MARGARET and Jim Watson thought their 16-year-old daughter Diane would

be safe at school. Their Dennistoun tenement flat overlooks the

playground of Whitehill Secondary where Diane was a bright and popular

fourth-year pupil.

On April 10, 1991, in a horrific playground incident, Diane was

stabbed by fellow pupil Barbara Glover. Diane's friends carried her home

but already she was beyond help. She died soon after in her parents'


The death of a child is particularly hard to bear. It contravenes the

natural order. When that child is the victim of murder it is doubly

difficult to comprehend or accept.

In July, 1991, after an emotionally charged trial at the High Court in

Glasgow, Barbara Glover, aged 15, was found guilty and ordered to be

detained without limit of time. After the trial the Watsons and son Alan

sought to pick up the pieces and mend their shattered lives.

Then, nearly 18 months later, on Saturday, December 5, 1992, tragedy

struck for a second time when Alan, aged 16, took his own life.

Mrs Watson says: ''I cannot begin to describe the despair and

suffering that we endured from the day that Diane was killed. Our

friends and relatives, the school staff and the wider community in

Dennistoun have sought to give every help and comfort to us but some

members of the media have been so cruel and insensitive that they have

caused us nothing but additional hurt and sorrow.''

When Alan died in his bedroom at the family home he was clutching

copies of articles written about his sister's death. One was from the

magazine Marie Claire and the two others were from The Herald, written

by columnist Jack McLean.

Mr and Mrs Watson are convinced that these articles played a major

part in their son's decision to end his life.

''Jack McLean may want to reflect on the fact that when Alan took his

life he had in his hands articles which Mr McLean had written. His

articles, and that in Marie Claire, contributed to the terrible

depression which Alan was suffering from after his sister's death.

''I would hope that in future he and the Marie Claire journalist, Meg

Henderson, would think more carefully about their actions and that they

would realise that when they write they do so about real people who have

real feelings,'' says Mrs Watson.

Jack McLean, in his two columns, and the magazine, in an article

headed ''British Children Serving Life Sentences'' in which the names of

Diane and Barbara Glover were changed, sought to highlight the situation

in Scotland whereby child murderers are detained without limit of time.

Margaret and Jim Watson are in no doubt that the treatment of their

daughter's death in both publications amounted to a campaign which

sought to blacken Diane's name and which displayed insufficient regard

for the victim and her family.

''I look upon these articles as an attempt to blacken my daughter's

name. Additionally, in August, Jack Mclean wrote an article which

implied that our daughter had looked upon her murderer with snobbish

disdain and that Diane regarded herself as being better than her.

''What he actually wrote was 'Diane came from a background which was

rather upper working-class. For years this class element determined that

young Barbara was something of an object of the kind of snobbish disdain

that occurs within the working-classes. Diane had the smart white socks

of the daughter of the labour aristocracy'.''

This has infuriated Mrs Watson. She declares: ''Mr McLean, in his

articles, often tries to make a great deal of his working-class origins

and the article he wrote about Diane is no exception.

''Those who know my husband and I also know of our working-class

origins but we feel that our social background is irrelevant in the case

of our daughter's death. No parents, regardless of social background,

should have to suffer the loss of a child but it might be helpful to

know that I was brought up in the Gorbals and my husband was brought up

in Easterhouse.

''We both left school at 15. On the week Diane died my husband's

take-home pay was #75 and I was earning a small living as a school

meals' attendant. I wonder how Mr McLean can call people such as

ourselves 'the labour aristocracy'?''

Mrs Watson adds: ''Diane was never snobbish. It was an important part

of her upbringing that she treated everyone with respect. Given that her

father had been unemployed for two-and-a-half years she would have been

the last person in a position to look down on anyone.''

Mr and Mrs Watson have taken great pride in the fact that since

Diane's death her school has honoured her memory by instituting the

Diane Watson Memorial Prize.

Mrs Watson says: ''Diane was a hard-working student and at weekends

she worked in a shop from which her earnings helped supplement the

family income. She was also involved with pre-vocational training at a

local hospital and I have references to the effect that she carried out

her course with distinction.''

Following publication of the articles, the affair was aired in the

House of Commons where the Labour MP for Springburn, Mr Michael Martin,

was highly critical of Jack McLean. Criticism was levelled, also, at the

magazine and an interview it carried with Barbara Glover -- or Jean as

she was called in its article -- said to have been conducted in the

Kerlaw Detention Unit in which she is held. Scottish Office Minister

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton and Strathclyde region social work

department have said that no interview took place.

Marie Claire magazine, in the current issue, asserts that the

interview with Barbara Glover took place only after permission was

received from Strathclyde region's social work department. However, the

council social work department has maintained that no interview took

place. Permission was granted for access to the unit but, because the

inmates are minors, they were not in a position to permit interviews

with individuals.

In an exchange of letters between Mr McLean and Mr Martin, the MP

accused the columnist of writing in an ''ill-informed'' manner.

Margaret Watson says: ''I am totally bewildered by Mr McLean's

assertions that he based his articles on discussions he had with

professional people involved with my family, including doctors and

teachers when, in fact, my GP and all the teachers at Whitehill

Secondary School have given written testimony that they did not enter

into discussions with Mr McLean. None of my neighbours has spoken to the


Margaret and Jim Watson were especially angered that McLean, in his

letter to the MP, had commended the Marie Claire article and that he had

not contacted them before writing about the affair. ''He certainly

didn't give either myself or my husband an opportunity to speak.''

Mrs Watson adds: ''I feel that Mr McLean's insensitivity knows no

bounds. On the day of Alan's funeral he wrote a further article

attacking Michael Martin and Lord James Douglas-Hamilton. He accused

both MPs of hiding behind parliamentary privilege. Contrary to Mr

McLean's assertion that these MPs would deny people, expecially

journalists, free speech, Mr Martin gave me a voice in Parliament.

''Our lives have been further ruined by insensitive treatment such as

this. We have never sought to get our names in the paper. We have always

been a hard-working and respectable family and I just hope that no other

family has to endure the suffering that we have gone through.''