Tragic Circumstance upon return


Hand opening the door

Warning: This story contains upsetting content.

A terrible tragedy unfolded in 1924 which is retold here.

Jenny Robinson was a Blantyre lady whom in December 1924 was living with her 25 year old brother Walter, in Scotstoun, Glasgow and his 4 year old daughter, Jenny’s neice.

She was staying with Walter to help out with his little girl, after Walter’s wife had died. Walter now a widower, had been a plasterer and was finding employment difficult to get, compounding his grief and financial troubles. His little daughter Jessie had just started school. Together they all lived at 1393 Dumbarton Road.

That Saturday afternoon 30th November 1924, Jenny had travelled back to Blantyre to see friends and her extended family, and planned to spend the weekend there with them. It was a perfectly normal visit, but she could never have been prepared for the sight when returning home to Scotstoun on the Monday.

As she opened her front door and entered her house, she was horrified first to find her little 4 year old niece, Jessie, lying motionless on the floor with her throat cut. Not far beside her in the kitchen, was her brother Walter with an apparent wound to his throat also. Both were dead.

Police later summarised what had happened. On the Saturday afternoon, not long after his sister had left for Blantyre, Walter Robinson had murdered his own little girl, then tried to take his own life, turning the razor upon himself but without doing serious injury. However, thereupon he had attempted to hang himself by means of the pulley rope in-the kitchen which also didn’t work and finally he had put his head inside the kitchen oven and turned on the gas.

The deceased man was a widower, and during the absence of his sister he and his daughter were alone in the house. The last time they were seen alive was early on Saturday morning, when Jenny left for Blantyre. In was the opinion of the police doctor, both the man and the child had been dead for a couple of days.

I can’t help but think, when I looked at this story 94 years later, how horrific this must have been for Jenny and what she must have felt in that house in the following days or weeks. We now know the seriousness of depression and anxiety in modern times, but in all this, the denial of little Jessie living a full life, is by far the most tragic part.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018

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