It was the morning of July 13, 2004, and farmer John Baxter was working in a field removing hay bales when the powerful headlights of his tractor lit up something unusual under a giant grass-covered hedge.

John got off to have a closer look and was shocked to discover the decomposing body of man, head and part of his shoulder.

The farmer immediately alerted the police who discovered that the man had been stabbed around 12 times and his throat cut.

READ MORE: Police appeal over mystery murder of Martin Toner 17 years ago

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Detectives reckoned he had been murdered elsewhere and his body dumped in the field outside the village of Langbank in Renfrewshire sometime later.

The area was immediately sealed off in a bid to find any clues that would identify the killer or killers.

Police quickly discovered the identity of the victim and realised it wasn't just murder but possibly a gangland execution.

The body found by the farmer was a 34-year-old Glasgow man and father-of-two, Martin Toner.

He had been reported missing by his wife two weeks earlier and had been due to appear at the High Court in Edinburgh, for a pre-trial hearing, on major cocaine smuggling charges.

The father of two was well known to the police, but that didn't mean that the murder would be investigated any less thoroughly.

Toner, who ran a bin cleaning company, was last seen on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 around 3pm in Langbank's Main Street.

Earlier that day he had been spotted at the Key To Life gym in Ashtree Road, Pollokshaws, Glasgow, 20 miles away.

Detectives had initially assumed Martin had gone on the run because of his forthcoming trial and the possibility of a lengthy jail term if convicted. But his family were always convinced he'd been murdered.

His wife Michelle told the police he would never leave his children behind because he loved them too much.

Even before the body was formally identified, James Toner knew the victim was his young brother.

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In an interview with the Glasgow Times in 2015 he said: "When he went missing, my initial instinct was that something was wrong.

"As time went on I know that we probably would not be getting Martin back alive.

"Part of me was hoping he had run away but realistically I was expecting the worst."

Detectives believed Martin was lured to a meeting by someone he knew and trusted, before being murdered.

But because of the victim's background they soon hit a wall of silence in their bid to find the killer.

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Public appeals for information by the police and family members elicited little response, despite the prospect of a £3000 reward.

Though they remained determined to catch his executioner, detectives also feared that his links to organised crime was preventing people from coming forward to help the murder investigation.

They were also certain that some people knew more about his last movements than they were prepared to say.

At the time one senior officer said: "Mr Toner's alleged involvement in criminality has been widely reported and may be one of the reasons why there is a reluctance on the part of some people to speak to the police."

Police also refused to identify the weapon used in the Martin's murder.

However, they revealed that the attack would have left the killer covered in blood.

After one appeal for information in 2007 James suggested that his brother's death may have been pre-planned and orchestrated.

The victim's distinctive toffee and black Berghaus sports hold-all and contents, a mobile phone, a pair of navy Adidas jogging bottoms, t-shirt, light coloured towel and bottle of Lynx shower gel, were never found.

In December 2013 - more than ten years later - detectives finally had their man or so they thought.

Policeman turned property developer Douglas Fleming, 50, was charged with his murder and stood trial at the High Court in Glasgow in March 2015.

He was alleged to have killed Martin in the grounds of Gleddoch Estate, Langbank on June 29, 2004 before dumping the body in the farmers field.

Leisure manager Ross Agnew, 38, had told police that Fleming was wearing a blood soaked shirt when they met on the day Toner died.

However in his own defence Fleming described Agnew as a liar and a fantasist adding: "I had no reason to kill him.

"I had nothing to do with it whatsoever."

Fleming said he didn't learn of Martin's disappearance until several days later and only after speaking to his wife.

He added:"I had no reason to suspect he had any reason to disappear other than his forthcoming trial.

"Martin had associations with some dodgy people."


Fleming, who served as a Constable with Central Scotland Police from 1985 to 1988, had become a suspect after admitting that he gave Martin a lift to Langbank on the day he went missing.

They had had met earlier at the gym in Pollokshields at around 2.30pm.

He then dropped Mr Toner close to the railway station in Langbank and said that was the last he saw him.

At the end of the trial Fleming was cleared after the jury found the murder charge not proven.

Following their decision, James shouted to the jury: "You made a mistake, a big mistake.

"He's a murderer. He murdered him."

Mr Toner's widow Michelle sobbed as she told jurors:"You are wrong."

Fleming however turned to the jury and said: "Ladies and gentlemen, you did not make a mistake.

"You can be assured of that."

A murder charge against a second man was dropped earlier in the trial.

Fleming had been previously cleared in 2008 of conspiracy to import cocaine to Scotland from Colombia, also on a not proven verdict.

Martin Toner had been due to stand trial with Mr Fleming on the same charges.

The day he vanished was the day before their pre-trial hearing in Edinburgh.

Both men had been accused of trafficking millions of pounds' worth of the drug from Colombia through Antwerp, Belgium.

A court was told that plain-clothes officers from Scotland's Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency trailed Fleming to Antigua, in the West Indies, where he met Martin Toner.

Fleming admitted knowing Toner, but said their common interest was property and denied having anything to do with drugs.

In the same 2015 interview James said: "Martin had been in prison but he was not a bad person. He would not have done that to anybody and left them in a field like that.

"He was fit and he could look after himself. But he was not a stereotypical drug dealer who used violence as part of his work.

"Nobody deserves to die that way and nobody deserves to be found by a farmer in a field.

"A human being had his life taken away from him an in unnatural way."

To this day the motive for the murder remains unclear.

Two years earlier he had been involved in a dispute with two brothers said to control the cocaine trade in Scotland.

The murder trial heard that in 2002, one of them had allegedly gone to Toner's house and tried to shoot him but the gun jammed and then he tried to stab him.

However Martin who was a martial arts expert was able to overpower his assailant and fend him off.

To this date his murder remains unsolved.

The two brothers referred to earlier are believed to be living abroad, possibly in South America, and are wanted by the police.

It's not known why Martin went to Langbank on the day of the murder.

It has been suggested he was there to collect a large sum of money - £100,000 - he had secretly stashed away.

James has always insisted his brother was not a big time gangster, as had been suggested In the 2015 interview he added:"When I think 'gangster' I think Al Capone. Martin was not Al Capone.

"He had been with his wife since he was 15. He was a loyal, loyal person.

"He was a family man, who was dedicated to his wife and his two kids. Everything he did, he did to provide for them."