March 2019

Serial killer and rapist dies in prison aged 73


Serial killer and rapist Angus Sinclair who was convicted of the notorious World’s End murders in Scotland, has died in prison aged 73.

Sources confirmed he died overnight at HMP Glenochil in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

Sinclair had spent more than half his life behind bars for killing four girls as well as for a string of sex attacks on young children.

But detectives suspect he could have been behind several unsolved murders from the 1970s.

Sinclair, who grew up in Glasgow, was 16 when he carried out his first killing in 1961.

He raped and strangled seven-year old neighbour Catherine Reehill before disposing of her body.

However, he was released in his early 20s after serving just six years.

In 1977, six women disappeared after nights out, and were found dumped on deserted farmland or waste ground.

Four of the victims – Frances Barker, Hilda McAuley, Agnes Cooney and Anna Kenny – were killed in Glasgow.

Teenagers Helen Scott and Christine Eadie went missing after last being seen at the World’s End pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in October 1977.

They were found dead six miles apart in the East Lothian countryside the next day.

Despite the biggest manhunt in Scottish police history, the identity of their killer remained a mystery for decades.

The women Sinclair was convicted of killing

Catherine Reehill, seven
Christine Eadie, 17
Helen Scott, 17
Mary Gallacher, 17

The women Sinclair is suspected to have killed

Frances Barker, 37
Hilda McAuley, 36
Agnes Cooney, 23
Anna Kenny, 20

In 1982, Sinclair was jailed for life after he admitted 11 charges of rape and indecent assault.

Almost 20 years later, when he was being prepared for parole, a cold case review revealed that Sinclair’s DNA had been found on Mary Gallacher – who was murdered in Glasgow in 1978.

He was given another life sentence after being found guilty of her murder.

Following that case, police began to examine the link between Sinclair and several other unsolved cases.

Scientific advances put Sinclair in the frame for the World’s End murders.

He first stood trial in 2007, accused of killing Christine Eadie and Helen Scott.

However, the case collapsed due to insufficient evidence.

But following a change to Scotland’s double jeopardy law, Sinclair was prosecuted a second time and found guilty of the murders in 2014.

The sentencing judge described Sinclair as a dangerous predator capable of sinking to the depths of depravity, and said the words “evil” and “monster” were inadequate for him.

In 2014 Sinclair’s case made legal history when he was jailed for a minimum of 37 years for the murder of two teenage girls four decades before.

The jail term was the longest handed out by a Scottish court, and meant Sinclair would have been 106 by the time he was eligible for parole.

November 2014

Convicted serial killer and paedophile jailed for a minimum of 37 years

Convicted killer and paedophile Angus Sinclair has been jailed for a minimum of 37 years for the rape and murder of two teenage girls in Scotland in 1977.

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.

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.

Judge Lord Matthews described Sinclair as a “dangerous predator” who has “not displayed one ounce of remorse” for the murders, in which the victims were bound and strangled with their own underwear.

The girls’ bodies were discovered in East Lothian the day after their deaths. They had been dumped in remote locations around five miles apart from each other.

The change to Scotland’s double jeopardy law in 2011 meant Sinclair could be retried for the teenagers’ murders after the court case against him collapsed seven years ago.

The serial rapist, who has been in jail for more than 30 years, was convicted of carrying out the attacks with his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton, who died in 1996.

The jury of nine women and six men – who were unaware of Sinclair’s previous offences – took less than two-and-a-half hours to convict him unanimously of both charges after a five-week trial at the High Court in Livingston.

Sinclair was just 16 when he strangled seven-year-old Catherine Reehill in Glasgow in 1961.

He later pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide and served six years.In 1982 he was convicted at Edinburgh’s High Court of a string of sex attacks on 11 young girls, including three rapes.

He was later given a life sentence in 2001 – while still in prison – for the murder of 17-year-old Mary Gallacher, who was raped and stabbed in Glasgow in 1978.

Sinclair is still suspected of at least three more unsolved murders.


Angus Robertson Sinclair – a life of abuse, rape and murder

  • 1959 – stole an offertory box from a Glasgow church, aged 13

  • 1959 – housebreaking charge

  • 1961 – committed lewd and libidinous practices on an eight-year-old girl. Sentenced to three years’ probation

  • 1961 – convicted of killing Catherine Reehill, aged seven. Sentenced to 10 years in prison. Serves six years

  • 1970 – marries trainee nurse Sarah Hamilton (Gordon Hamilton’s sister) and has a son two years later

  • 1977 – thought to have murdered six women within seven months. Frances Barker, 37, Hilda McAuley, 36, Agnes Cooney, 23, and Anna Kenny, 20, all from Glasgow and Christine Eadie and Helen Scott from Edinburgh

  • 1978 – murdered 17-year-old Mary Gallacher in Glasgow

  • 1980 – illegal possession of a .22 calibre revolver

  • 1982 – pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault of 11 children aged six to 14. Sentenced to life in prison

  • 2000 – cold case review of 1978 Mary Gallacher murder

  • 2001 – convicted of the murder of Mary Gallacher

  • 2007 – trial for murders of Christine Eadie and Helen Scott collapses

  • 2014 – retrial finds Sinclair guilty of World’s End murders

Angus Sinclair has been branded “Scotland’s most dangerous serial killer” who has taken four lives and is suspected to be responsible for three more murders.

