"'Tell us everything, Peter,'" his tiny, mother pleaded. 'Tell the truth.'" - Reg Mckay, The Daily Record, April 2007
Early on the morning on 14 January 1958, a little over two years since his first known victim Anne Knielands was killed, Lanarkshire police finally arrest Peter Manuel. They raid the family home in Birkenshaw, searching for stolen items from the Smart murder scene and they arrest Manuel and his father for housebreaking. The aim is to get him off the street and it is while Manuel is under arrest, that the case against him makes real progress.
The police know Manuel well, and are aware of his love of attention, so they leave him alone in his cell for nearly 24 hours before interviewing him. This approach has the desired effect: Manuel calls from his cell saying he wants to help police with some ‘unsolved cases’.
He confesses to killing Anne Kneilands, the Watts and Margaret Brown, Isabelle Cooke and the Smart family. It could be that Manuel does this so that he will be allowed to see his parents, with whom he has a close relationship. But it could also be argued that psychopathic killers like Manuel need to be at the centre of the story.
With the killer finally in custody the people of Scotland can sleep more easily in their beds.