Henry Burnett was obviously aware that from the moment he arrived at the ‘Execution Block’ of Craiginches prison after sentencing he was never left alone. On a 24 hour rota he was accompanied by two prison officers at all times.

It is less clear whether he was aware that at the end of each shift the officers were required to note down in the ‘Special Watch Occurance Book’ a log of everything he had said to them or to any of his visitors.

Anything of note that might have significance in the decision of the Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Noble, whether to allow the sentence to proceed or to commute it, would be passed up the line.

Entries include:

331/63. Henry John Burnett, Capital Murder. Death

Extracts from Special Watch occurance Book.

29/7/63   Prisoner was quite cheerful but not looking forward to visit from mother. Worried in case she became ill. He played various games and talked mostly about his mother. Prisoner mentioned when he assaulted Margaret, he thought she was dead.

E. Bissett, Officer

J Duncan, Officer

29/7/63 Visit from mother and sister, talked about visits for the rest of the week. Advice from his mother to behave himself. Assurance from prisoner he would be reprieved. General family topic.

Mother asked prisoner who wiped fingerprints from gun. He said he did not.

Mother asked why he done it, prisoner said, if Guyan had not made first move, he would not have killed him. He was told that Robert and John Guyan and some one else were after him. That is why he went to the house. Mrs Guyan shouted as he entered the house, “That’s him, Tom”. Guyan dived at him as he fired.

JS Parker, Officer

G Riddoch, Officer

29/7/63 Prisoner did not seem so cheerful as on previous nights. Talked of his visit with his mother. Remarked that she thought he was taking the blame of the murder of Guyan for someone else. Remarked he wasn’t and wouldn’t cover up for anyone. He said, “Even though there weren’t fingerprints on the gun, I did it alright.”

Remarked that his mother bore up well, better that [sic] he thought she would.

A McGillivary, Officer

A Pirie, Officer


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