Serial killers’ corpses to be dug up and reburied as notorious jail set to close

Corpses of executed murderers are to be dug up as a notorious Glasgow prison closes for good.

The "Beast of Birkenshaw" serial killer Peter Manuel is among the 10 people put to death at the Barlinnie jail between 1946 and 1960.

Their remains are to be exhumed for reburial as the Scottish Prison Service plans to dispose of the site.

It will have to move the bodies from their unmarked graves at the 138-year-old jail in Riddrie before it is replaced with a new one nearby in 2023.

The SPS will have to apply to the Sheriff Court for permission to exhume any remains left in the grounds, the Daily Record understands.

A prison source said: “The SPS will sell the site the current prison sits on but before they can do that any bodies left in the burial ground will have to be dug up and moved elsewhere.

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“It’s likely they will be cremated and their ashes scattered. It will be done considerately and efforts will be made to trace families in the event they wish to take charge of the disposal.”

The last execution at Bar-L was in December 1960, when Anthony Miller was hanged for killing a man during a robbery gone wrong.

The 19-year-old turned to state ­executioner Harry Allen and said: “Please Mister” as he stood on the scaffold.

Manuel, the second last person to be hanged at Barlinnie, was executed in 1958 after he was convicted of murdering seven people in Lanarkshire and the south of Scotland.

The 31-year-old, known as the Beast of Birkenshaw, reportedly turned to hangman Allen and said: “Turn up the radio and I’ll go quietly.”

Barlinnie has been criticised by ­inspectors for its overcrowding, with about 1500 inmates in a prison designed for 1000.

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Planning permission in principle has been granted by Glasgow City Council for the new prison, south of Royston Road near Provan Gas Works, and work is expected to begin in the next few months. It will be designed to hold 1200 inmates.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “The Scottish Prison Service will have to look at the plans for the future of the site.

“We are aware there are graves within the grounds of the prison, and we will ensure the appropriate consideration is given to the removal of the remains as part of the decommissioning of the site.”

In 2014, prison bosses applied for permission to exhume the remains of the last man hanged in Scotland before they shut Craiginches jail in Aberdeen.

Henry John Burnett went to the gallows for murder in 1963 and was buried in the prison grounds.

His remains were exhumed in August 2014 and taken for a private ceremony to Aberdeen Crematorium.

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