Friday 5 April 1985], I was afraid not only for my own life but also for my wife's safety. The sergeant did not add this to my statement but added "They would not do that, would they?” I said, "There is the unwritten " Ways and means Act". He did not make a reply.

 

I attended at Macrae's office several years before his death with a court adjournment along with a colleague one afternoon. Willie appeared upset. He said, “The bastards have murdered Louis". Neither of us knew what he was talking about and then he added that Mountbatten was a friend that served with him in Indian navy. In my statement I said that Mr Macrae was friendly with Lord Louis Mountbatten (having served with him in India) and that I suspected that he may have secretly passed highly confidential info to Willie Macrae. This part along with several other paragraphs was deleted by police at FOI, Inverness HQ.

 

In my statement I said that, in the company of former policeman, Iain Fraser, I had visited the roadway where Macrae sustained the fatal injury to his head. We searched the said area most of the day with metal detectors with negative result. What surprised us both was the fact that skid marks as shown in police report were on a straight stretch of roadway and at a vantage point which gave a clear view to vehicular traffic going northwards/southwards. Was this point selected? In my statement I said that I strongly suspected that Macrae's car was sandwiched between the two cars that followed him from West Nile St. Glasgow. This paragraph was also deleted from my statement which I can assume was sent to the Crown Office for their consideration.

 

I spoke to Fergus Ewing in 2005 and he also came up against a 'brick wall' with Elish Angiolini remarking that there was no other new evidence.

 

MY 2011 STATEMENT TO POLICE

My statement was taken in my home on 22nd March 2011 by a Detective Sergeant GA (now Det Inspector). A Detective Constable took the statement of Iain Fraser, a former policeman, who was in my house at that time.

I didn't photocopy the statement I gave as the Det. Sgt. promised that a police Supt. would visit me at a later date to go over the 15/16 page statement with me to see if there was anything that I wished to add. This never happened of course and I didn't get the chance to photocopy my statement. This raised my suspicion that something was not right.

No Superintendent came and I did not receive a copy of my statement. Two years later I sent a recorded delivery letter to the Chief Supt. at Inverness requesting that he forwarded my letter to FOI for a copy of my original statement. He completely declined to acknowledge my letter. Thereafter I sent another recorded delivery letter to Ms. A, FOI, for a copy of my original statement. After about several months I phoned her and asked what the delay was! She said that it wasn't lost and that a Special Branch officer was attending from Aberdeen a week the following Monday and that he would know where my statement was. Then she added "It was them them that was dealing with the case from the start".

Some two months later I got a 'doctored' copy of my alleged statement. My signature was photocopied and appended to this false statement. Omitted deliberately from my statement were 7 or 8 very pertinent points.

Last year I made a detailed official complaint to the Chief Constable for Scotland. I could not believe it when this was sent to a senior CID officer at Inverness who was dealing with Macrae's case in the Spring of 2011.  Chief Inspector S sent me a letter saying that my statement had not been doctored.

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2 comments:

  1. The words of Donald Morrison are very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're right, they are. Tomorrow I try to reconcile Donald's evidence with Crown Office stance.

    I've known for about 3 months that a post such as this was coming but I didn't think I'd have so much evidence from Donald. Part of me at the time wanted to shout, 'LOOK AT THIS!' but I had my plan of how the story would develop and I've stuck to that.

    ReplyDelete