UK

Family of murder victim Emma Caldwell to meet Humza Yousaf

Margaret Caldwell, her family and their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, will meet Scotland’s First Minister.

The mother of murdered Emma Caldwell will meet First Minister Humza Yousaf on Tuesday and will attend further meetings with the chief constable of Police Scotland and the Lord Advocate to discuss the need for a public inquiry into the investigation of her killing.

Margaret Caldwell, her family and their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, will meet Mr Yousaf at Bute House on Tuesday afternoon.

They will then meet with Chief Constable Jo Farrell, of Police Scotland, on Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday morning, they will meet with Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain.

Mrs 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.

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

Last Wednesday, Iain Packer was jailed for life with a recommendation that he serve at least 36 years after being found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of murdering 27-year-old Emma in 2005 and of multiple offences involving other women.

However, Mrs Caldwell said an inquiry 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 newspaper 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.

“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”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has not ruled out a public inquiry
First Minister Humza Yousaf First Minister Humza Yousaf has not ruled out a public inquiry (Jane Barlow/PA)

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 Roberton, South Lanarkshire.

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.”

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)

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.”