CLOS­ING IN ON THE KILLER OF CARO­LINE

Cop lead­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion hails the in­flux of new in­for­ma­tion

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Lor­raine Weir

“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 op­er­a­tionfair­ing@scot­land.pnn. 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

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