AN intriguing tale of murder, mystery and suspense which shocked the Little Red Town in 1890 was retold at the Newton Hotel in Kirriemuir last Friday.
Local historian David Orr and mine host Bob Newton took part in a radio interview as part of a recording for a new BBC Radio Scotland’s “Past Lives” series. The tale involves a court case where in 1890 local landlord, John Webster was accused of poisoning his wife but walked free. His trial had to be postponed because one of the key witnesses, James Peacock (the hotel barman), failed to turn up. He was later found dead in the town - drowned in the factory cooling ponds. The locals became suspicious, the insurance company smelled a rat, 61 witnesses were called for the trial but the jury retired for eight minutes and found him NOT guilty. Soon after, John left the country!
David said: “But what happened to Webster after the court case? If you like me, assumed he’d gone to Australia you’ll need to listen to the programme to hear Bob tell the story of how a Canadian turned up at the hotel last year and got us interested in the next part of the story.” The programme will broadcast later this year.