The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition)

Eliza Connellys


ELIZA CONNELLY was bludgeoned so savagely that the frail pensioner’s blood speckled the ceiling of her home in Barnhill.

The 74-year-old was last seen alive on Sunday April 12 1981. Her middle son James discovered his mother two days later in a pool of blood in the bedroom of her home.

Over the following days police sniffer dogs scoured the area and the 60-strong team of detectives quizzed more than 1,500 people. Every line of inquiry drew a blank and detectives even considered whether Mrs Connelly had been the victim of a freak accident.

The scenario posited by a senior detective involved the pensioner having fallen, lain bleeding for some time, crawled onto her bed, and then fallen two more times, injuring her head on a wardrobe and a chest.

After reading the police report the Procurator Fiscal ordered a fatal accident inquiry which returned an inconclusi­ve result. However, a forensic scientist and a Dundee sheriff later concluded it would not have been possible for the 15 separate injuries found on Mrs Connelly’s body to have occurred by accident. She had been the victim of a savage and brutal assault.

Police even took the step of reaching out to senior figures in Dundee’s criminal underworld, hoping the sickening attack on an old woman would prompt them to turn over one of their own, but to no avail.

More than 30 years on police remain no closer to cracking the baffling case.

For further reading on historical murders in Dundee see The Law Killers by Alexander McGregor.

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