In today's extended Glasgow Crime Story, we focus on the last woman to be hanged in Scotland after the chilling murder of a 13-year-old boy. Listen to the podcast on all streaming platforms or read the extended version below. 

Women murderers are very rare, particularly where their victim involves a young child. 

Those who have killed children like Rosemary West and Myra Hindley have passed into criminal infamy. 

Less well known in the pantheon of female child killers is Susan Newell. 

Not only did she stand trial for the murder of a 13-year-old schoolboy she was also the last woman to hang in Scotland

Newell even used her own daughter to help dispose of her victim's body in a Glasgow tenement close. 

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One of a family of 13 children, she was born into a life of grinding poverty in 1893 in Oban in the Scottish Highlands and was said to have had a miserable childhood. 

She married and had a daughter, Janet, but was widowed when her husband was killed in World War One. 

By June 1923, the young widow had remarried, to John Newell, an ex-serviceman, now working as a Glasgow subway worker. 

The three lived in a rented room in Newlands Street, Coatbridge, around eight miles from the city. 

The couple had a tempestuous relationship, which often flared into violence. 

Their behaviour had been so bad, their landlady had ordered them to quit their rooms. 

However, John Newell had already left the family home after claiming that his wife has assaulted him on several occasions. 

On June 10, just before 7pm, 13-year-old local paper boy John Johnston knocked on the Newell family door trying to sell copies of the evening paper.  

It had been a busy day and a local cattle market had meant good sales for him and a fellow paperboy. 

Newell asked John in to the house where she was alone. It was the last time anyone saw him alive.  

A short time later eight-year-old Janet came home to find John's body in the living room on the floor. 

She had been out playing with her friends. 

Newell told the girl that her stepfather had strangled the boy and not to tell anyone what had happened. 

She carried on as if nothing had happened and even went down to her local pub, with Janet, to buy a jug of beer. 

Both mother and daughter slept while John's body lay in the house. 

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What was going through the child's mind at this time is anyone's guess. 

By the morning Newell had decided how she would dispose of the teenage murder victim 

She forced Janet to help her wrap the teenager in a carpet and then put the body into an old pram. 

With Janet perched on top of the grisly bundle, they set off for Glasgow. 

A lorry driver offered them a lift and dropped them in Duke Street - just yards from the prison where Newell would later be hanged. 

However, John's body accidentally spilled out after Newell lost control of the pram. 

The dead boy's foot and head, which was covered in burns to his scalp and ears, became clearly visible. 

Although the lorry driver didn't notice, a local Duke Street resident Helen Elliott and her sister did and were horrified by what they saw. Both gasped in disbelief. 

They followed Newell as she dumped the pram and body in a tenement close and alerted a passing police officer PC Thomas McGennet. 

Susan fearing she had been rumbled attempted to escape over a wall and was immediately arrested by the beat cop. 

John's dad Robert, a tube worker, had the grim task of identifying his son, one of five children, at the police mortuary in St Andrew Square, Glasgow later that day. 

He had already reported him missing after he failed to return home the previous evening from his paper round.  

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At first Robert thought he had gone to the cinema

But there was still sign of him after the last movie had ended at 10:30pm. 

Alarmed like any father would be, he walked the streets in a vain search for his son and then called in the police. 

Everyone had expected John to eventually arrive home with an explanation - even the following day.  

But no one in the family were prepared for the awful news that the police would bring to them. 

After Newell had been arrested and then charged with murder, Robert and John's grandmother went to the police mortuary in St Andrew Square, Glasgow, where pathologists were already preparing for the post-mortem examination that would follow. 

Robert was sure it was his son at first glance but did not want to believe it.  

He later told one newspaper how he lifted his son's forearm in search of a distinguishing birthmark. 

He found the blemish he feared would be there and a boil that the boy had been complaining of. 

The broken man turned to the mortuary staff and said: "Aye, that's my John, right enough."  

John's burns were thought to have been caused after he fell on a fireplace or gas ring while fighting to save his own life. 

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Robert had even stood outside the Newells' home that previous night as he searched for his missing son, oblivious to the fact he lay inside. 

In the same interview Robert said: "John was my eldest son. He was a bright lad."  

He added that his boy was hard working and conscientious and followed his dad's advice: "Early to bed, early to rise."  

