In today’s episode of our true crime podcast, we delve into the arrest and trial of a Scottish killer who murdered two innocent men.  Listen to Glasgow Crime Stories on all streaming platforms or read the full story below. 

In the annals of Glasgow's criminal history, John McGeechan is one of a rare breed - men who have killed twice. 

In both cases, two innocent, unsuspecting, law-abiding victims lost their lives after being brutally stabbed to death. 

To add insult to injury the second murder was committed only a few months after McGeechan had completed a ten-year prison term, imposed by a judge for an earlier killing. 

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John McGeechan first struck one winter morning in February 1996 in Skerryvore Road, Cranhill, Glasgow. 

Glasgow Times: Glasgow crime story

The snow lay thick, and children were out playing. 

Martin Siegerson, 24, had decided to go to his mother Patricia's house for breakfast. 

On the way, he came across some of his pals and their kids playing snowballs in the street. 

McGeechan had two dogs and they were barking at the children from the veranda of his council flat. 

Martin, more in jest than anything, playfully lobbed a couple of snowballs to hopefully keep them quiet. 

It was just a bit of fun, or so he thought. 

However, McGeechan, who was known in Cranhill as a man to avoid, didn't see it that way.  

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Though the dogs weren't even hit, McGeechan ran from his first floor flat and plunged a twelve-inch carving knife into Martin's heart.  

As the 24-year-old lay dying in the snow near the local community centre, the killer ran back into the flat leaving his victim fighting for life in the snow. 

A local woman comforted Martin until the ambulance arrived. 

The fact that the emergency vehicle did not have its siren sounding when it left told its own sad story.  

Martin was dead and the crew had been unable to save him because of the extent of his injuries. 

Police were quickly on the scene and arrested McGeechan in his home. 

McGeechan, then 36, was charged with murder, but when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow later that year, he admitted the reduced charge of culpable homicide and was sentenced to 10 years. 

Grieving mum Patricia Siegerson, then 58, speaking after the verdict was shocked by the verdict and sentence. 

She added: "My son's life was worth more than a miserly 10 years.  

"He was my baby, and he was special."  

While a friend of the victim, Tam Martin said at the time: "He was a fine lad who'd never hurt anyone."  

There were few people prepared to speak out in support of loner McGeechan or explain his violent actions. 

One pal, who asked not to be named, commented: "John was shy, but always polite. I never thought he would do something like this."  

In his 2012 memoir Crimestopper, retired Detective Inspector Bryan McLaughlin, who arrested McGeechan said it was the most senseless killing he had ever investigated. 

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The veteran former Glasgow police officer said: "I was head of CID at Easterhouse, so I raced to the scene with a colleague to find out what had happened and who was responsible. 

"In these days we had no stab vest to protect us from the potentially crazed knifemen 

"After speaking to witnesses at the scene it became obvious that we had to speak to John McGeechan. 

"We climbed the stairs to his flat and knocked several times on the door. 

"There was no answer." 

The retired detective said that he and his colleague who entered the flat did not have the kind of armed back up officers would enjoy now when arresting such a murder suspect 

He added: "We cautiously entered the house and found our man in the kitchen. 

"At the sink he appeared to be doing the dishes. 

"Strange behaviour for someone who had just killed, I reckoned. 

"But I then spotted one of the kitchen knives he had just been cleaning. 

"A large knife. 

"It looked like he had been doing his best to cover up the crime." 

By this time, the police had sealed off the area and were doing door to door inquiries looking for witnesses. 

Bryan added: "Our man was in a highly agitated state as we led him into the living room. 

"We were content that he did not have any other weapons on him. 

"By this time in my career I had become almost anesthetised to bloody murder, even a bizarre killing like this. 

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"So, we went through the normal procedure of arresting McGeechan and taking him to the station. 

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"I recall he was calm and compliant by then apparently accepting of what had happened 

"The idea of someone taunting him and his dogs, however playfully, had obviously driven him to the edge." 

Brian soon discovered that Martin was the youngest of five children and well liked and known locally. 

He added: "As we investigated the community fought to come to terms with its loss, baffled that anyone should die in such a senseless way. 

