Nowhere To Run: The Marilyn McKenna Story | True Crime | Part One

(Marilyn Mckenna and Stuart Drury. Picture credit: bbc.co.uk

This is one of those cases that still haunts me to this day. It was first brought to my attention by my all time favourite True Crime author Reg McKay in his brilliant and spine chilling book Murder Capital: Life & Death On The Streets Of Glasgow 

I've covered and researched a lot of cases and each one has been harrowing but there's something about this one that turns the blood cold. The images that one conjures up about the hell that this poor woman went through really is the stuff of nightmares. 

Before I begin I have to warn you that the details in this case are very disturbing and I will be talking about attempted suicide, self harm, domestic violence and murder. Some of the details are very gruesome and quite difficult to put out of your mind once you have read about what happened. If you feel like this post would be too much for you then please click onto another one of my true crime posts.

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Let's begin...

This case takes place in the late 1990s in Carntyne which is a suburban district in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. Marilyn Mckenna was a single mother of three children in her 30s who did everything she could for her kids, even working three jobs to help put food on the table. Her life was busy and at times very hard, it wasn't easy having to juggle three kids, three jobs and manage a house but she did it. She worked as hard as she could as an assistant in the local chip shop as well as working as a dinner lady and school auxiliary. 

There just never seemed to be enough hours in the day for Marilyn but on Friday night's she made sure that she did treat herself to a girl's night out with her best friend and sister, Aileen. Marilyn and Aileen shared an incredible bond and could tell each other everything. It had been a long time since Marilyn had been in a romantic relationship and because of what she had been through in the past she was very careful of getting into another relationship. With such a hectic, busy life and having three kids, she did wonder if there was a chance that she would be able to find someone who would treat her right but also take on the kids too.

Marilyn and Aileen nicknamed their Friday nights ''Stress Busters'', they would go out, sometimes with some of their other friends and they would have a dance, a chat about their week and have a few drinks. Marilyn didn't get much time to herself so these Friday night ''Stress Busters'' were the highlight of her week. She would feel so much better after spending Friday nights just letting her hair down with Aileen.

During one of their night's out, Marilyn mentioned a guy called Stuart who she was getting friendly with and according to Aileen, Marilyn's face lit up every time she talked about him. Over the next couple of weeks whenever Aileen saw Marilyn or spoke to her on the phone she was constantly talking about how amazing Stuart was. Aileen was excited for Marilyn, she thought that this was just what Marilyn needed after all the heartache, she was excited to meet him.

The romance with Stuart blossomed very quickly and he was like the perfect gentleman, he would cook dinner for her and the kids, he'd insist on doing the washing up and in time he would be looking after the kids whilst Marilyn was at work. The kids got on so well with him, he seemed like the perfect guy. After a long hard day at work, Marilyn would come home to find that Stuart had done all of the housework, sorted out the kids school stuff and had dinner on the table for her, she couldn't believe it.

Marilyn continued to brag to anyone who would listen that Stuart was amazing. The time came for her to introduce Stuart to Aileen and she took him along to one of their ''Stress Buster'' evenings. From the moment Aileen laid eyes on him, she disliked him. It may have seem a bit judgemental but there was something about Stuart that she couldn't put her finger on. She knew Marilyn was over the moon with him and that he had done a lot to help her but Aileen couldn't help but think if this guy was just too good to be true. 

For a start, he would not take his eyes off of Marilyn, that could be seen as a romantic thing but to Aileen it seemed more like he wanted to control her. He watched every move that she made like he was making sure that she wasn't looking at other men. His whole body language was creepy but Marilyn was oblivious and thought he was Mr prince charming. 

A few days later, Aileen was on the phone to Marilyn and tried to find out a bit more about Stuart but Marilyn said that he didn't like to talk about his past . When Marilyn mentioned asking Stuart to move in with her, Aileen tried to persuade her sister not to. It was all moving a bit too fast, she suggested they get to know each other more before making any drastic decisions. Marilyn had made her mind up though, she wanted Stuart to move in. Aileen loved her sister and didn't want to fall out with her so she had to respect her decision and hope for the best, at the end of the day all she wanted was for Marilyn and the kids to be happy and if Stuart Drury was treating them properly, that's all that mattered.

With work and Stuart taking up most of her time, Marilyn reassured Aileen that their nights out on a Friday would continue no matter what. As the weeks went by, Aileen began to notice the sparkle in Marilyn's eyes begin to dim a little and the smile begin to fade. Marilyn would say that she was fine and that things were still going well but she had some things on her mind about Stuart. She told Aileen that Stuart had a very high sex drive and at first that was exciting but he wanted more and more. After a long day at work, she was exhausted but Stuart expected sex and on the days that she had off, he would want sex three or four times a day. If she said she was too tired, he would go into a sulk and accuse her of not finding him attractive or that she was seeing someone behind his back at one of her jobs.

The sex began to be a lot more violent, instead of tender lovemaking like before, Stuart was rough and Marilyn didn't enjoy that at all, she felt like it was forced, almost like rape. She'd find herself having to go along with things so that he wouldn't go in a bad mood. 

Aileen was waiting for Stuart to start showing his true colours, the honeymoon period was over and now that he had gotten his claws into Marilyn and moved himself into her house, he was starting to feel comfortable, so comfortable that he was starting to demand things from her. 

Stuart knew everything about Marilyn's life, she opened up to him about her past, her fears, her dreams and he knew her daily routine. He was very manipulative and knew the right words to say to gain her trust. For someone who was careful with her heart, she let her guard down with Stuart because she felt that he was different from all the other guys. 


Things began to take a more sinister turn one night when she got home from work after a really stressful day. All she wanted was a cup of tea, a nice warm bath and an early night, Stuart had other ideas. He demanded sex and when she refused, he erupted in a rage, smashing ornaments and accusing her of sleeping with other people. She told him he was being ridiculous and that she was exhausted, that if he had to work three jobs he would feel the same. The pair began to argue and the noise woke up the children. Stuart was acting like a madman and when Marilyn told him to calm down he punched her so hard in the face, he shattered her nose and her body was sent flying into a wall, there was blood everywhere and she was in shock. The kids were hysterical.

The police were called and Stuart was ordered to pay £400 in compensation. He was told to stay away from Marilyn and for the next few weeks she didn't see or hear a word from him and it was bliss. She'd had enough of his jealous rages and breaking her nose was the final straw, she realised he wasn't the man that she thought he was. She started to focus on putting her life back together making a fresh start for her and the kids but Stuart Drury wasn't about to let that happen.

Continued in part two 

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