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Oscar Slater was tried at Edinburgh in 1909 for the murder of Miss Marion Gilchrist, an old lady, in her flat in Glasgow. The case for the Crown was based on evidence of identity alone, and it had many weak links. In what other murder case, for instance, has the supposed right man been arrested on what was an admittedly wrong clue?
Nevertheless, Slater was convicted, the jury voting as follows : for Guilty, nine; for Not Proven, five; and for Not Guilty, one. Slater was sentenced to death, but he was afterwards reprieved and sent to Peterhead. An official enquiry was held into the case in 1914, but it increased rather than diminished the mystery.
In 1927 Slater was liberated from Peterhead having served nineteen years in prison; and shortly afterwards this long legal tragedy was brought to a close when the case was taken to the Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal and the conviction quashed.