Friday, 30 December 2016

Solved at last - The World's End Murders

Christine Eadie and Helen Scott 

It sounds like something out of a horror movie. Two best pals go out for a drink together. The 17-year-olds are having such a great time they didn't leave until closing time.

It was October 1977 and the two best pals were called Christine Eadie and Helen Scott.

That pub was called The World's End pub in Edinburgh's Old Town and for two teenage friends it would be the last time they were seen alive. After they left, Helen and Christine were never seen alive again.

This case has haunted me ever since I first heard about it. I just couldn't understand why two young women with their whole lives ahead of them who did the safe thing that all girls are told to do by their parents and stick together, in a busy, public place could still come to such harm.

What made it worse was that years went by and their killer/killers weren't found. How could that happen in any decent society?

The next day, Christine's naked body was discovered in Gosford Bay, East Lothian, by people out walking. Helen's naked body was found in a field.

Both girls had suffered horrendously before they died. They'd been brutally beaten, gagged, tied up, raped and strangled. Their bodies were just left out in the open and they were naked, showing the callous disregard their killer had for them. Covering up bodies normally suggests remorse.

Heartbreakingly, the two dead best friends were found six miles apart.

The police even staged a reconstruction

The police diligently came up with a list of 500 suspects and took over 13,000 statements from the public. But despite their efforts, the killer or killers were never apprehended. Witnesses said they'd seen the girls with two men, but despite appeals from the police the men were never traced.

Police knew they were looking for two men as different type of knots were used to tie up Christine and Helen.

A breakthrough came in 1997 when the police's cold case unit decided that further forensic work needed to be undertaken in the case and they found the DNA profile of a man, discovered on both girls. Unfortunately all 500 suspects were eliminated.

It wasn't until 2004 after the DNA was retested that they got a match to Edinburgh man Angus Sinclair.

He stood trial in 2007 for the World's End murders but the case collapsed due to insufficient evidence. 

It wasn't until he was convicted after a trial in 2014 that tragic Christine and Helen got justice at last. And it finally came out what a truly loathsome individual Sinclair was and he was dubbed Scotland's Worst Serial Killer.

He carried out the crimes with accomplice Gordon Hamilton, his late brother-in-law, who died in 1996 without facing justice. Both men's DNA was found on one of the young women.

Tragically, Christine and Helen might not have died if Sinclair had been arrested a few weeks before their murder after Patricia Wallace told police he tried to abduct her by dragging her into a caravanette. It was the same one tragic Helen and Christine had been taken to.

Read her story here

Vile Angus Sinclair

Sinclair's record -

1961 - aged 16,  convicted of raping and strangling neighbour Catherine Reehill, 8. He phoned for an ambulance himself saying, "A wee girl fell down the stairs."

1977 - Believed to have murdered six women in 7 months, including Helen and Christine.

1978 - murdered 17-year-old Mary Gallacher.

1978 - guilty of raping and sexually assaulting eleven children aged 6-14

2001 - Convicted of murdering Mary Gallacher, 17.

2014 - Justice at last for Helen and Christine as despicable Sinclair gets given 37 years, the longest sentence ever handed down by a Scottish court. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Truth is always stranger than fiction - Bible John - Glasgow's unsolved murders

Who was Bible John? 

In Vile City, a serial killer is going around Glasgow abducting and killing young women. The press have dubbed this killer the Glasgow Grabber.

In real life, Glasgow's most notorious serial killer is a man who has never been caught. Someone who's nickname even today, sends terror throughout the city. 

A good looking, well dressed, soft spoken man who was given the name Bible John because he said his name was John and he quoted from the bible. 

He's believed to have murdered three women in Glasgow between between 1968 and 1969 that he'd met at the city's Barrowland ballroom. All three victims - nurse Patricia Docker, mum of three Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock - were raped and strangled with their own stockings and their handbags were taken. 

What makes Bible John so unusual is that he shared a taxi with one of his victims (his 3rd and last know victim), Helen Puttock and her sister Jean and happily chatted away to them. Jean also invited another man to share the cab with them too (despite appeals, he never came forward). That left two people - the sister and the taxi driver - who could have identified him.

