UK

Emma Caldwell’s mother calls for criminal investigation into handling of case

Police Scotland has apologised to the family of Miss Caldwell and other victims of killer Iain Packer.

Margaret Caldwell. mother of Emma Caldwell, said there must be no further delay
Margaret Caldwell Margaret Caldwell. mother of Emma Caldwell, said there must be no further delay (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The mother of murdered Emma Caldwell has called for a criminal investigation into the handling of the case after it took almost 19 years to bring her daughter’s killer to justice.

Iain Packer was jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years on Wednesday after being found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of murdering the 27-year-old in 2005 and of multiple offences involving other women.

Miss Caldwell’s family have called for a public inquiry into failures by the authorities over the investigation of her murder in 2005.

However, her mother Margaret Caldwell said that could take many years to set up and is also calling for a criminal investigation led by an outside police force and steered by independent prosecutors to scrutinise the conduct of authorities, the Sunday Post reported.

Mrs Caldwell told the newspaper: “The only thing the Crown Office should have been announcing after the trial was an immediate and independent criminal investigation.

Emma Caldwell died in 2005
Emma Caldwell Emma Caldwell died in 2005 (Family Handout/PA)

“It is not just my family that needs reassurance about our justice system. Everyone in Scotland needs that reassurance.”

Packer was also convicted of 11 rapes and 21 further charges including sexual assaults and abduction, involving multiple women, over 26 years.

The Crown Office said that following a full independent investigation Crown Counsel concluded that there was “insufficient evidence of criminality on the part of any police officer involved in the investigation of Emma Caldwell’s murder”.

However, the Crown reserved the right to proceed in the future should further evidence become available, as in all cases.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has said a public inquiry into the investigation of Packer is “not off the table”.

He and Justice Secretary Angela Constance are due to meet Mrs Caldwell this week and the Crown Office said the Lord Advocate is also due to meet with Miss Caldwell’s family and their solicitor this week.

Mrs Caldwell welcomed the possibility of a public inquiry but said there can be no more delay.

She told the newspaper: “I was 57 when Emma died and I’m 78 now. How long must I wait to be told exactly who failed Emma and why?

“I have no patience for more talk and empty promises. Only actions count now.”

Police Scotland has apologised to the family of Miss Caldwell and Packer’s other victims, admitting they were “let down” by policing.

Miss Caldwell was reported missing by her family in April 2005 and her body was found the following month in Limefield Woods, near Biggar, South Lanarkshire.

Iain Packer was jailed for life at the High Court in Glasgow
Iain Packer Iain Packer was jailed for life at the High Court in Glasgow (Police Scotland/PA)

In 2015 a Sunday Mail newspaper story branded Packer “the forgotten suspect” and Police Scotland launched a re-investigation of the case that year following instruction from the Lord Advocate.

Mrs Caldwell said that her husband Willie died of cancer and “with a broken heart” in 2011 before seeing justice for his daughter.

She said her daughter always said she would come home and sort herself out, adding “every day it breaks my heart” that she never got the chance.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “This week the Lord Advocate will meet with Emma’s family and their solicitor to answer questions about the investigation and criminal proceedings.

“We feel that to respect this meeting it would not be appropriate to comment publicly on matters which should be discussed first with Emma’s family.

“However, we can confirm a previous statement that following a full independent investigation Crown Counsel concluded that there was insufficient evidence of criminality on the part of any police officer involved in the investigation of Emma Caldwell’s murder.

“As in all cases, the Crown reserved the right to proceed in the future should further evidence become available.”

Following Packer’s conviction on Wednesday, Assistant Chief Constable for major crime and public protection Bex Smith said: “Police Scotland launched a re-investigation 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 inquiry 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.”

Police said that, over seven years, a full review of the original inquiry by Strathclyde Police in 2005 was completed.

A spokesperson said: “As part of the re-investigation, a report was also sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in relation to the Strathclyde Police investigation.”