On Tuesday 21st August 1923, the Blantyre police completed their investigation in connection with a drowning the previous week, in a tributary of the Clyde.
Mrs. O’Brien, the wife of a miner who lived at Watson Street had disappeared from home on the Friday night. Police were of the opinion that there was no foul play, and that the woman fell into the water.
On the other hand, the husband, Mr O’Brien did not believe police and stated there were marks of violence on the body. He said no one would convince him that it was anything else but foul play.
Patrick O’Brien, the husband, stated that on the Friday evening his wife left the house as normal to go shopping. It was pay night, and she received £9 in wages from him and the family. She didn’t return and alarm was raised all though the weekend.
On the Monday morning it was decided to drag the River Calder, and the woman’s purse was found. A search of the bank showed about twenty shillings in silver scattered about, with an empty basket, a comb, and hairpins.
Witnesses had come forward with strange stories. One miner stated that about ten o’clock on Friday night he saw a woman with her hair down her face, below a railway bridge, and a man in brown clothes beside her. Another pedestrian stated that, he saw the woman there in the compahy of two men, one of whom was adopting a menacing attitude towards her. When he approached and asked why they were ill-treating her one of the men said she was his wife and the pedestrian did not interfere further.
Patrick refused to believe it was an accident and took the death of his wife, hard. One evening a fortnight later, whilst under the influence of drink, he caused a breach of the peace at Blantyre Police Station demanding the return of his wife’s clothing so he could look for further clues.
The official conclusion to the investigation assumed that Mrs O Brien had fallen into the water.
Pictured in 2016, in a photo by Jim Brown is the River Calder.