QUEEN'S Park Killer Tony Miller features in the last of our special series on Barlinnie: The men who were hanged and their crimes.

A total of 10 judicial executions by hanging took place at HMP Barlinnie between 1946 and 1960, replacing the gallows at Duke Street Prison. This was before the death penalty was abolished in the UK in 1969. All the executions took place at 8am. The public executioners during that time were Thomas Pierrepoint, Albert Pierrepoint and Harry Allen. The remains of all executed prisoners were the property of the state. They were buried in unmarked graves within the walls of the prison. During renovations at the prison in 1997, Barlinnie's gallows cell, which was built into D-hall, was finally demolished and the remains of all the executed prisoners were exhumed for reburial elsewhere. This is the story of Tony Miller who was executed by Harry Allen on December 22, 1960. His hanging was the last at Barlinnie and followed John Lyon, Patrick Carraher, John Caldwell, Paul Christopher Harris, James Robertson, James Smith, Patrick Gallagher Deveney, George Francis Shaw and Peter Manuel.


Crime Reporter

TEENAGER Tony Miller will stay in the history books forever as the last man to be hanged on the gallows of Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison.

His fate was sealed when he was convicted at Glasgow’s High Court for murdering John Cremin at Queen’s Park.

The killing on April 6, 1960 was described at the time as a robbery which went wrong.

What was even more poignant about this case was that Miller had an accomplice in 16-year-old James Denovan who avoided the death penalty because of his age.

There was even a petition to the Secretary of State of Scotland John Maclay asking him to recommend a reprieve for Miller.

The Miller family had a stall in Glasgow city centre to publicise the petition which attracted 30,000 signatures - but their appeal was turned down.

Miller was an apprentice cabinet-maker whose family lived in Dixon Road, Crosshill. He worked with Govanhill lad Denovan, who lived in Calder Street, as part of a crime tag team.

Their robbery scam involved targeting gay men in Queen's Park Recreation Ground. Denovan would act as bait to lure victims to the secluded area of the park - and Miller would then appear threatening victims with violence if they refused to hand over their valuables.

One night, however, their scam went horribly wrong when they ended up killing John Cremin.

Their indictment stated that they had assaulted John Cremin, struck him on the head with a piece of wood or other similar instrument, knocked him down, robbed him of a bank book, a watch, a knife, and £67 of money, and did murder him.

There were various other lesser charges of assaults and robberies.

The victim of the murder John Cremin, was a gay man in his fifties, who was a thief. He was found several days after the killing by a dog walker.

The murderers were eventually caught on August 11, 1960 when Denovan collapsed under pressure during a police interview. He had been on remand in connection with another case.

During an interview about this different case, he broke down and blurted out the story of how the pair had been carrying out a series of attacks on gay men in Queen's Park Recreation Ground and one of them had died.

Denovan who was found not guilty of capital murder was sent to Greenock Prison where he was detained at her majesty's pleasure.

Miller's solicitor Len Murray recounted the case in an exclusive interview with our sister title The Herald. His memories of the time were detailed in his autobiography The Pleader.

He interviewed Miller, who he described as 'a slim rather sallow youth with hair that was drilled into place with oil', at Craigie Street Police Office and spent months preparing for the trial - although the evidence was stacked up against the teenager and his accomplice.

The trial began at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday, November 14, 1960 and it took just three days before the jury delivered their verdict.

Despite the appeals, Miller was to become the last man to be hanged on the gallows of Barlinnie Prison.

The Evening Times reported on the case throughout including a story on the last meeting with his family including his dad Alf who we described as heartbroken.

Miller was originally sentenced to be hanged on December 7, 1960 but this day turned out to be his appeal at the Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh which of course was dismissed.

A new execution date was set for December 22, 1960 and on that day a young Tony Miller finished his short life at 8.02am.

The Evening Times reported: "Dawn was breaking over the bleak prison building as Miller walked the short distance from the death cell to the scaffold at 8am.

"And outside Barlinnie - although thousands had signed a petition asking the Secretary of State to spare Miller's life - only three people waited."

Those three people included two men who told reporters they were passing by and happened to be interested.

The other man Bob MacDonald, of Duke Street, said it was the first time he had ever stood outside the prison at an execution.

He described himself as opponent to capital punishment but said Miller's case was justified.

Harry Allen assisted by Robert Leslie Stewart carried out the execution and it is believed his last words on the scaffold was, 'Please Mister'.

Please Mister eventually became a play based on Miller's life and was first performed in 2010 at the city's Oran Mor.

Read the full exclusive Hanged at Barlinnie series: