Monday, 6 April 2015

Willie McRae Part 30: What’s New in SoS



UPDATE @  15 April 2015:  I have been in contact with one of the SoS journalists who assured me that there is no major information being held back.  I have been given clarification on a few points but I have a considerable amount of work to do before I can make good use of it.  Please bear with me.

After yesterday’s rant at the Scotland on Sunday editorial today I look objectively at their article on Willie’s death.

Despite the headlines and editorial, the case is not solved.  In fact, there is nothing which makes any cause more likely than another.  The evidence poses questions, very serious questions, for the police and Crown Office but first let’s see what was new.

There is new evidence, claimed new evidence which isn’t, doubtful conclusions, some confusion and, necessarily for a one-off article, lots of background material.  Fortunately I can dispense with the background and focus on what is new because it is there that our knowledge increases.  Also I don’t have time to sort through and correct their confusions, conclusions and claimed new evidence which isn’t.  Therefore I focus only on what is new and the reason for its importance.


New Evidence

having been removed, the car was returned to the crash site

1st source for above is retired senior police officer in Northern Constabulary
2nd source are Barbara and Allan Crowe, Australian tourists who found crash and Macrae

That the car was removed and later returned to the scene isn’t new; John Finnie stated that a witness had told him.  When I posed this possibility some months ago some readers, quite properly, questioned the idea on the basis that to do so would involve massive risk to the police but, with three witnesses, the likelihood is much greater that the evidence is correct.  Given too that one witness, believed to be John Finnie’s contact, ‘was a former high-ranking officer in Northern Constabulary’ only adds to the credibility.

This raises serious questions about, for example, the position of the gun but far more important is the knowledge that neither the police nor the Crown Office thought it necessary, in any of their public statements, to acknowledge this fact. [Note: I know that there is no certainty yet about the car’s return to the scene] 


If the car was returned, then a crucial question to be answered is,

When were the official police photographs taken?

I posed this in January and its importance is as follows.  If the photographs were taken on Saturday, 6 April, before the car was removed to Fort Augustus then, provided the photos were developed, the police had a record of the car’s actual crash position.  This would help establish where the gun’s position was relative to the original car position.

In Part 12 I estimate that the actual position of the driver’s door has to be known to an accuracy of no less than +/- 24 inches before any can claim that the gun was found directly below where the car’s door had been.

However, if the photos were taken when the car was returned, there is no record of where exactly the car had come to rest.  All the police could use was PC Crawford’s memory or marks left by the crash. 

I have doubts about whether marks from the crash could have been used because the site had been walked over by several witnesses on the Saturday; the car had been dragged from its resting position to be taken to Fort Augustus and finally returned to an ‘approximate’? position on Sunday.

Delamore and Semple use the return of the car to an approximate position as a possible explanation of why the gun was found so far from the car. They note, with no doubt,

When the car was returned it was placed close to the original site, but not in the precise spot.

The authors don’t state how they can make such solid claim about the car being 'not in the precise spot'. 

If the original car position was not known EXACTLY then it is hard to see how any conclusion can be drawn about where the gun was in relation to the position of the car far less the driver’s door as referenced by the Lord Advocate in 1990.

I ask that the authors make public all their information.  This isn’t, or shouldn’t be, about selling newspapers or books but is about justice.


Crown Office claims they were given two statements reportedly from Crowes although the Crowes made no statement to police[asserted but not sourced]

The article states,

Furthermore, the Crowes claim that, despite leaving contact details, they were not asked to give any official witness statement.

The Crown Office claims that they were handed two witness statements, reportedly from the Crowes to Northern Constabulary in 1985. But Allan Crowe says the statements were not from him or his wife. “I think the police must have been talking to someone else. I did not make any formal statement at the time and I have never been contacted by the police or any other officials since that date.”


If, possibly a big ‘if’, Delamore and Semple can make this claim ‘stand up’ then the Crown Office has a lot of explaining to do. 


How can there be statements on file from witnesses who claim never to have made them?


How can it be that 'Crown Counsel remains satisfied with the investigation into the death of William Macrae'?


I ask that they (D & S) put more information into the public arena.


Procurator Fiscal claimed the death had been fully investigated one day before the ballistics tests were carried out [public sources]

I wish I found this.  The information was there and I missed it.  Well done!!!!

The ballistics tests, carried out on 10 April 1985, confirmed that the bullet which killed Macrae was fired from the gun found at the scene. 

How could the death have been investigated fully when the Procurator Fiscal couldn’t have known the results of the ballistics, couldn’t have known if the killer gun had been found.



