World's End murder trial jury sworn in
LAW CORRESPONDENT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
THE trial of a 62-year-old man accused of raping and murdering two teenage girls nearly 30 years ago began yesterday at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The case became known as the World's End murders because the girls went missing after a night out at a pub of that name in the Scottish capital.
Angus Sinclair has denied attacking and killing Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, who were both aged 17. Their bodies were found in separate places in East Lothian in October 1977.
Mr Sinclair has lodged a special defence incriminating his brother-in-law, Gordon Hamilton, who is now dead. He also maintains in a special defence that any sexual contact with the girls was with their consent.
In opening remarks to the nine women and six men of the jury, the judge, Lord Clarke, warned them to put out of their minds all publicity surrounding the case over the years.
He said: "Your function is to listen to the evidence and decide whether the charges have been proved or not. You are here as judges, not detectives. You do not make investigations or inquiries on your own."
The first witness is due to give evidence today.
On 15 October, 1977, Ms Eadie and Ms Scott were seen leaving the World's End pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Their bodies were discovered six miles apart, at Gosford Bay and Haddington, the following day.
Sinclair, bespectacled and balding with short grey hair, wore jeans, a white T-shirt and a black zipped top, as he sat between two security officers in the dock. It is a seat he is expected to occupy for the next six weeks.
The indictment he faces contains two charges, each claiming that he acted with Gordon Hamilton. Sinclair was 32 at the time, and Hamilton was 22.
The first charge alleges that in the High Street or St Mary's Street, Edinburgh, Sinclair induced or compelled Christine Eadie to enter a vehicle and detained her in it against her will.
She was taken to Gosford Bay, Aberlady, it is claimed, and there, or at some other unknown location, she was assaulted by being repeatedly punched and kicked, before being stripped and gagged with her underpants, and had a ligature applied around her wrists and neck.
According to the indictment, Ms Eadie was raped and her neck was compressed and her breathing restricted, and she was murdered. Sinclair is also said to have robbed her of a handbag and its contents, and some clothing.
The second charge, in similar terms, relates to Helen Scott. She is said to have been conveyed in a vehicle to the Huntingdon-Coates road, near Haddington, and in a field there, or at some other unknown location, she was beaten, including having her head stamped on, before being stripped and gagged with her underpants.
Again, it is alleged that Ms Scott was bound at the wrists and neck, and was raped, her neck was compressed and she was murdered. She, too, was robbed of a handbag and contents, and a quantity of clothing.
In his special defence, Sinclair says that "if any sexual relations took place, they did so with consent".
And in a notice of incrimination, his lawyers state: "He may lead evidence calculated to exculpate himself by incriminating Gordon Hamilton."
Lord Clarke told the jurors that it was an unusual situation to have charges which were alleged to have been committed almost 30 years ago. He said they had been referred to as the "World's End murders", and there had been publicity at the time and on other occasions over the years since 1977.
"Because of that, I must warn you, if to any extent any of you have read, seen or heard any such material and it has remained to any extent in your mind, you must put it out of your mind completely when carrying out your function as a juror," said Lord Clarke.
"The oath you have taken is to arrive at a true verdict according to the evidence. It must not be arrived at by having regard to anything else.
"As well as what you may have seen, read or heard in the past, you must not allow your decision to be influenced by any media coverage of the trial. Nor in any circumstances should you yourself seek out any information or comments regarding the circumstances of the case that may have been produced over the years whether in books, articles or internet sources.
"The reason I am giving you these solemn warnings is that our system relies on juries coming to their decision only on evidence that has been aired in court and tested openly in court. Any failure by any of you to follow my instructions could seriously affect the proper conduct of the trial. I must ask you to comply strictly with these instructions."
The trial continues.
Hip op takes Lothians police chief away from crime fight
Published Date: 24 June 2008
By ALAN McEWEN Scotsman
CHIEF CONSTABLE David Strang is to go on sick leave for two months to undergo a hip replacement operation.
The 50-year-old is expected to be absent from August 8, leaving his second-in-command in charge of the Lothian and Borders force.
His deputy, Tom Halpin, will step into the post of temporary chief constable until Mr Strang's return.
It is understood Mr Strang is undergoing the operation to replace a hip due to long-term "wear and tear", as opposed to an injury.
Mr Halpin will run the force on a day-to-day basis, although it is believed he will continue to consult with his boss over any major decisions.
The chief's constable's absence from his post will see a number of senior officers step up the ranks on a temporary basis.
Mr Strang said: "During my short period of absence I have every confidence that all members of the force executive will deal with the new challenges their posts bring, with the professionalism and diligence they display in their current roles." Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Fiona Taylor is set to become the highest ranking female officer in the force's history.
She will be made an assistant chief constable on a temporary basis to replace Neil Richardson, who will leave on July 20 to take up the role of deputy chief constable with Strathclyde Police.
Chief Supt Taylor is likely to be in the running for the job on a permanent basis, with applicants being shortlisted this summer to take over in October.
At a recent meeting of the police board, councillors were asked to approve the structure for Mr Strang's self-assessment bonus scheme.
The range of bonus payments is between five and ten per cent of his annual salary of £131,000.
The "personal performance report" will see Mr Strang rate himself against targets such as working with partner agencies, maximising the use of his budget and moving the force from "reactive" to "preventative" policing.
Members of the police board will then decide whether he achieved the objectives before setting his cash award using a sliding scale.
Councillor Iain Whyte, convener of the police board, said: "Tom is a very capable officer with long experience both with Lothian and Borders and other forces.
"I have every confidence in him to carry out the role while the chief constable recovers from his operation.
"I would expect Mr Halpin to run everything on a day-to-day basis, but I'm sure if there is a major decision to be made then he will be able to consult with Mr Strang."
Mr Strang joined the Metropolitan Police in 1980 and worked as a uniform officer before being promoted to CID.
In July 1998 he began a three-year stint as assistant chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police before being appointed chief constable of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary in 2001.
He took up the top job at Fettes after the departure of Paddy Tomkins in March last year.
**** to be moved to news section in L&B later*******
Edited by Tom, 22 July 2008 - 08:53 AM.