Today, we once again turn towards the lines of justice rather than crime as we delve into the life of Glasgow officer remembered as one of Britain's best-known detectives.


In today's modern police forces detectives often rely on the latest technology to solve major crimes.

White suited forensic officers will comb the scene for clues, specialist offers will look through hours of CCTV, scientists will try and make DNA matches and digital experts will trawl through mobile phone and computer records.

However, more than 50 years ago some detectives often had little more than a hunch to go on.

One such officer was Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Goodall, head of Glasgow CID whose unerring instincts brought many a criminal to justice during 37 distinguished years’ service.

His personal achievements included the arrest and conviction of two serial killers and a man who shot three police officers dead.

A native of Cardenden, Fife, Goodall was a skilful detective, admired by colleagues and feared by the criminals.

The village would also later produce another famous crime figure Inspector Rebus author Ian Rankin.

However, Goodall's equivalent was more likely to have been the fictional pipe smoking French detective and police chief Jules Maigret.

The books by George Simeon had been turned into a popular TV series starring Rupert Davies at the same time Goodall became Glasgow’s CID boss.

Glasgow Times:

Like the fictional Maigret he smoked a pipe, was hands on with every investigation and would work long into the night to get his man.

Goodall's technique during an interview with a suspect was to say or do very little.

Instead, he would clean then light his pipe and let the suspect do the talking which invariably resulted in a confession.

Like many detectives of his era he was as well-known as the criminals he brought to justice.

His work was even celebrated in verse by a Glasgow worthy Archibald Cochrane who was known as "The Tontine Poet"

Cochrane was a permanent resident of a hotel of the same name in the Trongate area.

It was also close to the City of Glasgow Police HQ in Turnbull Street.

He regularly mailed his handwritten verse to the police chief but what he thought of the efforts is not known.

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Goodall is also mentioned in Jimmy Boyle's 1977 bestselling autobiography, a Sense of Freedom, which was later made into a movie starring David Hayman.

The former violent gangland enforcer turned reformed criminal said Goodall was aways spoken about locally with a 'sense of fear.'

Boyle was charged with murder in 1964 and Goodall was there in person at Gorbals Police Office when he was brought in. Then the crime carried the death penalty, but Boyle was later cleared at the High Court in Glasgow.

Boyle, now a successful artist and businessman, was later convicted of the murder of gangland rival Babs Rooney in 1967 and spent 15 years behind bars before being set free.

Goodall was one described by one respected crime reporter as "a quiet stopping man who seldom smiled."

However, people underestimated him at their peril.

Goodall moved to Glasgow in the late 1920's when his father got a job as a farm manager near Bearsden.

He then joined the police in 1932, at the age of 22 on a salary of less than £3 a week because he thought it would give him some job security at time when unemployment was rife.

Despite his eventual rise to the top his career he didn't get his first promotion until 1956 when he was made a Detective Sergeant.

The following year he was promoted to Detective Inspector and put in charge of the CID at Gorbals Police Office.

There he began to make name for himself solving crime and putting criminals behind bars.

His name began to appear regularly in the newspapers usually with news of yet another arrest.

Senior officers at police HQ began to take notice.

It was while he a Detective Inspector in the Gorbals in 1958 that he was chosen to help Lanarkshire Constabulary investigate a series of eight unsolved murders on their patch.

With the help of Goodall, a suspect Peter Manual was arrested and stood trial in July, 1958, at the High Court in Glasgow where he was convicted of seven murders and sentenced to hang.

Goodall had helped bring Scotland's first ever serial killer to justice.

However, his career was almost ended later that same year.

On November 10 Goodall was shot by an armed jewel thief as he tried to arrest him in a house in Camden Street, Gorbals. 

Fortunately, the bullet entered his thigh narrowly missing an artery.

Typically, Goodall was back on duty a few days later after hospital treatment.

One of the best examples of his detective skills was the murder in 1962 of a73 year old Emma Dufour in her home in Maryhill, Glasgow

She had been found by her grandson in a pool of blood when he came up for his lunch.

At first it was thought that she had taken her own life.

Her husband had died at his own hands a few years earlier and she had never got over his death.

However, Goodall was not so sure.

He found spots of blood on her handbag.

A number of items had been removed as if someone had rummaged about inside.