It was because of that taxi ride that the police managed to get so much information on the killer, including developing a psychological profile and a photofit. By all accounts, Bible John was an extremely polite and easy going companion.

The sister Jean got off at her stop, leaving tragic Helen Puttock alone with Bible John. 

Poor Helen was found raped, beaten and strangled in the garden of her own flat the next morning. She'd put up a fight and there were grass stains on her feet showing that she'd tried to run. Her handbag was missing and police think her killer took it as a trophy. 

A man was later spotted with his face covered in scratches and in a rumpled state on a bus heading into the city centre. Whenever that was Bible John or not, its impossible to tell. 

Was Bible John's motive misogyny? 

One facet of the crimes that shocked Glasgow were that all three women were menstruating at the time they were brutally murdered, suggesting a hint of misogyny to the murders. Or was it a case of he wanted to have sex with the women, but saw them as unclean? Who knows what goes inside the head of such a warped individual? 

Bible John has never been found. Like other infamous killers who escaped justice, theories abound about Bible John's whereabouts and his identity. but the one person who may have been able to identify him, tragic Helen Puttock's sister Jean, has long since passed away. 

One belief is that the well spoken man who recited from the bible, may have gone overseas to work as a missionary which would explain why the murders abruptly stopped. Could he have carried on his killing spree undetected abroad, perhaps in Africa?

There are other theories such as that Bible John joined the army or was a police officer (apparently the way he was dressed was the way members of Her Majesty's Constabulary dressed at the time). 

Is evil Peter Tobin Bible John? 

A young Peter Tobin next to a photofit of Bible John 

Evil killer Peter Tobin, who has been convicted of three murders and who is believed to behind many more, has also been linked to the killings as there are those who think he resembles the Bible John photofit.  The name Helen Puttock's sister said Bible John gave them was also similar to one of Tobin's known aliases.

Is Peter Tobin Bible John? 

However the man who probably knows him best and who brought him to justice, retired DCI David Swindle believes there's no evidence to link Tobin with the crime. 

Tobin's victims were all very different from Bible John's who murdered grown women.

Tobin's victims could be described almost as children - Vicky Hamilton, 15, Dinah MacNicol, 18 and Angelika Kluk who although she was 23 looked much younger and was living a long way away from her Polish homeland when Tobin who was working as a caretaker at the church where she was staying raped and murdered her.

It seems like we'll never know the true identity of the monster who held Glasgow in a grip of terror and destroyed three families' lives forever.

You'll need to read Vile City when it's published next year by Caffeine Nights to find out if DI Waddell and his team catch the man they are after, the man dubbed the Glasgow Grabber. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Happy dance time - Vile City gets a publication date


Today it's happy dance time as the wonderful Darren Laws at Caffeine Nights has told me that Vile City will be published on May 11th, 2017. 

It's the first novel featuring tough Glasgow detective Duncan Waddell who is fast starting to despise the city he loves because of all the horrors he sees. 

I'm over the moon that my novel will finally see the light of day. 

It's been a long and winding road for Vile City. 

In 2013, I won the Scottish Association of Writers award for a novel and was delighted to win the Pitlochry Quaich ( a quaich is a Scottish drinking cup). 

The battle to find a publisher began and over the years I improved Vile city. 

Why Detective in a Coma? 

I've dubbed the book the first in the Detective in a Coma series. When I was writing the book and then re-writing it, one character wouldn't stop talking to me. A peripheral character called Stevie Campbell. 

He was a colleague and friend of Duncan Waddell and he'd been in a coma since he'd been attacked by a suspect and left bleeding to death. 

Tony Soprano spoke to his therapist, Waddell speaks to his friend who's in a coma. What's surprising is that Stevie talks back to him, but only when no one else is in the room.

Has Waddell gone mad? Or is Stevie playing mind games?

You can decided when you read Vile City when it comes out on May 11th, 2017. 

You can read an extract from Vile City here.