It puts him in the same category as infamous Scottish murderers Peter Tobin, Dennis Nilson and Peter Manuel, with some believing his death toll would have been much higher had he not been jailed in 1982.

Sinclair started killing when he was just 16 years old, luring seven-year-old Catherine Reehill into his house in Glasgow before sexually abusing and strangling her. He then threw her body down the stairs and said her death had been an accident.

He pleaded guilty to culpable homicide for the 1961 killing and was sent to prison for ten years.

The judge in this case said Sinclair was “callous, cunning and wicked” and no young girl would be safe with him around.

In 1968, Sinclair was freed and put under supervision for three years. He moved to Edinburgh where he met his wife Sarah and they married in 1970 before the family moved back to Glasgow.

While he seemed to settle down into family life, in reality Sinclair started a killing spree in 1977, targeting young women.

In 1982, a series of sex attacks were carried out on young girls in the Govan area of Glasgow.

They would be asked to deliver a message to a tenement before their attacker followed them into the close and sexually assaulted them.

One child who managed to escape identified Sinclair as the man who tried to attack her.

He was brought in for questioning by detective inspector Joe Jackson, who has now retired. The police officer was convinced Sinclair had carried out more crimes but could not prove it.

Mr Jackson said: “When I got him I put a message out across Scotland hoping other people who had crimes would come forward and we could have a go at solving those as well but unfortunately no one came forward.

“I really did feel this guy had done other crimes which he would not admit unless I had some other proof.”

Mr Jackson only managed to get Sinclair to admit to his crimes with the help of his wife, Sarah.

He said: “He was very reticent at first and it took a wee while to get him to admit it. The way I did it was by getting his wife in, I read the charges out in front of her and she said ‘if you have done this tell the man’. His wife was totally horrified by it.”

Mr Jackson believes catching Sinclair in 1982 prevented him from carrying out more crimes.

He said: “I think we would have been looking at more rapes and more murders. I don’t doubt that because this guy just wouldn’t stop.”

Sinclair was jailed for life in 1982 for the attacks on 11 victims aged between three and 14. The judge recommended he should never be released.

Although he was in prison for life, it was not until DNA testing developed that Sinclair’s murders caught up with him.

He was about to apply for parole when police reopened the case of Mary Gallacher and got a DNA match with Sinclair.

The 17-year-old had been sexually assaulted and had her throat cut before her body was dumped on waste ground near a train station in Springburn, Glasgow in 1978.

In 2001, Sinclair was given his second life sentence for her murder.

Three years later, DNA linked him to Helen Scott and Christine Eadie’s murders for the first time.

The serial killer and his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton attacked the girls after they left the World’s End on the Royal Mile.


The caravanette where the girls were murdered

The girls were raped in Sinclair’s caravanette before being taken to East Lothian where they were tortured, strangled to death and their bodies dumped.

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, said the girls were most likely attacked at a car park at Longniddry Bents.

Mr Mulholland said: “Although we can never prove it, I suspect what happened to the girls happened within Sinclair’s vehicle within this car park. I have no doubt they were attacked within the vehicle at this particular spot.

“It certainly fits in with timing that this happened over a number of hours unfortunately which just increases the horror of it I think.

“There’s evidence Helen Scott was alive when entering the field. She must have seen her friend being murdered and known that she was walking to her death.

“Both girls suffered a horrific death I think that’s self-evident from the nature of both murders so that’s you feel for what those girls went through that night I supposed that’s what’s driven me over the years.

“My only regret in all of this is that Gordon Hamilton died before he could be brought to justice.”

Hamilton drank himself to death in 1996.

Allan Jones, a retired detective superintendent who was the lead officer on the case from 1998 to 2012, believes in a way Hamilton was punished for the murders.

He said: “His life spiralled out of control after 1977 and he died an ignominious death in 1996, so in some way he was punished for what he did. He literally drank himself to death.”

The police officer is among those who believe Sinclair is responsible for the deaths of three other women in Glasgow in 1977.

Anna Kenny, 20, was found dead in Argyll in August, Hilda McAuley, 36, was discovered in Renfrewshire in October and Agnes Cooney, 23, from Lanarkshire was dumped on moorland in Airdrie in December. All three girls went missing after a night out.

With no evidence preserved, police have never been able to prove who killed them.

Mr Jones said: “He’s Scotland’s most dangerous serial killer – in that period of 1977 many women met their deaths at the hands of Angus Sinclair.

“There can be no doubt that he’s been one of the most dangerous criminals that’s ever been at large in Scotland.

“I’ve never come across anybody like him. I’ve spoken to him personally, he’s very personable, polite.

“But I know right from a very early age he’s been a conniving, evil individual, he’s sexually motivated.

“That’s never left him – there’s something behind the eyes that tell you he’s a dangerous individual and even at the age of 69 he’s a dangerous individual that can never be at large in society.”