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Hair on a comb found at the crime scene did not match that of the victim.

She had also put some potatoes on to boil on a low gas on her cooker.

Good all did not think that was the sign of someone about to take their own life, particularly when she was expecting her grandson for lunch.

Also, there was no sign of a struggle. Had she unsuspectingly opened the door to her killer he wondered?

Goodall asked his detectives to look through the files of all males aged 14 to 21 in the area with a criminal record.

Local residents had reported a couple of youths hanging about the tenement close that day.

They tracked down a 17-year-old who had been seen with a neighbour’s son in the building.

On the way by car to Maryhill Police Office he admitted to hitting Emma over the head with a metal bar and cutting her throat.

Glasgow Times:

All that had been taken was a few shillings - the equivalent of about a £1 today.

Goodall said the case showed how important it was not to jump to any conclusions about a crime and to look at every possibility.

He also wondered how many similar cases had been written off in the past as suicide. 

His hard work was rewarded in 1963 when he was appointed Detective Chief Superintendent, in charge of Glasgow CID. 

It was a meteoric rise. Only eight years earlier he had been a lowly Constable.

He became the first police officer to use incident caravans at a murder scene where the public could call in with information. 

He also was the first to use a photofit of a suspect, following the murder of a woman in 1969.

Goodall made a point of attending every murder scene in person and insisted on being called about any serious crime night or day.

His photograph would appear in newspapers at the scenes of major crime or arrest and he became known to the public as the man 'who was always there.'

By this time, he took over as head of CID there was not only a rise in violence but also what we now know as serious and organised crime in particular high value robberies and thefts

In January 1964 a gang had robbed a payroll van at gunpoint worth £4,300 outside a factory in Polmadie, Glasgow.

A few weeks later £70,000 in jewels - worth £500,000 today - was stolen from a store in St Vincent Street during a night-time break in.

A third break in to the nearby British Linen Bank in March 1965 netted robbers £25,000.

However, it wasn't long before Goodall was bringing the new breed of criminal to justice.

In 1966 three men stole £20,000 from the National Commercial bank in Pollokshaws. During the raid two of the bank staff were shot and injured.

One of Glasgow's most notorious criminals - Walter Scott Ellis - was arrested in London by Goodall and his men.

At the High Court in Glasgow later that year Ellis was jailed for 21 years and his two accomplices given 20 and 18 years each.

Before sentencing the trial judge told the three men "it is essential to make an example of the accused in this case to prevent others following a similar course."

It was the heaviest sentence ever handed out for bank robbery in Scotland.

That same year Goodall made headlines across the country when he arrested Britain's most wanted man.

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Glaswegian John Duddy had shot dead three police officers in Acton, London.

One of the suspects was arrested but two others including Duddy were still in the run.

Duddy had been living in London for the past ten years but it was assumed he would head back to Glasgow to hide out.

A team of 40 detectives led by Goodall visited all Duddy's known haunts speaking to friends and relatives.

The murders had shocked Britain and it was the gunman's worried brother Vincent who told Goodall that was hiding in a tenement in Stevenson Street in the Calton area.

Armed police surrounded the building and Duddy gave himself up with a fight.

The arrest was carried out by Goodall himself, accompanied by David McNee who would later become Chief Constable of the newly formed Strathclyde Police in 1975 and later Chief Commissioner of the Met in 1980.

When asked why he had carried out the arrest himself Goodall told reporters: “We cannot send younger man to do something we should do ourselves." 

In October 1967 a 57-year-old woman Josephine McAllister was attacked in Craigton Road Govan having visited her elderly mother.

She was raped and murdered and her partially clothed body dumped on a railway embankment.

In March 1968 eighty-year-old James Brand and seventy-five-year-old wife Janet were found dead in their home in Montave Path, Mosspark.

Goodall realised that all three are the work of the same man.

They had a serial killer on the loose.

It was for this triple murder investigation that an incident caravan was used for the first time.

There had also been a fourth earlier attack on a woman in the same area, but she had escaped with her life.

Their one main clue was two unexplained palm prints found in the Brand's house.

In another bold move Goodall decided to ask every man living within one square mile of the area if they would provide a palm print.

