Case against Charles Boyle, Glasgow (1924)

Charles Boyle was charged with the murder of his mother and the two young children of a neighbour on 31st May, 1924. Boyle pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, and was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years penal servitude.


2nd July 1924: Medical Theory in Glasgow Murder Case

The theory that he was suffering from an attack of psychic epilepsy on the night which it is alleged he murdered his mother and two children of a neighbour was advanced in the High Court of Justiciary, Glasgow.
To Get The Rope : Police evidence was also given at the trial. The accused was cautioned and charged, he then said 'I done it. I did it purposely to get myself the rope. I had not the courage to do myself in and I wanted somebody to do it for me'.
Professor Glaister examined the mental condition of Boyle, and concluded that 'Anything abnormal in him or his conduct on that day [of the murders] was due to alcohol.'
Furious Attacks: Glaister said he believed that there must have been a struggle between the woman and her assailant, and that her hands were cut in defending herself. He was unable to suggest any motive. Probably a quarrel had taken place in the house.

 3rd July 1924: Only Partly Responsible for His Acts

At the resumption of in the High Court of Justiciary, Glasgow yesterday, the counsel for the accused, intimated that in view of the evidence given on the previous day he was prepared to tender a plea of guilty to culpable homicide. As by Lord Ormidale if he pleaded guilty in those terms, Boyle replied in a low voice, 'Yes, I plead guilty'. The plea was accepted, and after the jury had formally returned a verdict in its terms, the Judge passed sentence of 15 years' penal servitude. Boyle, who throughout the trial sat in the dock stolidly and with appearance of interest in the proceedings his head bent forward and his left leg, which is amputated above the ankle, thrown over his right, stood up with the support of his crutch when the Judge called out his name and gazed steadfastly in front of him while sentence was being passed. Then he turned, and without showing trace of any emotion went down the stair to the cells below.

Associated material

  • National Records of Scotland: Ref. AD15/24/56: Precognition against Charles Boyle for the crime of murder and previous conviction of assault, 1924 Ref. JC26/1924/11: Trial papers relating to Charles Boyle for the crime of murder and previous conviction of assault, tried at High Court, Glasgow, 30th June, 1924