Characters, — July 27, 2009 0:12 — 0 Comments

McGladdery hangs

Robert McGladdery – of whom I was speaking –  was tried and convicted in Downpatrick Courthouse and hanged in Crumlin Road Gaol. To the end of his trial…

 … he continued to deny his guilt, at one point trying to implicate his friend. Just before he was executed, on 20 December 1961, he confessed to the murder.


Years later, while involved in a training event in Enniskillen Agricultural College, I was in a group given a tour of the local training college where all new Royal Ulster Constabulary recruits were then trained.  In the college was a "black" museum, housing a variety of artifacts from old murder investigations.  


In one of the exhibit cases were items of Robert McGladdery’s clothing, including the tie he used to strangle Pearl Gamble.  I mentioned to the guide, an elderly man, that I had known McGladdery, adding the comment that he was a well known bad lad.  


The guide told me that he had been a Prison Officer in Crumlin Road Gaol and had been assigned to guarding McGladdery in his final weeks of life.  He had talked often with McGladdery and believed that, despite the murder, McGladdery had many redeeming features.  He told me that McGladdery had had a difficult childhood and that, despite his long denial of his guilt, had genuine remorse for what he had done.

 … more later …

I have never forgotten that episode.  I had been given a different perspective and an appreciation of the complexities of the human psyche.


… more later … 

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