Patrick Meehan Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence; Legal and other documents; Press cuttings; Books; Photographs

Administrative / Biographical History

In the early hours of 6 July 1969, Abraham and Rachel Ross were attacked and robbed in their home in Ayr, and Mrs Ross subsequently died of her injuries. Patrick ('Paddy') Meehan, a safe blower with no record of violent crime, was later accused along with James Griffiths, who was killed while resisting arrest. Meehan was convicted by a majority verdict of the jury, and served several years in prison for a crime he protested he had not committed. The Meehan family approached Ludovic Kennedy, journalist and broadcaster, who took up the case in 1971 and became convinced during his investigation that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. Kennedy and others campaigned for Meehan's release. Several appeals to the Secretary of State for Scotland were unsuccessful. The crime was widely believed to have been carried out by Ian Waddell and another, unnamed man, but Waddell's trial did not end in a conviction. The death of another Glasgow criminal, William 'Tank' McGuinness in 1976 and the subsequent release of his confession to the crime allowed Meehan to be pardoned and released from prison. Public pressure secured an Inquiry chaired by Lord Hunter, which reported in 1982. The report was widely criticised as a whitewash. Ludovic Kennedy's papers documenting his investigation of the case form the major part of this collection (Acc 684). They comprise around 2000 documents, correspondence and press cuttings from 1969-1977, and were gifted to the University of Strathclyde in 1986. Additional material includes the books written about the case by Ludovic Kennedy, A presumption of innocence (1976), Patrick Meehan, Framed by M I 5 (1989), and Joseph Beltrami (who had been Meehan's solicitor), A deadly innocence (1989). David Loudon, a policeman at the time of the trial, wrote a letter to the University in 1987, contesting a point in Kennedy's book (Acc 685), and Lord Hunter presented an autographed copy of his report (Acc 686).

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Other Finding Aids

Typed list to item level in process of recataloguing.

Archivist's Note

Archivist's note: Description prepared by Margaret Harrison, Web version by Graham S. Holton, Jordanhill LibraryRules or Conventions: Description based on Scottish Archive Network guidelines, based on ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000). and Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997)Date of descriptions: November 2007.

Geographical Names