Mr Jones is not alone in believing Sinclair is responsible for more murders.

Tom Wood, the retired deputy chief constable who was in charge of Operation Trinity looking at the unsolved Glasgow murders, is of the same opinion.

He said: “I have no doubt about it, Sinclair is a disgraceful human being, he doesn’t deserve our attention. I believe he has been responsible for other major crimes and we may never know the full extent of his offending.”

December 2009

SEX monster Angus Sinclair was let out of jail to sell toys to children.

Bosses at Peterhead jail let the psychopathic killer and paedophile come face to face with kids as he ran a toy stall in a sleepy fishing village.

Angus Sinclair, widely regarded as one of the most dangerous murderers in Scotland, was unsupervised for much of his weekend release.

One of his victims was an eight-year-old girl.

Sinclair’s shocking jaunt in Portsoy, Banffshire, is revealed in a new BBC documentary which names him as the likely killer of EIGHT women.

His convictions

Sinclair’s first brush with the law was when he was 13 when he stole from a Glasgow church. He received 12 months’ probation for the crime, committed in 1959. Later that year Sinclair appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on a housebreaking charge, for which he was later found innocent.

1961, 16 year old Sinclair’s life of crime took a new twist when he was found guilty of lewd behaviour against an 8 year old girl, he was given three years’ probation. Seven months into that probationary period he murdered for the first time.

Catherine Reehill was eight years old in 1961, when Sinclair sexually assaulted and strangled her at his home.

He threw her body down a stairwell and told the little girl’s mother that the death had been anaccident.

After being questioned by detectives Sinclair confessed to culpable homicide and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

While in Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison serving his sentence for Catherine’s murder, he trained as a painter and decorator.

1970 he married trainee nurse Sarah McCulloch in Edinburgh and two years later they had a son Gary whom they brought up in Glasgow.

1980 he had a short spell in prison for illegally possessing a .22 calibre revolver and ammunition. Police investigations found he had committed a string of indecent assaults and rapes against boys and girls aged between eight and 11.

1982 he pleaded guilty to 11 charges and was sentenced to life in prison.

2000, Police did a cold case review of the unsolved murder of Mary Gallagher, which had happened in November 1978.

She had been dragged into bushes, sexually assaulted, had had her throat cut and had a ligature round her neck. Among the forensic files there was a sample of semen which was DNA tested and showed a profile matching Sinclair’s.

June 2001 He was convicted of the murder and received a further life sentence.

October 2006 Sinclair appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of raping and murdering Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, the Worlds end killings. The charges alleged he acted with his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton who died in 1996.

27th August 2007 – The trial begins at the high court in Edinburgh,

10th September 2007 – trial collapses.

Sinclair had denied attacking and killing 17-year-olds Christine Eadie and Helen Scott in what became known as the World’s End murders case. Judge Lord Clarke said the Crown had insufficient evidence to proceed.

Phillip English, the former social work boss at Peterhead prison, told the programme he was horrified when he learned Sinclair had been allowed to sell toys he made in prison at Portsoy’s annual boat festival.

He said: “I learned about the fact that Mr Sinclair went to the festival some time after it had taken place.

“I was very concerned. I had a very full and frank discussion with the governor at the time and made my position very clear.

“From the social work perspective, we were very deeply concerned about this and made our feelings known to the prison service.”

A prison spokesman said the rules on letting sex beasts out on temporary release had been toughened up since Sinclair’s chilling excursion in 1994.

He insisted: “The regime now in place applies an extremely rigorous risk assessment for any temporary release from custody.”

Sinclair, 64, is still in Peterhead, serving life for two killings and multiple rapes.

The beast, who enjoyed strangling cats, raped and strangled Catherine Reehill, eight, in Glasgow when he was only 16.

Then, after he was freed on parole, he raped and murdered Glasgow teenager Mary Gallacher in 1978.

The BBC documentary, Scotland’s Secret Serial Killer, suggests that by the time he killed Mary, Sinclair had already committed six other murders in a six-month orgy of violence.

A former FBI criminal profiler, Mark Safarik, told the programme he was convinced Sinclair killed World’s End victims Helen Scottand Christine Eadie, both 17, in 1977.

And Safarik also blames Sinclair for the sex murders of Frances Barker, 39, Anna Kenny, 20, Hilda McAuley, 36, and Agnes Cooney in the same year.

He said: “I felt very strongly that these crimes had all been committed by the same offender. We had multiple, multiple areas of linkage.”

Sinclair was only convicted of murdering Mary Gallacher in 2001after advances in DNA technology.

Then, in 2007, he was tried for the murders of Helen Scott and Christine Eadie, who were found dead after leaving Edinburgh’s World’s End pub.

Prosecutors said DNA linked Sinclair to the killings, but the case dramatically collapsed after the Crown failed to tell the jury about a vital piece of scientific evidence.

Thomas Young, now 75, was convicted of murdering Frances Barker and is still being held in Peterhead. He is appealing his conviction and Safarik’s findings are part of his case.