Stage show recalls a very mysterious death

Willie MacRae, whose death continues to spark debate
Willie MacRae, whose death continues to spark debate

Suicide or something more sinister? Thirty years on, the death of a nationalist and lawyer still fascinates.

Now Fifers have a chance to find out more as a Fringe play comes to town ...

The mysterious death of a nationalist and lawyer is the inspiration for a one-man play to be performed in Kirkcaldy.

‘Three Thousand Trees: The Death of Mr William MacRae’ looks back on a lingering mystery - a death that may have been suicide or foul play.

For 30 years it has sparked debate and many theories, and the play, by writer and actor Andy Paterson, takes the audience right back to 1985.

It will be introduced by SNP candidate Roger Mullin who knew MacRae well. He said: “Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, I’m delighted the play is coming to Kirkcaldy.

“Although dealing with a serious issue, there are moments of humour and music and the ending does leave open the opportunity to discuss a number of possibilities as to how Willie MacRae died.”

“He was a good man and a great lawyer and there are many theories as to how and why he met his end,” Roger added.

Although his death was recorded officially as suicide, talk of conspiracies continues to swirl around it, leading some people to believe there was foul play.

On April 5 1985, MacRae left his Glasgow flat to spend the weekend at his cottage in Ross-shire.

He was not seen again until the next morning when two Australian tourists spotted his car abandoned on a moor.

A stone cairm marks the spot near Loch Loyne where Willie McRae was found dying in his car in April 1985.

A stone cairm marks the spot near Loch Loyne where Willie McRae was found dying in his car in April 1985.

MacRae was discovered slumped inside, his hands folded in his lap.

He was still alive.

He was taken by ambulance to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, and then on to 
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where a nurse, while washing his head, noticed what appeared to be a gunshot entry wound.

An X-ray confirmed MacRae had been shot above his right ear and a bullet was lodged in his head.

He was a good man and a great lawyer and there are many theories as to how and why he met his end

Roger Mullin

His brain was severely damaged and his vital functions were very weak.

The next day, MacRae’s life-support machine was switched off.

Despite the suicide ruling, many believed he was murdered, due to a number of the case’s bizarre aspects, including the location of the gun when it was found and the investigations that MacRae was carrying out at the time into nuclear waste in Scotland.

The play is at the Old Kirk, Kirkcaldy, on Friday, March 20, at 7.25 p.m.

For tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com.