He had remembered a similar ploy in 1952 when senior officers investigating the murder of four-year-old Betty Alexander had fingerprinted every man living in the Garnethill area where her body was found.

In one house in Paisley Road West, they tested 20 year old Sammy McCloy and got a match.

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He was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

Despite his success in locking up offenders crimes of violence had gone up 200 percent between 1957 and 1967.

It was around this time that the entertainer Frankie Vaughan made his famous visit to Easterhouse, Glasgow where he urged the teenage male youths to give up knives and other weapons.

He even donated £3500 towards the building of a community centre. 

During Easter weekend 1968 there were more than 50 attacks, mainly stabbings in the city.

In one case a 16-year-old apprentice printer Philip Comerford was stabbed to death in Springboig after leaving an Easter Friday church service.

There were call for the death penalty to be reimposed after it had been outlawed in 1965.

However, Goodall was known to be against such a move once telling a family member he did not think it right that a man should know the time and place of his death.

In 1969 he took personal charge of the hunt for another crazed gunman who this time caused terror on the street of Glasgow.

Their target James Griffiths was a suspect in the murder of an elderly woman in Ayr.

Rachel Ross had died after a break in at her home during which she and her husband were tied up by the robbers.

Goodall was told that Griffiths was posing as an antique dealer and hiding out in a top floor flat in Holyrood Crescent in Glasgow's West End

When five detectives went to arrest him, Griffiths opened fire on the men and then passers-by in the street before escaping.

In a nearby street, he hijacked a man's car at gunpoint.

He reached Possilaprk where he abandoned the car went into a bar and shot an elderly customer dead

Griffiths was thrown out of the pub and then hijacked a lorry parked nearby at gunpoint.

He drives it to Kay Street in Springburn where he took refuge in a tenement flat and began firing shots at local people including children.

Two officers went to the door and one shot him dead throgh the letter box and he stood with his rifle in the hallway.

During the two hours of terror he had murdered one man and injured 13 others including the child.

It was the first time that a man had been shot dead by a police officer in Scotland.

There was praise at the time for Goodall for the way that he had handled the situation from the then Lord Provost Donald Liddle.

While the Glasgow Times wrote in an editorial of the police response led by Goodall: “They have shown a realism and balanced judgment which increases out confidence in the in them."

During his time as head of CID Goodall was also involved in the investigations into the murders of two women who would be later linked to the infamous serial killer Bible John.

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Both women Patricia Docker and Jemima McDonald had been murdered after meeting a man at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow.

Patricia, a nurse, with a young son was found dead in February, 1968 near the home which shared with her parents in Langside.

In August the following year Jemima, a mother of three, was found murdered in a tenement close in Bridgeton.

It was following the second murder that Goodall issued the photofit picture of a man seen with Jemima on the night she was murdered.

Following the third murder in October that year of Helen Puttock in Scotstoun all three murders were linked.

Helen and her older sister Jeannie had shared taxi home with a stranger called John who quoted from the Bible during their journey.

It was following the release of that information to the public that the press began calling the suspect Bible John.

Tragically Goodall had died two weeks earlier at the age of 58 from a heart attack while weeding the garden of his home in Bearsden on a rare day off. 

His deputy Elphinstone Dalglish had replaced him as head of CID and took the decision to link all three murders into one investigation.

To this date the three remained unsolved and it is interesting to speculate how Goodall might have handled the " Bible John" investigation differently given his success with other similar cases.

Councillor James Anderson, who was police convenor, said at the time of Goodall: "He may have killed himself with over work by insisting on being called out to any major crime no matter when it happened."

Four hundred mourners went to his service in Linn Crematorium in Castlemilk.

One newspaper described him as "one of Britain's best-known detectives".

Goodall had been an elder at Kelvinside Parish church and the minister The Rev Alan Boyd Robson took the service.

Robson said of the legendary crime fighter in his oration: "He has become identified in the minds of countless thousands of simple people as the man who, in their name, opposed and tackled wickedness and crime and violence and everything they hated and feared"

To this day Goodall is still remembered for his unique detective skills.

A tribute on the Glasgow Police Museum website says: "He was a quiet, slightly stooping man, but no-one ever questioned a Goodall hunch.

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"So often his brilliant mind snatched at obscure clues which proved the turning point in the most difficult of cases."