The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
Babour leader: Justice secretary must demand urgent review of 16-Year inquiry
Anas Sarwar yesterday called on the justice secretary to order an urgent review of the investigation into Emma Caldwell’s murder as a reopened inquiry into her death approaches its seventh year.
The leader of Scottish Labour urged Humza Yousaf to ask the Crown Office and Police Scotland what progress is being made in the investigation into a prime suspect exposed six years ago.
The justice secretary last week promised the SNP would appoint a victims’ commissioner if elected next month but Sarwar said the party has had 14 years to help and support victims and that Emma’s family deserve more than warm words and manifesto pledges.
He said: “The ordeal that Emma Caldwell’s family has had to endure has been utterly appalling. It’s time for the justice secretary to actively reconsider the case of the death of Emma Caldwell. That 16 years on still no one has been brought to justice is a failure not only of Emma and her family, but of the justice system itself.”
Emma disappeared after leaving the hostel where she was living on April 4, 2005. Her body would be found five weeks later, 30 miles away, in rural South Lanarkshire.
Iain Packer, 48, who has previously denied any involvement, was revealed as a forgotten suspect by a newspaper six years ago. Interviewed six times by detectives, Packer – who has convictions for violence against women and was only recently released after a two-year sentence for throttling a former partner
– was not spoken to again after directing detectives to the woods where Emma was found as officers focused the inquiry, which cost an estimated £4m, on four Turkish suspects. The case later collapsed.
The Scottish government said it was inappropriate to comment on a live inquiry, while the Crown Office said: “We appreciate the impact the duration of this investigation has had on Emma Caldwell’s family. A decision on whether or not there should be a prosecution can only be taken once all relevant investigations have been completed.”
Police Scotland said: “A significant amount of work has still to be carried out into what is a complex and challenging inquiry. Our thoughts remain with Emma’s family and we continue to provide them with regular updates.”
Emma’s mother, Margaret Caldwell, from Erskine, backed by The Sunday Post, has called for the forgotten suspect to be prosecuted to let a jury decide on his guilt or innocence. On Friday, the senior detective leading the reopened inquiry called Mrs Caldwell to say the investigation was being pursued diligently.