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Tele vindicated as Limbs in Loch killer withdraws press complaint

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 21/12/2015

Murderer William Beggs
Murderer William Beggs
Beggs' victim, Barry Wallace, who was killed in Scotland
Our front page in July this year

A sadistic Northern Ireland-born killer who complained after being branded a pervert by the Belfast Telegraph has abandoned his case.

'Limbs in the Loch' murderer William Beggs took exception to a report in this newspaper in July.

It stated how a court had ruled Beggs had had his human rights breached by prison staff who opened his mail.

Beggs, who murdered and dismembered his teenage victim, wrote to media regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).

However, it has now emerged that pervert Beggs has withdrawn his complaint.

Beggs, from Lurgan, was convicted in 2001 of murdering 18-year-old Barry Wallace in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

The victim's limbs and torso were recovered from Loch Lomond while his head was found washed up on a beach near Troon.

Beggs was jailed for life and ordered to spend at least 20 years behind bars.

His lawyer argued that his human rights had been breached by the opening of his confidential correspondence and by delays in delivery of his correspondence.

The incidents happened between January 2013 and January 2015.

A judge ruled he was a "victim" as his human rights had been breached, although she made "no finding that anything was done deliberately or maliciously".

The Belfast Telegraph reported on the story on page one and four of its edition on July 22 this year.

The front page headline read: "Pervert killer's human rights farce".

Beggs also complained about a page four headline which read "Evil psychopath a 'serial killer in the making'."

He wrote to IPSO complaining about being described as a pervert and alleging that the Belfast Telegraph's reports that he raped his victim were inaccurate. Beggs claimed he had not been tried, convicted or sentenced for any sexual offence against his victim.

He also told IPSO his murder conviction was "a miscarriage of justice".

His complaints were strongly repudiated by the Belfast Telegraph.

Lawyers for this newspaper told IPSO the reports had not stated that Beggs had been tried or convicted of rape.

They pointed out the Belfast Telegraph was entitled to report on the circumstances giving rise to, or in the course of, the act of murder, which, in this case, included an assault of a serious sexual nature.

The Belfast Telegraph submitted that it was entirely appropriate and justified in describing Beggs' actions as rape.

It was also contended that this newspaper was justified in describing Beggs as a psychopath.

IPSO has now informed this newspaper that Beggs has withdrawn his complaint.

Mr Wallace, a supermarket worker, vanished on December 5, 1999, after a Christmas night out with colleagues in his home town of Kilmarnock.

In 2001 a jury found Beggs took the teenager to his flat and subjected him to a serious sexual assault. He then murdered him and cut up his body.

After the crime, Beggs fled to the Netherlands, but was extradited to Scotland to face trial.

He was convicted of murder in 2001.

It was subsequently revealed that Beggs was once cleared of a similar murder by appeal court judges on a technicality.

Beggs was jailed in 1987 at Teeside Crown Court for murdering a barman he met in a gay nightclub by slashing his throat, only to have the conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The court also learned that at the same trial Beggs was convicted of two charges of wounding and sentenced to four months for each.

He was also jailed for six years in 1991 for slashing the leg of a man who escaped by jumping through a glass window.

Beggs has repeatedly tried and failed to have his conviction overturned at the Supreme Court.

Belfast Telegraph

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