An old prison van with a ghoulish link to Scotland’s worst serial killer will go under the hammer next month.
A Perthshire auctioneer is offering fans of true crime the chance to snap up the Black Mariah that transported murderer Peter Manuel to the gallows.
US-born Manuel was hanged at Barlinnie in 1958, two years after his killing spree began in Lanarkshire.
His final words were reportedly: “Turn up the radio and I will go quietly.”
Manuel, who described himself as “Scotland’s Frankenstein” and was known to the media as the Beast of Birkenshaw, was the third to last person to be hanged in the country, executed by prison hangman Harry Allen on July 11.
His gruesome story was the subject of a hit ITV crime drama, In Plain Sight, and Dundee actor Brian Cox said he was an inspiration for his portray of fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
The Albion FT521 police coach, in which Manuel made his final journey, is expected to be one of the biggest draws at Morris Leslies’ upcoming Classic Cars auction.
Aside from its connection with Manuel, the vehicle – registered on May 18, 1951 – boasts a lighter link to another famous Scottish detective story.
It appeared in the 2008 Scottish comedy Stone of Destiny, which told the story of college student Ian Hamilton who, with the help of three others, led a daring raid on Westminster Abbey and brought the Stone of Scone back to Scotland.
A spokeswoman for Morris Leslie said: “It’s a piece of Scottish history.”
The van will be offered for sale with no reserve at the firm’s Errol Airfield base on Saturday, August 17.
Manuel, whose parents were Scottish, was born in New York and migrated to Lanarkshire in 1932.
He was convicted of killing seven people, starting with a 17-year-old on an East Kilbride golf course.
Throughout his spree, Manuel famously sent anonymous birthday and Christmas cards to the detective leading the inquiry to “keep him on his toes”.
Police finally caught up with Manuel when he bought drinks at several Glasgow pubs, using banknotes that were known to have been stolen from his final victim.
At his trial, he sacked his lawyers and conducted his own defence. Judge Lord Cameron described Manuel’s skills in the court as “quite remarkable”, but he didn’t do enough to convince the jury of his innocence.
Years later, a legal expert claimed that evidence of the killer’s mental state may have been withheld to ensure that he was executed.