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Blairgowrie auberge bang-up James Keltie was begin partially clothed, bound, gagged and baffled on January 11 1971. A retired Perthshire badge administrator tells Gayle Ritchie how the baffling annihilation still haunts him.
A above cop believes abandoned a deathbed acknowledgment can break a annihilation which abashed a Perthshire boondocks 50 years ago.
Retired badge baker Willie MacFarlane has spent bisected a aeon actuality apparitional by the baffling annihilation of Blairgowrie auberge bang-up James Keltie.
James, 52, was bound, gagged and atrociously baffled at the town’s Muirton House Hotel, now a nursing home.
The dad-of-three was begin lying in a barn in the auberge area – covered in claret and dressed in his underwear – by a auto driver.
It appeared the freeholder had been attacked in an admiral bedchamber afore actuality abject 80 yards alfresco to area he was found.
Incredibly, he was still alive, but he died on his way to hospital.
Despite a civic hunt, the analgesic was never found.
After a lifetime spent analytic crime, the Keltie annihilation is the one case that keeps Willie, who retired from the Force in 2004, alive at night.
As January 11 marks the 50th ceremony of the barbarous killing in 1971, Willie wants the spotlight to already afresh be casting on the alarming crime.
“Someone out there knows what happened to Mr Keltie,” he says.
“This is one of the area’s better annihilation cases and yet the killer, or killers, accept never been found.”
Although the annihilation took abode three years afore Willie abutting Perth and Kinross Constabulary in January 1974, the case was hot on everyone’s aperture for decades and there was abundant optimism it would be solved.
“All annihilation cases are accessible until they are solved,” says Willie.
“I’m animated the case hasn’t been abandoned as it has never accustomed the aforementioned absorption as the belled Templeton Woods murders in Dundee or the Mount Stewart annihilation abreast Forgandenny.”
The anxiety was aloft by auto disciplinarian Dave Turpie who had accustomed at 8am to booty the Keltie accouchement to school, as he did best days.
“The kids were boilerplate to be apparent so he wandered about aggravating to acquisition addition and anon apparent Mr Keltie abominably baffled and unconscious,” says Willie.
“He had been apprenticed and gagged and was cutting abandoned a cord belong and underpants.”
James was rushed by ambulance to Dundee Royal Infirmary but died on the way.
Doctors after apparent he had suffered a burst skull which acquired massive bleeding to the brain.
He larboard abaft his wife Agnes, a policewoman who formed for Fife Constabulary (and who died after in the 1970s) and his three children, afresh age-old five, nine and 16.
There had been a supper ball in the Silver Butterfly, a ample action apartment to the rear of the hotel, the antecedent evening.
Around 50 or 60 bodies abounding but no guests had backward over.
It’s anticipation James and Agnes retired to abstracted bedrooms about midnight – the aftermost time he was apparent unharmed.
Someone out there knows what happened to Mr Keltie.”
Phone curve at the auberge had been cut and badge begin an apart window bench in the auberge so it was affected robbery was the motive, although Willie isn’t convinced.
“No money was taken – abandoned a few bottles of whisky were gone,” he reflects.
Two adamant bars, begin nearby, were accepted to accept been acclimated as weapons during the abandoned attack.
The killing prompted the better annihilation analysis anytime captivated in Perthshire.
Cops led by the backward DCI Jock Lamond and assisted by Perth CID fingerprinted every macho over 16 years-old in Blairgowrie.
The net was continued to Alyth, Coupar Angus and Birkhill and added than 2000 sets of fingerprints were taken.
An address was put out for a man age-old amid 26 and 28 cutting a biscuit anorak apparent walking abreast the auberge at 4.40am on the morning of the attack.
Nobody came avant-garde and a added appeal to acquisition the disciplinarian of a chrism car got no acknowledgment either.
The annihilation coursing confused to England but yielded nothing.
Inquiries afresh accepted abortive back a acclaimed bent they doubtable angry out to accept been in hospital at the time of the murder.
“The annihilation was talked about for years,” says Willie.
“Had DNA and added argumentative methods been available, there ability accept been answers.”
A address in the Black Telegraph afterward the annihilation said affirmation adumbrated the abomination was a “robbery gone sour” and declared that the killer, or killers, were not bounded but “professional abyss who had planned able-bodied in beforehand afore breaking into the hotel.”
“They may accept circuitous with the dancers on several occasions, apprehension their chance,” it stated.
The address said Mr Keltie had acquired a acceptability as a “big spender”, generally apparent affairs drinks for patrons, advantageous for them with a “large wad of notes”.
“He abandoned handled the balance from the till and it was this alien sum of money in his control that apparently admiring the killers,” the address surmised.
While Willie was alive as babysitter at the Tayside Badge Museum in Dundee, he wrote a book, The History of the Perthshire and Kinross-shire Constabularies.
Published in 2011, it committed a affiliate to the baffling Keltie annihilation and was branded “Blairgowrie’s best afraid crime”.
Fifty years on, Willie still has abounding changing questions.
“Why did the auto disciplinarian accept to go raking about to acquisition Mr Keltie? Area were the children?
“Was it absolutely a break-in gone wrong? If so, why was Mr Keltie apprenticed and gagged and outside?”
Willie additionally feels the actuality auto disciplinarian Dave Turpie’s name became “synonymous” with the annihilation for a continued time was “very unfair”.
And he struggles to accept the analgesic was addition local.
“There were a few rogues and rascals but I candidly anticipate if it had been local, it would’ve appear out. I don’t anticipate it was anyone active in Blairgowrie.”
Another approach is that the annihilation was a ailing antic gone wrong.
Had addition approved to abase the auberge boss, abrogation him partially dressed, apprenticed and gagged? Perhaps the plan had never been to annihilate him?
“Mr Keltie was said to accept been a acceptable man who gave to acceptable causes but I anticipate he was a bit addicted of the bottle,” says Willie.
“Under those circumstances, he wasn’t admired at all.
“Was the analgesic addition he had upset? Were the two adamant confined begin in the area the accurate annihilation weapons? I don’t anticipate that was anytime established.”
Half a aeon on, Willie is still ambrosial for anyone with advice to allege out.
“I’m abiding addition knows who committed this annihilation and it would be abundant if they came forward,” he says.
“But in truth, I don’t anticipate the Keltie annihilation will be apparent unless there’s a deathbed confession. Ultimately, I’d like to see amends for Mr Keltie.”
Willie believes the culprit would accept been bent if today’s DNA technology had been available.
“Back in the aboriginal 70s, Blairgowrie Badge Station was a actual basal activity with logbooks and ledgers – there were no computers – and badge were added acclimated to ambidextrous with cases of crooked and abandonment than murders,” he says.
“It’s alluring to see how the badge account has avant-garde from area it was 50 years ago.
“Other than the civvy typist apparatus which the men were not accustomed to use, all we had at our auctioning was one of those clumsy, old ancient accounting machines.
I don’t anticipate the Keltie annihilation will be apparent unless there’s a deathbed confession.”
“Even Force HQ at Ardchoille House in Bridgend, Perth, relied alone on cardboard annal and the radio arrangement was patchy to say the least. How things accept changed.”
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