Police investigating the cold-blooded murder of a north-east taxi driver have revealed they have received more than 100 tips over the last three months.
George Murdoch was left for dead after a mystery assailant attacked him with a cheese wire in a quiet Aberdeen street on September 29, 1983.
Police launched a fresh appeal for information to mark the 35th anniversary of Mr Murdoch’s murder – and last night revealed they have since received 100 calls, letters and e-mails from around the world.
Detective Inspector Gary Winter, who is leading the investigation, said the team had been overwhelmed at the response and admitted he was “surprised” at some of the information coming to light for the first time so many years on.
Mr Murdoch’s family are desperate for his killer to finally be brought to justice, and last night described the heart-rending years they have spent without him – and the poignant trip they make to his grave every Christmas.
Writing exclusively for the Press and Journal, nephew Alex McKay – who was 26 at the time of the murder – recounted the devastating impact his uncle’s horrific death has had on his family.
He said: “We still think of my Aunt Jessie waiting at home for her husband the night he was killed. She had his supper all ready for him but as the minutes ticked by she put it in the oven to keep warm. As more time passed, worry set in – had he been in an accident? Maybe taken ill? She’d have been back and forth to the window, hoping to see his car turn into their road.
“Eventually she did see a car pulling up outside her door only it wasn’t Dod’s. It was the police arriving to deliver the most horrific and unimaginable news possible. Her worst nightmare had begun and, sadly, it lasted for the rest of her life. For her, Christmas and New Year would never be the same again.”
DI Winter said they had been overwhelmed by the response in the months since.
He said: “What amazes me is the amount of of information that people will sit on and not tell the police.
“We are still getting them, what I’m surprised by is what have sat on for all of this time.
“There’s little things that they have had in their head all this time, it’s all things we follow all the way through to make sure we have looked at everyone that was ever rumoured to be responsible.
“There’s means and ways of getting peoples’ DNA, which obviously has to be on a voluntary basis because right now we don’t have a suspect.”
When launching the latest appeal, police confirmed officially for the first time that a cheese wire found at the scene was used in the attack – and that they have widened their suspect pool to include oil workers and fishermen, who could use such a tool in their jobs.
Mr Murdoch, known as Dod to his friends and family, picked up a customer in the west end of Aberdeen at about 8.35pm on September 29, 1983.
He told his dispatcher he was heading to Culter, but never made it to his destination.
Police later found him seriously injured on Station Road in Pitfodels, and believe he was attacked outside his sky blue Ford Cortina and left for dead.
Over the decades, investigators have pursued a number of leads, and his family put up a £10,000 reward for information, but nobody has ever been ever arrested for the “extremely violent” killing.
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Mr McKay appealed for anyone with information about his uncle’s death, added: “To those of you who still have information and are thinking about calling, please do so now. The individual who took Dod’s life impacted not only his but also ruined his wife’s too.”
Anyone with any more information should phone the police on 101, e-mail the dedicated inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Alex McKay speaks about Christmas and his uncle’s killing
Each Christmas we lay a family wreath on my Uncle Dod’s grave and think back to some of the fun times we spent with him and his wife – my Aunt Jessie – over the years.
Family parties at New Year hold special memories in particular, with everyone gathered at my parents’ house. Jessie’s first stop upon arrival was the kitchen where my dad and others could be found, and she made sure to remind everyone that Dod was to get no more than two drinks.
As the night wore on I think we managed to smuggle him a few more, and by the end of the evening it was Jessie who would end up being the merrier of the two.
Dod was a gentle, likeable and kind-hearted man, usually with a smile on his face. He also put a smile on our faces and one story which still makes us laugh concerns his beloved homing pigeons, whose reluctance to return home was legendary.
George Murdoch was found dead in 1983. My brother and his wife had announced they were going to Edinburgh for a few days and when Dod heard this he thought it would be a good opportunity to see how his training was coming along with the birds.
He managed to persuade my brother to take a number of his pigeons with him and to release them when they arrived in Edinburgh. The birds were duly loaded in their cages, then into the car and the party set off on their mission.
Upon arrival my brother did as was requested and released all the birds – well, some flew off in every direction, others walked back towards the Forth Road Bridge whilst others just stood around wondering what to do. Few made it back to their home loft and it was obvious that something had gone a bit awry with Dod’s training.
Happy, fun times indeed, at least up until 1983 when Dod – who was aged just 57 – was cruelly and shockingly murdered.
Dod would have been the only one to have seen the face of his killer, but hopefully not for much longer.
Thirty-five years after his brutal murder this is the most hopeful our family has ever been that this person will finally be tracked down.
Forensic science has made huge strides forward and Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team is focused and relentless in its search for the truth.
The media was also of enormous help to us earlier this year when we appealed on the anniversary of Dod’s murder, an appeal which went global and led to around 100 calls, e-mails and letters providing information. We would like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to all who contacted the police.
To those of you who still have information and are thinking about calling, please do so now. The individual who took Dod’s life impacted not only his but also ruined his wife’s too.
Do you know or have had strong suspicions as to the killer’s identity? Thirty-five years is a long time to have carried this knowledge around with you and we ask that you relieve yourself of this burden and call the police. Even after all this time it’s never too late.
We still think of my Aunt Jessie waiting at home for her husband the night he was killed. She had his supper all ready for him but as the minutes ticked by she put it in the oven to keep warm. As more time passed, worry set in – had he been in an accident? Maybe taken ill? She’d have been back and forth to the window, hoping to see his car turn into their road.
Eventually she did see a car pulling up outside her door only it wasn’t Dod’s. It was the police arriving to deliver the most horrific and unimaginable news possible. Her worst nightmare had begun and, sadly, it lasted for the rest of her life. For her Christmas and New Year would never be the same again.