Strip everything out of this article except these three (new evidence) points and the result is still a humdinger!  I hadn’t realised this when I read the full article but the case for an inquiry has been strengthened hugely.

Car returned to the scene: not mentioned in any released records or public statements.

Two witness statements in Crown Office file from witnesses who claim never to have made statements

Procurator Fiscal claiming the investigation was complete before the results of the ballistics were known and, therefore, before any knew that the gun found at the scene had killed Macrae.


Confidence in the investigation, in the police, in the Crown Office should be plummeting!

Public concern should now be rocketing!


Delamore and Semple must go public with all their information.  To hold onto any so that Delamore can write a book would be unethical





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© CalumCarr 2015



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  1. What a strange saga this is.

    And yes, what nonsense editors sometimes write when summarising someone else's words with their own wish to sell copies in mind.

  2. Calum, I've been reading this blog, and I am quite intrigued. I have found the production receipts of Mr MacRae's items online. My question is this; If William MacRae intended to commit suicide, why did he have all of the items with him? Would he not have opted to travel only with the clothes he had on, the whisky, and gun. I don't think he would have taken all of these things with him, travel for 3 hrs plus, just to drive off the embankment. If he was intending to take his own life don't you think he would have waited until he was at his holiday home? It just doesn't make sense.

  3. Have a look at Part 19 in which I try to make the case for suicide.

    I IMAGINE THE EXPLANATION would be that he had no intention of suicide when he set out but, having crashed while drunk and with drink driving convictions and another case pending, he took the ultimate way out.

  4. I can accept he was drink driving, I could even accept his car left the road. What I can't accept is this. His holiday home was in Dornie, he would have been familiar with these roads. He would have known this was a quiet road. If he left Glasgow at app 18.30 hrs, you calculate another 3 hrs driving time for talking sake, that puts his car leaving the road between 21.30-22.00 that night. According to reports the two Australian tourists found him at 10.00 hrs the following morning, he would have had ample time to sleep off any effects of the alcohol, also considering that he was known to have quite a heavy drink problem, do you not think his constitution would have been much, much higher than someone who is the social drinker. If he was intoxicated whilst driving, was familiar with the road (knowing it is not a heavily traveled road), he had over ten hours to sleep off any effects of the alcohol. If, perhaps he was not thinking rationally, surely he would have had to dig out the revolver whilst drunk (the opened bottle they found was a half bottle of Grouse 35cl,1/6 full, 5.8cl remaining). He purchased two bottles the day before (where are these, did he drink them?) If he had, I think he would have been far worse for wear, before he even left Glasgow. Here are my thoughts regarding this. 1.He was known to have a drink problem. 2. He had two previous incidents of drink driving (which leads me to believe) he was a functioning alcoholic). 3. He was drink driving, crashed (most likely hit his head hard), but he would have had presence of mind to riffle through his things, get his gun, fire a fatal shot into his brain. After shattering the driver's side window with the first round of course. This whole affair doesn't add up to me, throw in the retired policeman's account of meeting Mr. MacRae the day before,and mentioning the special branch individuals.It looks to be a cover-up. Follow him to a isolated location, force him off of the road, then finish him with his own revolver.

  5. You may be right. I thinking person would have sat out the hours until morning. But we can't know his state of mind.

    Was he forced off the road? Possibly. Possibly not.

    The case doesn't add up for me either but that doesn't mean it was murder. It may have been? It may have been suicide?

    I have to keep an open mind but I still speculate.

  6. Well I crashed my car into a bridge once on the road near my home that I am most familiar with, and I was sober.

    Too much "surely" and "maybe" and so on all over the place about this case and not enough evidence. The suicide and murder scenarios are both entirely possible given the evidence I have seen. But those who favour murder seem happy to accept as fact the statements by one or two people and equally happy to ignore contradicting statements by many more people. I myself, of course, don't know either way, but contradictory evidence needs treated fairly on both sides.

  7. There's a freedom from not having a 'horse in this race'. I want to know the truth whatever that may be, that's all. I can wander wherever I want and what turns up doesn't affect me. Unfortunately, too much 'evidence'/comment is asserted as true with nothing to substantiate it.

    1. And now? (15 April) You are pausing? Hesitating? Resting? Thinking?

  8. Earlier today I put an update at the start of the post. Perhaps you didn't see it since you have already read the post. I think it answers your question.

    UPDATE @ 15 April 2015: I have been in contact with one of the SoS journalists who assured me that there is no major information being held back. I have been given clarification on a few points but I have a considerable amount of work to do before I can make good use of it. Please bear with me.

  9. Reference the briefcases that Mr McRae was seen carrying in Glasgow, and presumably placed in his vehicle, were they recovered from the scene?