Friday, 25 July 2014

The Execution of Anthony Miller

19 year old Anthony Miller was part of a small number of young men executed in the UK during a very short period in the beginning of the 1960`s.  Miller was convicted of Capital Murder -  Murder in the Furtherance of Theft - at Glasgow High Court in November of 1960.  His accomplice, James Donovan, 16, was convicted of Non-Capital Murder, and due to him being under the age of 18, he was ordered to be detained for a determined period of time.  The offence was a mugging that turned to murder.

    A man named John Thomson had booked into the Parkview Hotel in Glasgow on April 6th 1960, telling staff that he intended to watch an international match at Hampden Park, home of Scottish football.  However, Mr Thomson did not return to his room after the game.  His body was found in the nearby Queens Park area.  Police discovered, through fingerprints, that the man was in fact John Cremin.  The only motive Police could find was robbery.  The murder scene was a notorious pick up and cruising area for homosexuals, meaning that nobody would ever come forward to say anything, as homosexuality was still illegal in the UK at that time.  The case went cold until a couple of months later, when a young boy aged 16 was being interviewed over crimes in the Queens Park district.  He told Police that a friend of his, 16 year old James Donovan, had said that Tony Miller had hit the man over the head with a plank of wood.  Both Donovan & Miller were arrested.  

    They were charged with murder on November 5th 1960.  They were charged with another robbery and assault on a victim back in March.  They were also alleged to have attacked two more men, with robbery the motive.  Miller had also attacked a man in 1959, along with two accomplices.  Donovan had been charged with gross indecency with a man.  The witness against them told the court how they would use public lavatories, notorious meeting places for gay men, to entice potential victims to go somewhere quiet for sex, then attack them.  Miller was the heavy.  The court heard evidence from another youth who said that Donovan had shown him money they had taken from a drunk and that Miller had struck him with a plank of wood.  

    Donovan gave evidence in his own defence in which he admitted a number of attacks on men in order to rob them.  He admitted that on a couple of occasions, violence was used.  He admitted talking to Cremin in the toilets, then left with him, and on passing Miller, a piece of wood was brought down on the head of Cremin.  They robbed him as he lay on the ground, and quickly made off.  Donovan admitted robbery but denied murder & manslaughter.  He was convicted of murder and served eight & a half years.  Miller admitted robbery but denied Capital Murder.  He was convicted and sentenced to death.  His appeal was dismissed on 7th December and so he was executed at Barlinnie Prison on December 22nd 1960.