Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

Man found guilty of strangling sex worker before dumping her naked body in a ditch

A man has been convicted of murdering sex worker Emma Caldwell in 2005 after he was finally brought to justice despite major police failings.

Former sign fitter Iain Packer, 51, was found guilty of what the jury heard was the “execution” of the 27-year-old.

Emma, who spiralled into a life of heroin addiction after the sudden death of her sister, was lured from Glasgow’s red-light district, driven to remote woods 40 miles away, strangled and dumped naked in a ditch.

Iain Packer. Pic: BBC
Image: Iain Packer. Pic: BBC

Packer was a habitual user of sex workers in Glasgow in the 1990s – and admitted to police in the initial 2005 investigation that he had previously paid to take Emma to the forest for sex.

He was not arrested or charged for 17 years as officers wrongly focused on a group of Turkish men.

Packer faced 36 charges involving offences against 25 women and denied all the allegations against him at trial.

Emma’s mother, Margaret, told Sky News: “I feel as if I can breathe again that this man is gone.

“I hope he gets long enough [in jail] that he cannot harm anyone else.

“I did once ask them [the police] if they were biased because of what Emma did and they said it was like any other case. But they just wanted to get it over, put it in a drawer and forget about it.”

Limefield Woods, where Emma Caldwell was murdered in 2005. Pic: PA
Image: Limefield Woods, where Emma Caldwell was murdered. Pic: PA

The 76-year-old is still haunted by the moment she learned her daughter had been killed after desperately trying to get her clean from drugs in the weeks before her death.

She said: “It is absolutely devastating. The pain… you felt like someone was punching you in the chest. Someone had actually taken your child’s life. It was awful.

“It is my daughter, and I am going to stand up for her. It didn’t make any difference to me what she did.”

Margaret Cardwell
Image: Margaret Caldwell said she was determined to stand up for her daughter

A fresh set of cold case detectives re-examined the case in 2015 and they finally began to close in on Packer.

Sky News has learned other sex workers at the time raised concerns that Packer was sexually violent years before Ms Caldwell was killed.

The women, who have now rebuilt their lives, say they were ignored. One survivor was even arrested for prostitution after reporting Packer had attacked her.

They say police have “blood on their hands” and could have halted Packer in his tracks to block him from killing Ms Caldwell.

Emma Caldwell. Pic: Family handout
Image: Pic: Family photo

Asked if she agreed that the former sex workers had come to the right conclusion about the police’s handling of the case, Margaret said: “If it’s true that they know about Iain Packer and didn’t arrest him and didn’t deal with him, then yes.

“The first police investigation had gone wrong. I think they knew who it was quite early on in the investigation. And then it was shelved and nothing else was done about it.”

Margaret’s husband died from cancer before seeing justice for his daughter. He urged his loved ones to get to the truth in the moments before he passed away.

“I go on for Emma and my husband because he asked me to. They would both be urging me on and saying: ‘Well done mum,'” Margaret said.

Emma Caldwell. Pic: Family handout
Image: Emma was savagely killed. Pic: Family photo

The family and their legal team are now pushing for the police officers involved in their original botched investigation to be brought back and questioned as part of an inquiry.

Police Scotland is expected to respond in due course.

Sky News Source