A war between rival ice cream van drivers who had started selling everything from illegal cigarettes to heroin ended in a bloodbath that saw nearly an entire family killed.
In the 1980s, against a backdrop of mass unemployment, unrest and poverty, the sprawling housing estates in east Glasgow suddenly presented a money-making opportunity for those willing to sell consumer goods current at a reduced price with their lollipops and their 99.
But it wasn’t long before toilet paper, bread and milk weren’t enough, so drivers also started flogging illegal items such as contraband cigarettes, drugs and weapons.
As a result, turf wars soon erupted, with opposing factions all seeking to take control of the most profitable routes, reports The Daily Record.
Baseball bats, knives, guns and axes have been used by the gangs to defend their turf as petty vandalism has turned into all-out conflict.
Andrew Doyle, nicknamed Fat Boy, was an 18-year-old driver for the ice cream company Marchetti Brothers and had resisted numerous attempts to intimidate him from those who wanted to take over his route and force him to sell drugs – attempts that even saw him shot through his windshield.
In April 1984, it was decided that Doyle needed another “scary” to get him to play ball. So, in the early hours of April 16, someone doused the front door of his family home with gasoline and set it on fire.
Three people were wiped out that night; Anthony Doyle and Christine Halleron were dead when firefighters arrived, while her 18-month-old baby, Mark, died in hospital hours later. Three others, Andrew Doyle, his brother James and their father (also called James) will also succumb to their injuries over the next few days.
The six deaths shocked Scotland and shone a light on the violent gang warfare raging in the city, earning Strathclyde Police the nickname ‘Serious Chimes Squad’ for their failure to deal with it.
Under pressure to bring justice to the Doyle family, the force arrested several people over the following months.
Six people were eventually charged and four of them were eventually tried and convicted of blood feud-related offences.
But two innocent men were later tried and found guilty of the Doyle family murders and will spend twenty years protesting their innocence.
Joe Steele and Thomas ‘TC’ Campbell have been declared by police as known violent offenders. TC, they claimed, used to be an enforcer and Steele was his sidekick.
The evidence against them rested on three main pieces of evidence: One witness, William Love, said he overheard Campbell, Steele and others in a bar discussing how they would teach ‘Fat Boy’ a lesson. ” Doyle setting fire to his lodgings.
Police said Campbell gave a statement, recorded by four officers, that “I just wanted the van shot. The Fat Boy fire was just supposed to be a scary thing that went too far.”
Police also said a photocopied AZ map of Glasgow, on which the Doyle house in Bankend St was marked with an X, was found in Campbell’s flat.
TC claimed he was “rigged up” by cops and Love who he said agreed to testify in exchange for not going to jail.
TC and Steele’s convictions were finally overturned in 2004 by the Court of Appeal after years of campaigning.
Thomas Campbell died of natural causes at his home in June 2019.
After his death, Joe Steele said crime boss Tam McGraw, who died in 2007, ordered a hit on the Doyle family and knew who started the fire – but he would never say.