In June 2004, the city of Glasgow in Scotland witnessed one of its most horrific crimes when 8-year-old Mark Cummings went missing while playing outside his house. While Mark’s parents knew that foul play was involved because he had failed to come home for dinner, their fears were confirmed when an apartment concierge found Mark’s body a few hours later. Netflix’s ‘When Missing Turns to Murder: Mark Cummings’ chronicles the gruesome incident and even portrays how the 8-year-old’s murderer was brought to justice. Let’s delve into the details surrounding the crime and find out more, shall we?
How Did Mark Cummings Die?
A resident of the Royston neighborhood of Glasgow, Mark Cummings was only 8-years-old at the time of his death. People who knew Mark described him as a lively and cheerful young boy who shared an excellent relationship with his parents and did quite well in school. Moreover, like most kids his age, Mark loved spending time with his friends and would often stay out playing soccer with them in the streets. Yet, his mother insisted that the 8-year-old always knew not to venture too far and return on time for his meals. That is why his parents immediately suspected foul play when Mark failed to come home for dinner on an evening in June 2004.
On June 25, 2004, Mark was out playing soccer with his friends as usual while his mother prepared dinner back home. However, even with dinner time fast approaching, there was no sign of the 8-year-old. This naturally left the mother extremely concerned as Mark was pretty well-behaved, and it wasn’t like him to not return on time for meals. On top of it, she even stepped out to look for her son but could not find him or his friends anywhere nearby. Hence, anxious and worried, Mark’s mother eventually called the police and informed them about the situation. Once law enforcement officers took over the investigation, they organized several search teams along with local volunteers in order to look for Mark.
On top of it, police brought in extra officers, a team of sniffer dogs, and even a helicopter, but to no avail. Mark remained missing for several hours while his loved ones were fraught with worry. Eventually, a little after 11 pm on June 25, a concierge at a local apartment building was clearing out the garbage when he found one of the bags to be heavier. However, the concierge had no idea about the horror awaiting him as he discovered a naked and battered body of a small child inside. From there, it did not take long for the police to identify the remains as Mark’s, and an autopsy determined that the 8-year-old was beaten and sexually assaulted before being strangled to death.
Who Killed Mark Cummings?
Since Mark was found in the garbage chute of an apartment building, most of the tenants were considered a suspect initially. However, within no time, the police traced the garbage bag to a specific apartment and discovered that it belonged to one Stuart Leggate. While this made Stuart the primary suspect in the investigation, the police were even more convinced about his guilty after learning about his criminal history. According to reports, Stuart got in trouble with the law for the first time at the age of 16 when he was convicted and sent to prison for shameless indecency.
Moreover, in 1995, he was convicted of assaulting a nine-year-old child, and in 1997, Stuart was added to the sex offender’s registry after being convicted of sexually assaulting three different children. Nevertheless, when the police began hunting for Stuart Leggate in connection to Mark’s murder, the suspect was nowhere to be found initially. Hence, officers waited until Stuart returned to his apartment before taking him down to the station for questioning. Surprisingly, at the police station, Stuart made no effort to hide his guilt as he confessed to sexually assaulting and strangling Mark Cummings.
In fact, Stuart mentioned that after luring Mark to his apartment with a promise to show him a few video games, he pushed the child into a bedroom and began assaulting him violently. However, once he realized that Mark would remain uncooperative throughout, he strangled the child with a pair of trousers and dumped his body in the garbage chute. Shortly after, Stuart drove to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where he threw away the trousers and a bloodied towel that could incriminate him in the crime. However, armed with a complete confession from the suspect, the police had a solid case for a trial, and they immediately arrested Stuart Leggate for the murder of Mark Cummings.
Where Is Stuart Leggate Now?
When presented in court, Stuart Leggate accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and strangling Mark Cummings. As a result, the judge considered his previous convictions and sentenced Stuart to life in prison with a minimum of 20 years in 2004. On top of it, the judge also addressed the suspect during the sentencing and insisted that the public needed to be kept safe from him for a long time. Hence, with Stuart still not eligible for parole, he remains behind bars in a UK prison while Mark’s mother is campaigning for people’s right to access information about high-risk sex offenders living in their neighborhood.