Murdered on a Wednesday, John was buried the following Monday. 

Thousands lined the streets for half a mile as his body was taken from the family home in a white coffin covered in floral tributes to be laid to rest in New Monkland Cemetery in Airdrie. 

Men, women, and children wept. 

A Salvation Army band played as Boy Scouts, Cubs, Boys' Brigade, Girl Guides and classmates from Dundyvan School walked behind the family. 

It was all too much for John's young sister, May, who collapsed and had to be carried back to the family home. 

Following her arrest Newell blamed her absent husband for John's murder. 

She claimed she was unable stop him strangling the young newspaper seller. 

Newell said her husband then ordered her to get rid of the body and she was too scared to refuse. 

A hunt was launched for the missing husband who later handed himself into a police station, after appeals were published in newspapers. 

He claimed that he had been at a funeral at the time of the murder and had later travelled to Haddington, East Lothian. 

Despite what seemed like a rock-solid alibi he was also charged with murder. 

When he and his wife appeared at the Police Court in Tobago Street, in Glasgow's East End large crowds gathered due to the massive public interest in the child murder case. 

The publicity also resulted in queues of witnesses at police stations saying they had seen Newell pushing the pram along Duke Street. 

The scene was now set for a trial that would make headlines across the country. 

But whose version of events would the jury believe - Susan Newell's or her husband's? 

The case was heard by Lord Alness at the High Court in Glasgow and began on September 18, 1923. 

There were 70 witnesses cited and 40 gave evidence on the first day of the trial.  

Demand for seats in the public gallery was so high that people had begun queuing in the middle of the night. 

The couple sat in the dock, a police officer separating them and one on either side. 

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Dressed in dark clothes, Newell appeared haggard. Her husband wore a suit and clutched his cap in his hands. 

Newell's legal team lodged a special plea of insanity at the time of the murder.  

They also objected to every woman selected for the jury, before an all-male line-up was agreed on. 

Newell's husband lodged a special defence of alibi. 

One of the early witnesses was the dead boy's father. 

Robert Johnston told of the night his boy had failed to come home and spent the night searching the streets. 

A police officer arrived at his workplace the next day and took him to the mortuary, where he was shown his body. 

Asked whose body he saw, Mr Johnstone broke down as he replied: "Oh! My boy's body." 

He further identified John's clothes as they lay before the court. 

John's mum, who was in poor health, also broke down as she identified John's belongings.  

The Newells' landlady provided a graphic account of what happened the night John died. 

She also gave an insight into the relationship between the couple who had only taken lodgings with her three weeks earlier. 

Their constant rows had resulted in them being given notice to leave on the same day John disappeared. 

The landlady hadn't seen John Newell but remembered John Johnston going to the couple's door around 7pm. 

Soon after, she heard three thumps but thought nothing of it having become used to noise from the flat. 

She presumed the boy had left, although she had not seen him do so. 

Later, Newell asked her for a box to pack things in before going out later in the evening with her daughter, to get the jug of beer. 

They returned a few minutes later and stayed in their rooms for a while before Newell went out for a second time. 

She returned home but left again at 11pm and finally settled down for the night around 2am. 

It is not known where she had gone or what she had been doing. 

At 8am the landlady found the front door open but no sign of Newell. 

The evidence of Janet electrified the court and would eventually lead to her mother's conviction for murder. 

She recalled going to the pub and being left outside as her mum had their jug filled with beer - before going home. 

Asked what she had seen in the room, she replied: "A little wee boy dead on the couch."  

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The advocate depute and counsel for the Crown, Lord Kinross, added: "How did you know?"  

Janet responded: "I went over to look." 

Lord Kinross said:" Did your mother do anything?"  

Janet replied: "She drank the beer." 

Lord Kinross added: "Did she do anything about the boy?"  

Janet said: "She was trying to get him off the floor."  

Lord Kinross then asked "Did she touch the boy?" Janet responded: "Yes." 

Lord Kinross added: "What did she do?"  

Janet replied: "She took my father's pair of drawers and put them over his face."  

The girl had previously told detectives that her step-father had choked the boy to death. 

But she finally admitted she had never seen the boy harmed. 

Janet was then questioned about the journey to Glasgow with the pram. 

Lord Kinross asked: "What did you do with the wee laddie?"  

