CLOSING IN ON THE KILLER OF CAROLINE
Cop leading investigation hails the influx of new information
“Day we knock on murderer’s door will be momentous and I believe that day will happen”
Police are moving nearer to finally snaring schoolgirl Caroline Glachan’s killer.
In a full and frank interview with the Lennox Herald, the cop leading the investigation into the 14-yearold’s death, has told us a dedicated team work daily on compiling the evidence which will prove crucial to getting justice for her family. Detective Superintendent Jim Kerr (inset) has been encouraged by the determination of police and scientists tasked with uncovering the vital clues which will help solve the crime which rocked the Vale community. Speaking about the investigation a year after the high-profile 20year anniversary reappeal, he said: “They are working away and appear optimistic as the weeks and months progress. I can’t think of any police officer who wouldn’t want to knock on a door and arrest the person who killed Caroline Glachan.”
The fact that we are still working on this one year later still inspires me. Those working on the case haven’t come back and said: ‘Sorry, there’s nothing we can do with this.’ DS Jim Kerr
Every day that passes, a dedicated team of police and scientists move closer to catching the killer of schoolgirl Caroline Glachan, the senior cop leading the investigation told the Lennox Herald this week.
And Detective Superintendent Jim Kerr can’t wait for the day one of his officers knocks on the door of the person who murdered the 14-year-old and brings them to justice.
One year on from a massive reappeal on the 20th anniversary of her death, police are closer than ever to finding the monster who took Caroline’s life and left her devastated mum without her beloved daughter and the Vale community in shock.
Since the huge publicity drive 12 months ago — which included an appearance on Crimewatch — forensic experts have been poring over items retrieved from the scene where the teenager’s body was found and have received 200 more pieces of information, including one from as far away as Australia, which they believe could help catch her killer.
And, according to DS Kerr, 30 of those calls are being treated with particular priority by officers.
He told the Lennox Herald: “The fact that we are sitting one year on and still working on it inspires me. Those working on the case have not come back and said: ‘Sorry, there’s nothing we can do with this’.
“They are still working away and appear fairly optimistic as the weeks and months progress.
“It’s an exciting area to be involved in. I can’t think of any police officer who wouldn’t want to knock on a door and arrest the person who killed Caroline Glachan.”
Caroline was discovered on the morning of August 25, 1996, the day of her mother’s 40th birthday, her body partially submerged in the River Leven.
The schoolgirl had been killed in a frenzied attack. A post-mortem later showed she was alive when she was dumped in the water and found no trace of drink or drugs in Caroline’s system. Her body was thrown in the river fully clothed apart from her shoes which had been removed and were still on the riverbank.
Caroline and best pal Joanne Menzies had spent the evening together before the teenager decided to meet her boyfriend shortly before midnight.
Someone heard a scream come from behind Vale of Leven Academy, on the banks of the river, an hour later.
The only clue they got was a man wearing a dark-hooded top who had been seen around there at the time. Witnesses claimed they spotted the teenager being followed by a stranger as she walked along the river bank.
At the time, police issued an artist’s impression of the man described as having sharp features and wearing a green hooded top.
They wanted to speak to him to help their enquiries but he has never come forward.
At the time, everything from the crime scene was retained by officers and carefully filed away.
In August last year, these files were opened up and sent to the forensic lab at the Scottish crime campus at Gartcosh, where experts leading the way in DNA evidence continue to examine them. There are dedicated staff working on the case every day and the team are updated on a weekly basis on the latest developments.
DS Kerr said: “We are thankful that police back in the day were fairly methodical with their evidence handling.
“Obviously the investigation is fairly meticulous in terms of what the scientists are doing and, because of that, they can’t give us timescales.
“Since the reappeal, we have had over 30 calls of particular interest to us in the last year, from as far as Australia.
“We are also continuing to review the original investigation and the review in 2002 to ensure that there’s no stone left unturned, something that may have been missed back in the day.
“We are deploying modern techniques. Forensics is important but it’s not the be all and end all.
“I still think there’s a bit of reticence in the community, some of them had thought that Caroline was involved in drugs and hanging about with the wrong people but, at the end of the day, a 14-year-old girl is dead.
“It was her mum’s 40th birthday when she was found and Margaret has had to live with that for the rest of her life.
“We still believe the answer lies in the community — but when we say that it’s the community of Renton and Bonhill from 1996 and not necessarily 2017.
“Somebody involved has gone back to a house dishevelled, probably with blood on them, certainly agitated and maybe out of breath.
“In the 21 years since that happened, somebody has confided in somebody.
“Some of the calls are of that nature and we need that information to move this case forward.”
According to DS Kerr, forensic evidence can work in conjunction with that of witnesses and finally help identify a suspect — and the lead investigator is optimistic that will happen given the examples of other cases.
In recent years, John Docherty was convicted of killing teenager Elaine Doyle in Greenock, 28 years after her murder.
DNA evidence led police to the former soldier, aged 52, from Dunoon who was then found guilty and jailed for a minimum of 21 years.
And the killer of Moira Anderson was identified almost 60 years after the 11-year-old disappeared without a trace.
In 2014, the Crown Office posthumously named convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore as Moira’s probable killer. Gartshore, who died in 2006 aged 85, admitted to his daughter Sandra he had been the last person to see Moira alive.
And DS Kerr admits that officers have thought that this could be a factor in Caroline’s case.
He said: “We have considered that the person may no longer be alive. I am not discounting that but not saying they are no longer with us. It would put Caroline’s family members at rest if we got the person that did it identified.”
Despite the progress in the case, police are always keen to hear from anyone with information on Caroline’s murder. Call 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org. police.uk, or call Crimestoppers to give details anonymously on
0800 555 111.
Tragic Caroline Glachan
21 years of agony Mum Margaret Closing the net Police believe new information can help them snare the killer of Caroline, 21 years on from the publication of an artist’s impression of a hooded man (above) police were keen to speak to but who never came forward
Footage A CCTV image of Caroline and Joanne on the night she was murdered
Heartbreaking Caroline was just 14 when she was found murdered in the River Leven