A serial killer and paedophile has been found guilty of raping and murdering two teenage girls 37 years ago.
Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, both 17, were brutally killed after a night out at Edinburgh’s World’s End pub on October 15 1977, with their bodies discovered the following day in East Lothian. They had been bound and strangled with their own underwear.
Angus Sinclair, 69, was today sentenced to 37 years in prison – the longest prison sentence in Scottish history – after a trial at the High Court in Livingston lasting five weeks.
The prosecution is the first under changes to Scotland’s double jeopardy law which meant he could be retried for their murders after the court case against him collapsed seven years ago.
Sinclair, a serial rapist who has been in jail for more than 30 years, was accused of carrying out the attacks with his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton, who died in 1996.
The jury of nine women and six men took less than two-and-a-half hours to convict Sinclair unanimously of both charges.
In reaching their verdict, jurors were unaware that Sinclair has already spent more than half of his life in prison.
He was just 16 when he strangled seven-year-old Catherine Reehill in Glasgow in 1961, later pleading guilty to a charge of culpable homicide and serving six years.
In 1982 he was convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh of a string of sex attacks on 11 young girls – including three rapes.
While still in prison, he was given a life sentence in 2001 for the murder of 17-year-old Mary Gallacher, who was raped and stabbed in Glasgow in 1978.
The case, which became known as the World’s End murders, was for decades one of Scotland’s highest-profile unsolved crimes.
The discovery of the girls’ bodies on October 16 1977, dumped in remote locations around five miles apart from each other, conveyed the unimaginable horror they suffered at the end of their all-too-short lives.
Christine’s naked body was found at around 2.25pm that day at Gosford Bay, Aberlady. She had a ligature around her neck, her mouth was gagged with a pair of pants and her wrists had been tied behind her back.
She had been punched and kicked on her head and body, bitten, raped, bound and strangled.
Helen’s partially-clothed body, discovered at around 6pm, had been dumped in a wheat field at the Huntington to Coates road, near Haddington.
Her hands were also tied behind her back and a ligature made from a belt and a pair of tights had been used around her neck.
Raped, bound and throttled, she too had been punched and kicked, and her head had been stamped on.
She might have been forced to walk barefoot into the field where she was found dead.
Days into the trial, the jury of nine women and six men would return to the isolated spots where the girls’ bodies had been left, 37 years on from the brutal killings.
The court was told about the “terrible and life-changing” effect the murder had on Helen’s family.
Her father told the court his wife Margaret, who died in 1989, was never the same again after their daughter’s death.
Morain Scott, 84, said the death of his daughter marked the start of his wife’s ill health, while he has lived with the loss for more than 30 years and has “just kept going”.
In the words of the prosecutor Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, as the girls begged to be freed, Sinclair and Hamilton ended their lives “like something that was wiped off a shoe”.