New twist in search for Moira Anderson, missing since 1957

Police exhume grave in Scotland hoping to find remains of schoolgirl who disappeared aged 11

LAST UPDATED AT 15:56 ON Tue 8 Jan 2013

EDITOR’S UPDATE on 10 January: Since this article was posted, police have announced that their search has revealed the grave does not contain the remains of Moira Anderson.

POLICE are digging up a family grave in North Lanarkshire hoping to find the body of Moira Anderson, a schoolgirl who disappeared while running an errand in 1957.

Anderson was 11 when she vanished in a snow storm on a trip to the shops in the Scottish town of Coatbridge. There have long been suspicions that Alexander Gartshore, the man driving the bus Anderson took to the shops that day, was involved in her disappearance, says the BBC.

Gartshore was jailed for rape shortly after Anderson's disappearance, but did not figure in the original police inquiry. The case "remained cold" until 1999, when child abuser James Gallogley, dying in prison, named his former friend Gartshore as the murderer.

In 2008, two years after Gartshore's death, his daughter, Sandra Brown, published a book called Where There is Evil, outlining her belief that her father had killed Anderson. Four years later, Scotland's Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland told police to re-open the investigation as a murder inquiry.

It was Sandra Brown, now 63, who first suggested Anderson may have been killed and buried in Coatbridge's Old Monkland Cemetery, in a family plot belonging to a friend of Gartshore's called Sinclair Upton. That plot is being dug up and will be examined by forensic experts from the University of Dundee, police said.

It is understood the burial plot has "three layers" and up to eight bodies may be interred in it, the Daily Mail says. Police want to know if Anderson – who would be 67 had she lived – is one of them.

Brown became convinced her father was Anderson's killer after a "chilling" conversation she had with him in 1992. She says Gartshore told her that his own father "blamed him for Moira" and that the girl had haunted him all his life. · 

Disqus - noscript

Colin Fry T J Higgs & Tony Stockwell worked on this case as the Three Phycic Detectives.It was down to them that they discovered the possibility that Moira may be in that grave.If this is the case well done to them and to Sandra for calling them in.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.