"His mum and his sisters described him as a lovely lad who helped look after his nieces each day and take them to nursery and school. 

"In retrospect, we were stupid to have rushed to such a dangerous scene without any armed backup and put ourselves in harm's way. 

"But that was how it was done in the days. 

"We were somewhat lucky to get away without being injured. 

"That wouldn't happen in the modern police service. 

After his conviction McGeechan was dubbed in the media as the "Snowball Killer." 

For almost ten years he disappeared off the radar as he served his prison term 

However, it wouldn't be long before he was back in the news, when he struck again for a second time. 

The knifeman was paroled after six years but recalled to prison several times because of offences committed while on the outside. 

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By the time of his eventual release in 2006 he had served nine years and one month of his ten-year stretch 

It wasn't safe for him to move back to Cranhill where his first victim Martin had been popular and well loved. 

More than 300 people had attended his funeral. 

McGeechan by comparison was considered a recluse who lived with his mother and was rarely seen outside his council flat except when walking his dogs. 

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Ironically both men had known each other and played football together but McGeechan had shown him no mercy. 

After his release from prison McGeechan then moved to Maybole, in Ayrshire, in 2006 where Ahmjid Ismail, 34, and his family ran a grocer's shop known locally as Johnny's. 

The respected family had been in the village for 20 years and were pillars of the local community. 

By that time, he was a heroin addict having been introduced to the drug in prison. 

That meant he also needed money to feed what was becoming an expensive habit. 

McGeechan decided that the local shop in Kirklands Street where he lived would be an ideal place to rob for some quick money. 

Ironically, his victim had been helping out in the shop while his family attended the passing-out parade of his brother Amjam in East Kilbride, a trainee officer with Strathclyde Police. 

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That meant that he was on his own. 

During the botched robbery on November 8, 2006, McGeechan stabbed Ahmjid eight times. 

He then fled the shop shortly before 6pm with his victim's mobile phone which he had grabbed when the shopkeeper tried to call police for help. 

However, Ahmjid had dialed the wrong number. 

Instead, he phoned a local resident, and their answering machine recorded his terrified cries, which were later played to a horrified jury. 

During the robbery McGeechan stabbed Ahmjid in the face, neck and body, severing the jugular vein. 

After fleeing from the shop, he dumped his bloodstained jacket and the knife in nearby bushes. 

His victim was found by a customer bleeding to death at the till and doctors at Ayr Hospital were unable to save him. 

The shop's CCTV camera also filmed the murderous attack and clearly showed McGeechan's distinctive designer jacket.  

Everyone was shocked to hear of the death of Ahmjid Ismail, who had learning difficulties. 

Flowers were laid near the shop, prayers were said in local churches, and the family received flowers and many cards as the community rallied round them. 

A book of condolence was opened to allow townspeople to record their sympathy.  

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At the time local minister Rev Dave Whiteman said, “Maybole is very tight knit, and the community is devastated by these terrible events.  

"The Ismail's are much loved and well respected in the town, and everyone is sharing the family’s pain and loss.  

"Ahmjid was a popular and well-known figure and all our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.” 

At the High Court in Edinburgh in May, 2008, judge Lady Clark jailed 47-year-old McGeechan for life and imposed a minimum 20-year sentence before he could be considered for parole. 

The drug addict claimed he had an alibi, but a jury had found him unanimously guilty. 

Defence advocate Barry Smith said McGeechan had never touched hard drugs before he was sent to prison but then became addicted to heroin. 

At the time of the murder, he was using four £10 bags of heroin a day and was desperate for cash. 

Before sentencing, the trial judge Lady Clarke branded McGeechan "wicked" and said he posed a high risk of danger to the public. 

She added: "You showed no mercy and used a knife repeatedly against a defenceless victim at his work. 

"Despite his terrible injuries, he tried to summon help but you stole the phone, taking away his only means of getting assistance." 

Speaking after the guilty verdict local prosecutor, James Kelman said: "This was an unprovoked, vicious attack where the accused took the life of an innocent young man. 

"The investigation was a complex one but, as with all cases of this nature, we as prosecutors were absolutely committed to gathering all available evidence in order to bring this case to a jury. 

