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Iain Packer found guilty of strangling sex worker Emma Caldwell before dumping her naked body in a ditch | UK News

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
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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.

Following Packer’s conviction, Police Scotland issued an apology.

Assistant chief constable for major crime and public protection Bex Smith said: “Emma Caldwell, her family and many other victims, were let down by policing in 2005. For that we are sorry.

“A significant number of women and girls who showed remarkable courage to speak up at that time also did not get the justice and support they needed and deserved from Strathclyde Police.

“Police Scotland launched a reinvestigation of the case in 2015 after instruction from the Lord Advocate.

“It is clear that further investigations should have been carried out into Emma’s murder following the initial enquiry in 2005.

“The lack of investigation until 2015 caused unnecessary distress to her family and all those women who had come forward to report sexual violence.

“It is the courage, resilience and determination shown by Emma’s family, in particular her parents William and Margaret, and all those who survived Iain Packer’s horrific catalogue of offending that got us to where we are today.

“William is, sadly, no longer here to see this day, but I hope this verdict gives Margaret and all those affected by this case, the justice they deserve.”

Edinburgh care worker receives warning for going to work twice under the influence of alcohol | UK News

A care worker has been reprimanded for drinking alcohol hidden in a water bottle while on duty and later falling asleep on shift.

Sinead Collins has received a two-year warning on her registration for turning up to a residential care home twice under the influence of alcohol.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) said her bad behaviour occurred in June 2020 and December 2022 while working in Edinburgh as a deputy service manager at Share Scotland.

The SSSC found Collins’ fitness to practise impaired.

In a written ruling, the SSSC said: “During the first occasion, you proceeded to drink alcohol disguised in a water bottle while in your place of work.

“You also fell asleep while on shift and neglected your duties to the residents within the service.

“You put residents at risk of unnecessary harm, and it was only due to the actions of your colleagues that meant you were not allowed to work alone with residents and were in fact sent home.

“Acting in such a way falls below the standard that is expected of social service workers.”

Read more from Sky News:
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The SSSC said Collins had a good employment history but had not shown any insight or regret and had failed to apologise for her behaviour.

The care watchdog stated Collins had shown “poor judgment”, adding: “You abused the trust placed in you by your employer and the residents by attempting to work while you were under the influence of alcohol.”

The 24-month warning came into effect on Thursday.

Ashley Dale: Four men found guilty of murdering council worker who was shot dead in her garden | UK News

Four men have been found guilty of murdering council worker Ashley Dale.

The 28-year-old died after being found with a gunshot wound in the garden of her home in Liverpool in August last year.

A jury heard the intended target of the shooting was her boyfriend Lee Harrison – described in court as a drug dealer who was in a feud with a rival gang.

However, he wasn’t at the property at the time of the attack.

James Witham, 41, Joseph Peers, 29, Niall Barry, 26, and Sean Zeisz, 28, were found guilty of murdering Dale.

Ian Fitzgibbon was cleared of the charge.

The court heard a gunman fired eight bullets from a sub-machine gun towards Ms Dale and two at the ground – believed to be towards her dog.

He then went upstairs to a bedroom and fired five bullets into a wall “to send a firm message to Lee Harrison”, the prosecution said.

Despite being the principal target and losing his girlfriend, Harrison did not help the police investigation.

The feud that led to the murder reignited after a row at Glastonbury Festival earlier in the summer, the trial was told.

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Eileen Cotter death: DNA breakthrough sees pensioner John Apelgren convicted of killing sex worker almost 50 years later | UK News

A man has been convicted of murdering a woman nearly half a century ago following a DNA breakthrough.

John Apelgren hit sex worker Eileen Cotter in the face, strangled her and threw her body out of his car in Islington, north London, in 1974.

After interviewing 92 potential suspects at the time, the case went cold until DNA was found on Ms Cotter’s body in 2012.

Then, in 2019, there was a breakthrough when police took Apelgren’s DNA after he attacked his third wife – the sample was a match.

His ex-wife Anne also revealed she had been mistreated and that Apelgren had once grabbed her neck with both hands.

She told police she believed he was cheating just months after their 1972 marriage and later found out he was sleeping with her brother’s wife.

Ex-cab driver Apelgren, from Sydenham in south London, declined to give evidence at his Old Bailey trial.

However, after 11 hours of deliberations the jury found him guilty of manslaughter and indecent assault – but not guilty of murder.

Apelgren strangled and beat Eileen Cotter and pushed her body out his car
Image:
Apelgren strangled and beat Eileen Cotter and pushed her body out of his car

The court heard he was seen on the night of the killing at a Finsbury Park hotdog stall where Ms Cotter would often go.

The 22-year-old woman was later found near some garages, semi-naked with a black eye and bruising, and her underwear and tights had been pulled down.

A post-mortem examination found she died of strangulation.

Read more:
Mysterious ‘boy in the box’ cold case murder gets vital clue
This man was found dead in woodland 11 years ago

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy KC told the Old Bailey that Apelgren had sex with Ms Cotter before attacking and strangling her.

“Having killed her, he pushed her out of his car. Her body was discovered in the position it fell, without shoes, and with her tights and underwear still around her right leg.”

The trial also heard that the killing came two years after Apelgren allegedly indecently assaulted an 18-year-old guest at his own wedding.

Sentencing will take place at a later date.

Teen charged with assaulting emergency worker during protest outside Merseyside hotel housing asylum seekers | UK News

A teenager has been charged with assaulting an emergency worker during a protest outside a Merseyside hotel housing asylum seekers.

Fifteen people were arrested outside the Suites Hotel in Ribbers Lane, Prescot, on Friday evening as a police van was set on fire and missiles, including lit fireworks, were thrown at officers.

Jarad Skeete, 19, was among those held and has now been charged with violent disorder and assault by beating of an emergency worker.

Mr Skeete, with an address at Irwell Close in the Liverpool suburb of Aigburth, was remanded in custody and will appear at Wirral Adult Remand Court on Monday.

The remaining 14 people arrested at the protest have been conditionally bailed pending the outcome of police enquiries.

Two women and 12 men between the ages of 13 and 54 were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.

Merseyside Police is appealing for information but said in a statement today that “we would remind people to pass this information directly to police as social media speculation and comment can jeopardise live investigations”.

A demonstration outside the Suites Hotel turned violent on Friday evening when a police van was hit with hammers and set on fire.

Merseyside Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said officers had been made aware of rumours on social media prior to the protest about about an alleged incident “when a man made inappropriate advances towards a teenage girl”.

The chief constable however stressed that there was an investigation ongoing and warned that misinformation could harm its outcome.

Knowsley, Merseyside
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Knowsley, Merseyside

Politicians from all parties criticised the violence. Home secretary Suella Braverman condemned the “appalling disorder”, saying: “The alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers is never an excuse for violence and intimidation.”

Meanwhile, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The shameful and appalling scenes in Knowsley show how far-right groups are using social media to organise and promote violence.

“The Home Secretary is wrong to dismiss far-right threats for political reasons. Instead she should be championing vigilance against all kinds of extremism,” she said.