|Robert Andrew McGladdery|
|Died||20 December 1961 (aged 25)
Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Criminal penalty||Death (by hanging)|
|Conviction(s)||16 October 1961|
He was convicted of the murder of Pearl Gamble, aged 19, whom he had battered, strangled and stabbed to death on 28 January 1961, and left her body at Upper Damolly, near Newry, County Down. It transpired the murderer and victim were distant cousins. Pearl Gamble had gone to a dance at the Henry Thomson Memorial Orange Hall in Newry with three girlfriends. She had been seen dancing with her boyfriend and Robert McGladdery.
The murder investigations led to McGladdery. When interviewed he stated to have worn a dark-blue suit but other people at the dance said he wore a light-coloured one. He was put under surveillance and was discreetly seen go to some undergrowth on 10 February 1961. The following day, the police discovered, inside a pillow case in a septic tank, an overcoat, a waistcoat and a handkerchief, all of which were heavily bloodstained. McGladdery was arrested on the same day.
At his trial in Downpatrick, McGladdery pleaded his innocence but was found guilty and sentenced to death on 16 October 1961. The evening before his execution he allegedly made a full confession of the murder. He was hanged, aged 25, at Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast on 20 December 1961, by executioner Harry Allen.
A BBC Northern Ireland dramatisation of the case, 'Last Man Hanging, was broadcast on 8 September 2008. The murder and subsequent execution is the theme of Eoin McNamee's 2010 novel, Orchid Blue.