"We are in no doubt about the devastating effect which a crime of this nature can have on the family of the victim, and of the further trauma which a trial can cause. 

"Our thoughts today remain very much with Ahmjid's family."   

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After McGeechan's second conviction questions were asked as to why the first murder charge had been dropped.  

The public also wondered why he had been released so soon and why he hadn't been better supervised while back in the community. 

Another brother, Amir, was at the High Court in Edinburgh to see McGeechan sentenced. 

Afterwards, he said: "Words cannot even begin to describe how difficult the last 18 months have been for the family.   

"The shock, distress and pain of suddenly losing a member of your family in the most difficult of circumstances is very difficult to comprehend.   

"There is no doubt in my mind that the individual responsible for this crime is an evil, cold and pathetic coward who clearly has no respect or dignity towards other members of the public.    

"No one can understand just how heart-breaking and soul destroying it is to come home and find your parents in tears, night after night, week after month, in the knowledge that there is nothing you can do to assist.  

"There are no circumstances whatsoever in my mind that may justify an individual convicted of taking the life of another person even being considered for early release or placement within an open prison. 

"The time has surely now come for our Members of Parliament to be accountable to the public and launch an urgent and immediate review of the various elements of our justice system, with swift legislation to address the changes sought."   

Another vocal critic of the justice system was Martin Siegerson's grieving mother Patricia. 

In an interview in 2008 after McGeechan's second conviction she branded Scottish justice a shambles. 

Patricia said McGeechan should have been given a life sentence in 1996 for her sons killing. 

She added: "I hope that monster rots in hell. 

"He has killed two young men and destroyed their families' lives. He should never be allowed out of jail. 

"The justice system is a shambles when people like McGeechan are allowed to walk out of prison 

"Everyone was terrified of him. He was involved in drugs and always carried knives. 

"He had chased people with knives and a hatchet, but the cases never got right through court because folk were too scared to testify against him. 

"He is an animal." 

When McGeechan was put on trial for Martin's murder in 1996, Patricia went to court hoping to get justice for her son. 

But she watched in horror as prosecutors agreed a deal which let the killer plead guilty to the lesser crime of culpable homicide.  

And when he was jailed for just 10 years, her fury overcame her. 

Patricia recalled: "I was hysterical in court. I threw my rosary beads at him and they hit him. 

"He never once said he was sorry and now he has done the same thing again. 

"I still feel Martin's presence. 

"I still expect him to walk through the door.  

"I remember every detail of what happened to my son. 

"Martin had his own flat but he came to my house for his breakfast. 

"That's what he did the day he died." 

Patricia believes the police should have been watching McGeechan at the time he murdered Ahmjid.  

She even sent a sympathy card to the dead man's family with the message: "You will always be in my prayers."  

Patricia, now 68, added: "My heart breaks for his mother. 

"I wish I could tell her the pain will go away but it won't. If anything, the feeling of loss gets worse." 

McGeechan was arrested and charged less than a week after Ahmjid's death. 

The family had run the store for many years before the attack, but they never reopened it. 

Little has been heard of McGeechan since he was sent to prison. 

Shortly after his conviction, it was reported that he had been stabbed 17 times with a glass jar in his cell in Shotts Prison, Lanarkshire as he slept on a bunk bed in his cell. 

A prison source said: "No one is shedding any tears over McGeechan 

"McGeechan is saying he doesn't know who did it and there will be no shortage of suspects given his past crimes."  

However, it was thought more likely that he owned money to prison heavies for drugs. 

In 2011 he was found in his jail cell with stab wounds from a pair of scissors with were sticking out of his side. 

On this occasion, it was claimed that he had done it himself to get moved to hospital because he was in fear of other prisoners to whom he owed money for drugs. 

McGeechan, who is now 62, has spent most of the last 26 years behind bars for two separate homicides. 

It will be 2026 at the very earliest before he can be considered for parole. 

Given his previous offending history it's possible that McGeechan might never be released, given that he doesn't appear to have shown any public remorse for either killing. 

If he is ever set free again the Parole Board of Scotland will also have to ask themselves one key question: "If McGeechan has killed twice, what's to stop him from killing again.?"