Circumstances of Unexplained Savagery: The Gilchrist Murder Case and its Legacy, 1908-1927

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


When the well-known Scottish lawyer and amateur criminologist William Roughead (1870–1952) was describing the murder of an elderly woman in her own home in Glasgow in the winter of 1908, he said the crime was conducted ‘in circumstances of unexplained savagery’. Although Roughead was referring to the vicious methodology deployed by the perpetrator in this particular assault, the phrase he used described not only the homicidal episode that took place, but also the deplorable treatment of the individual accused of her murder and the scandalous persecution of the leading detective investigating the case. Indeed, the murder of Marion Gilchrist on the 21st of December 1908 fits seamlessly into this volume as it effectively ignited not one, but arguably three ‘miscarriages’ of justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles, 1800-1940: Microhistories of Justice and Injustice
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-3500-5097-6, 978-1-3500-5095-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-3500-5094-5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Circumstances of Unexplained Savagery: The Gilchrist Murder Case and its Legacy, 1908-1927'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this