IT IS one of the saddest stories in Glasgow’s history and prompted one of the country’s biggest ever police investigations.

However. the murder of little Betty Alexander remains unsolved.

It is 65 years ago this week that her parents called for the investigation to be re-opened, after ‘new evidence’ came to light.

Glasgow Times:

However, despite launching Scotland’s biggest ever finger-printing exercise and most intensive manhunt, all leads went cold.

Betty was just four-and-a-half years old when she went out to play on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon in October 1952.

She left her home in Buccleuch Street in Garnethill, dressed in a brown coat and kilt – but never returned home.

Three days later a cleaner entering a little-used yard at the back of the nearby children’s dispensary in Buccleuch Lane, less than 200 yards from Betty’s home, found her body on a short run of steps.

Police said she had suffered a serious assault and had died of shock.

It threw the city into outrage and grief.

The Glasgow Times’ sister newspaper The Herald reported many years later: “Crowds gathered in the rain at the lane end, standing 10-deep well into the night as police officers photographed, dusted, and finger-searched the crime scene.

“They stood outside the police station when rumours circulated about a possible arrest, and they lined the streets in their thousands for her funeral cortege, a sea of bare heads and headscarves and the small upturned faces of curious children.”

It added: “Convinced the killer was a local man, that Betty might have known him, and with a half fingerprint taken from the yard where she was found, the police launched Scotland’s largest ever fingerprinting exercise, bringing in every adult male in Garnethill for testing, more than 1000 in all.”

Unfortunately, none of the prints matched and the investigation stalled.

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In 1955, Betty’s parents Barbara and Jack Alexander said they wanted police to re-open the case.

At the time of their daughter’s murder, they said they thought they had seen a man with a young girl over his shoulder get into a brown van or ambulance in Buccleuch Lane on the day she disappeared, but the vehicle was never traced.

Three years after the killing the parents told the Evening Times they had seen a similar van back in the area and had told the police.

“We won’t rest until whoever murdered our little girl is caught,’’ said Jack Alexander.

Glasgow Times:

The late, great community activist Betty Brown, who won the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year award in 1995, knew the Alexanders well.

She recalled, years later: “‘The whole place was shattered about wee Betty.

“Murder was not commonplace then. My mother’s friend was very friendly with the Alexanders because they worked beside them in the Regal Picture House.

“My mum was shattered. Everyone was. It was a terrible mystery that this child went missing then her body appeared in the yard.

“Everyone was fingerprinted then and the amount of publicity was huge but they never got anyone for that murder.”

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In 2012, the Evening Times reported that police files relating to Betty’s murder were being assessed by Scotland’s new Cold Case squad.