Fresh evidence injected into 60-year-old Scots murder mystery


By Oliver Farrimond

A MYSTERY murder that has been unsolved for more than 60 years is to be re-opened after a retired Scots detective named the suspected killer.

Mary “Molly” Terris was brutally murdered at Roughcastle mine in Tamfourhill, Falkirk, in 1949 and now cops are chasing a new lead after fresh evidence from a former Detective Inspector.

The ex-CID officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has named dangerous career criminal Charles Tallis as the man responsible for the 31-year-old wage clerk’s death.

He believes that Tallis’ murder confession to fellow Peterhead prison inmate Peter Manuel just months after Molly’s death led the two to embark on a brutal crime spree culminating in the murder of the Watt family in 1956.

He said: “Despite an extensive police inquiry at the time of Molly Terris’ murder, no strong suspects were identified, no direct positive lines of inquiry were raised and the trail went cold.

“Papers relating to the inquiry were placed in storage where they remained untouched until now.

“After seven months of investigative work I believe I have uncovered several compelling circumstantial factors linking Tallis to the murder.

“Charles Tallis died in 1977 aged 65 but hopefully, in light of my report, a member of the public reading this will remember some information or a pub conversation they had with him that would assist the police in this case.”

One of the main pointers to Tallis is the fact that he used to work in a mine before his criminal career began, and would have been able to use this knowledge to gain access and break into the office safe after murdering Terris.

Molly Terris was murdered on Friday October 14 in 1949 during her lunch break at Roughcastle Brickworks after making up workers’ pay packets that morning.

She was found on the floor of the office by mine director James Howie, and was taken to Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary where she succumbed to her injuries.

However despite an extensive investigation and the discovery of an iron bar, suspected to be the murder weapon, in a field a few days later, the killer was never traced.

Officers from Central Scotland police confirmed that they had read their former colleague’s report and that they had met with him last week.

A Central Scotland Police spokeswoman said: “We would be interested in any information that resulted in the person or persons responsible for the death of Molly Terris in 1949 being traced.

“We are considering information which has been collated by a former officer of Central Scotland Police.”