Patrick Meehan

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Person.png Patrick Meehan  Rdf-icon.png
Born 1927-04-12
Died 1994-08-14 (Age 67)

Patrick (Paddy) Connolly Meehan (1928–1994) was a man who was the victim of a controversial miscarriage of justice in the UK. Although he died a natural death himself, an astonishing number of people involved in the case died violent deaths, in clashes between former associates among Glasgow criminals.

Meehan came from Glasgow and was a "peter man", a safe blower with convictions for bank robbery.

In 1969 Mrs. Rachael Ross was murdered during the robbery of a post office in Ayr by two men. Her husband survived the robbery, and he reported that the robbers had addressed each other as Pat and Jim. Police suspected two known criminals, Meehan and James Griffiths. Griffiths panicked when the police tried to arrest him, and he went on a gun-toting rampage across Glasgow. He was shot dead by police, but only after he shot and injured several passers-by, one of whom later died. Meehan was arrested more peacefully and charged with the murder of Mrs. Ross. His solicitor was Joseph Beltrami, and his advocates were Nicholas Fairbairn and John Smith, who both became senior politicians. At his trial he submitted a defence of incrimination, claiming that the murder was committed by another man, Ian Waddell. He was found guilty.

However his conviction proved controversial, there was a campaign for his release which included Fairbairn and Ludovic Kennedy. One factor which cast doubt on his conviction was that after the trial Waddell made a number of statements to journalists that he had committed the murder. Meehan spent several years in prison, but was eventually released and given a royal pardon.

Waddell was then charged with the murder, at his trial he submitted a defence of incrimination, claiming that the murder was committed by Meehan. This trial, particularly the judge's summing-up, raised important questions about the legal meaning of a royal pardon, and Waddell was acquitted. Waddell was himself later murdered by an associate shortly after a robbery where they had both murdered a woman; this person was convicted of both murders and later committed suicide in prison.

In view of information which has come to light since then, it is now generally accepted that the murder of Mrs. Ross was committed by Waddell and William "Tank" McGuiness, another man who was also murdered in 1976, apparently in a drunken street brawl. One crucial aspect of the case was that Beltrami knew that McGuiness had committed the murder of Mrs. Ross since he had told him under client confidentiality, but he was unable to reveal this, he was only able to do so after McGuiness was dead. (The last person to be seen with McGuiness while alive was charged with his murder, but the case against him collapsed because of insufficient evidence, this person was also later murdered.)

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References

Ludovic Kennedy Presumption of Innocence
Thomas Jeffreys Glasgow's Hard Men