Janet replied: "We put him in a bag. There was a bed mat in it. 

"We went downstairs and I got toffee. There was a pram and I got a seat on it."  

Lord Kinross continued: "When you sat in it, what did you sit on? The bundle?"  

Janet: "Yes, on the wee boy."   

Taxi driver Thomas Gibson, from Airdrie, then told how he was driving a lorry that day and gave Newell a lift after helping her put the pram on the truck. 

She told him she was looking for rooms and he dropped her in Duke Street, Glasgow. 

As she got the pram out, the bundle slipped and he tried to help saying: "You're in an awful hurry."  

But she knocked his hand away and rebuked him, replying: "Get on your lorry. I'll manage it myself."  

Helen Elliott told how she was amazed when the bundle slipped and she saw a child's foot emerge. 

She then found the policeman, who was patrolling his beat, and told him what had happened. 

He caught Newell in Duke Street after she had callously abandoned John's body minutes earlier. 

She claimed that during a row with her husband, he hit her, and the boy had screamed out. 

He then seized hold of the boy and lifted him on to the bed and strangled him. 

As the trial at the High Court proceeded in September 1923, charges against John Newell were dropped after he was able to prove he was at a family funeral at the time of the murder.  

The judge would later say he should never have been brought to trial in the first place. 

John Newell left the dock without speaking to Susan or even a backward glance after being told he was free to go. 

She fixed her eyes on her husband until he was out of sight.  

Susan Newell was now the sole accused. 

Her legal team continued their claims that she was insane at the time of the murder.  

This was rebutted by the prosecution's expert witness, Professor John Glaister who had examined her while she was on remand awaiting trial. 

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Her counsel pointed out that the killing was not premeditated and had no obvious motive. 

However, the circumstantial evidence against the 30-year-old was overwhelming. 

Though there was no witness to the actual murder, the eye witness statements including those of her daughter left little doubt in the minds of the jury. 

The jurors returned a majority guilty verdict, with only one dissenting voice, in just 37 minutes, 

The foreman said all 15 had strongly recommended mercy and the death sentence reduced to a prison term 

However, Lord Alness ignored their pleas. 

Instead, the judge put on the traditional black cap and sentenced the accused to hang on October 10 at Duke Street Prison in Glasgow. 

Newell stood motionless in the dock showing little or no emotion as she learned she was to face the death penalty 

Accompanied by two police officers she turned in silence and walked downstairs to the cells below. 

The trial had lasted just two days.  

No woman had been hanged in Scotland since 1889 and there were considerable efforts made to secure a reprieve.

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A petition submitted to the Secretary of State for Scotland pleading that the sentence be reduced to a life sentence was also rejected. 

As was customary practice, Newell was told in person by the city's Lord Provost that her appeal had failed  

At this point she was said to have shown emotion for the first time and cried out for her daughter and then fainted.  

She was also given a further examination by psychiatrists and found to be legally sane. 

Newell was to be sent to her death by the famous state hangman John Ellis. 

He was noted for the speed at which he conducted executions  

Ellis had previously hanged wife poisoner Dr Crippen in 1910 and Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement in 1916,  

However, unlike many men before and after her, Newell met her death with defiance. 

Seconds before the trap door opened, she broke a hand free and ripped off the white hood preventing her seeing her executioners. 

Then she shouted: "Don't put that thing over me."  

Ellis didn't argue before sending the mother to her death. 

It meant however that those in the execution chamber, unusually, saw her face as she died. 

Ellis, who retired the following year, later said of Susan Newell: "She walked so calmly from her cell to the scaffold. 

"This was the bravest woman I had ever met."   

Newell was not only the last woman to be sentenced to death in Scotland but also the last person to be hanged at Duke Street Prison. 

In future all hangings would take place at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow until capital punishment was abolished in the 1960's.  

To this day no one knows what exactly happened the night John Johnston was killed and what prompted the murderous attack. 

Some say Newell, who had a notorious temper, was furious at having been left penniless and destitute by her husband following his walkout. 

She then strangled her young victim when he insisted on payment and took the proceeds of his paper round to buy drink. 

Newell never publicly expressed any remorse or regret over the death of young John. 

Instead, she died at the end of a rope still blaming her husband and protesting her innocence to the last.