Robert (Bobby) McGladdery was on a pub crawl with his friend William Copeland that fateful evening of Pearl Gamble’s death.
In fact they had spent most of the day together drinking, after first meeting in Hollywood‘s Bar in Hill Street.
They separated temporarily but met again in Hollywood‘s in the early evening. Then they moved to Magee’s in Merchants’ Quay. They moved again to the Royal British Legion Hall at the corner of Monaghan and Catherine Streets. They were much the worse for wear when they finally arrived at the Orange Hall, about an hour after Pearl Gamble’s entrance.
Towards the end of the evening Pearl and McGladdery danced together at least twice but it was obvious to others that Pearl was a reluctant participant. One witness at McGladdery’s subsequent trial stated that he ‘was trying to hold Pearl tightly towards him, his head bent down towards her face, but Pearl kept turning away from him’.
McGladdery was dressed in a light blue suit. He approached the band and requested that they play Elvis’s current release, ‘It’s Now or Never’.
It was suggested by the prosecution that this was significant. It was testified that he stood at the door, ‘wringing his hands’. He left the hall shortly afterwards, not waiting for the dance to finish.
In his absence, Pearl finished the night in the company of another boy. She bade goodnight to him outside and joined two girl-friends who had negotiated a lift home.
Pearl was dropped at the Upper Damolly Road cross-roads, very close to her home.
It was the last time she was seen alive, by any one but her killer.
Copeland, it emerged from evidence and on the trial’s completion, was entirely innocent of any involvement in this heinous crime.
….. more on Gamble murder to follow here …..