Gordon Dunbar murder: Brother of victim still haunted by Dundee Law

Jim Dunbar, Gordon Dunbar and Alastair Thompson being led away by police.

A man has revealed that the sight of Dundee Law still gives him chills 25 years after the brutal murder of his brother.

Gordon Dunbar was slain by Alastair Thompson in 1992, with the killer dumping some of the architect’s body in bin bags on the Law.

Thompson — then 43 — was out on licence from a life sentence for a previous murder.

He stabbed Gordon through the heart and dismembered his body after the pair had met on a night out.

Police search the Law in 1992

Their paths crossed on Christmas Eve when Gordon had gone out for a couple of drinks and ran into Thompson.

Thompson’s violent history — including serving 16 years for murdering his own grandmother and the attempted murder attempt of a city bus driver — would soon show itself.

The pair went back to a flat on the ninth floor of Butterburn Court and Gordon’s fate was sealed.

A young mum later gave evidence she had heard a heated argument coming from the flat next door that Christmas Eve.

Another neighbour said that on Boxing Day, she had heard “DIY noises” and “hammering”.

On December 30, a police dog being walked on the snow-dusted Law led to the discovery of the first pieces of Gordon’s body.

Scores of officers and detectives began to search for the rest of the victim and the person responsible for his death.

Gordon’s head was never found.

Now, 25 years on from the killing, Gordon’s brother, Jim, of Carnoustie, still hasn’t come to terms with the events that happened in Butterburn Court.

Speaking to the Tele, he said: “When I cross the Tay Road Bridge and see the profile of Dundee and the Law, I can’t help but think of my brother.

“Once it is out of view, it goes to the back of my mind — but it doesn’t go away.

“Gordon is still in my mind every day — I can’t ever forget about it. You just deal with it the best that you can.”

Jim said that each year the family comes together to visit Gordon’s grave, with the impact of the murder spanning the generations.

He recalled his own son coming home from school and telling him of finding a bag in a river, but “he had checked and it didn’t have Uncle Gordon’s head in it”.

He added: “It was something that no family should have to go through.

“How do you explain something like that to young children?”

Retired art teacher Jim said that the biggest relief from the pain of losing his brother was painting.

One of the key pieces of evidence from Thompson’s trial was a jacket that Gordon had been wearing on the day of his death.

Gordon Dunbar

After taking Gordon’s life, Thompson even wore the jacket around the city.

Jim painted the jacket with the piece named “Crown Production 18”.

He later sold the painting to an anonymous buyer from Perth, always wondering if they realised the story behind its creation.

At a High Court trial in 1993, a jury took 70 minutes to find Thompson guilty of the crime and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Thompson died in 2010.

‘Intimidating’ letter sent to family of Gordon Dunbar

With his killer jailed, Gordon Dunbar’s family tried to move on as best they could.

But murderer Thompson had other ideas.

On the morning of December 12 1994, almost two years after Thompson brutally killed Gordon, a letter came through his brother Jim’s door.

From his jail cell, Thompson had offered to disclose where the rest of Gordon’s body was.

Jim says that the letter still gets to him and that he welcomed Thompson’s death in jail.

A Tele article about the letter.

In the letter, Thompson said: “I am not writing to apologise for what happened for I know that no apology from me would be acceptable.

“Though for what it’s worth, I am deeply sorry for what happened and for all the pain and anguish.

“The purpose of this letter, Mr Dunbar, is to offer you as full an explanation as is possible of the events of Christmas 1992.

“I would have written long before now but it was my lawyer’s advice that I not discuss until after my appeals were finished.

“The explanation I offer is in no way an attempt to excuse myself.

“I shall die in prison, Mr Dunbar, justified or not, and as such there is little anyone can do to harm me.

“I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose, Mr Dunbar.

“I offer you only what you are entitled to know and only I can or will tell you.”

Jim said: “It was a great relief to us when Thompson died in prison. The whole family was worried because he was close to his time for release.

“He had obviously managed to find out where we lived to send us the letter in the first place.

“I think it was all a power thing, him trying to show he still had power over us. It definitely felt to me like he was still trying to establish a position of power over us.

“We didn’t respond. We got the police involved and we were assured that it wouldn’t happen again.

“Even then it was a big worry for us, as it got closer and closer to when he would be considered for release.

“We were all relieved when he died in prison because at least we knew that he couldn’t come for us then.”