Serial killer jailed for 37 years
A serial killer and rapist has been jailed for at least 37 years after DNA advances led to his conviction for the murder of two teenage girls in the 1970s.
Angus Sinclair, 69, received the longest minimum sentence ever imposed by a Scottish court after a jury found him guilty of killing Christine Eadie and Helen Scott.
The conviction brings to a conclusion one of Scotland's most infamous unsolved cases, known as the World's End murders, and marks the first prosecution since changes to Scotland's double jeopardy law.
The legal change meant Sinclair, who has been in jail since the 1980s, could be retried after the court case against him dramatically collapsed seven years ago.
At the High Court in Livingston, judge Lord Matthews said the words "evil" and "monster" were inadequate for Sinclair, who he said had left the 17-year-old girls' bodies to rot "like carrion".
The judge ordered him to spend a minimum of 37 years in jail for the crimes - the same number of years that the families of Christine and Helen have been waiting for justice.
The teenagers were targeted by Sinclair and his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton, now dead, on a night out at Edinburgh's World's End pub on October 15 1977.
Their bodies were discovered the following day, having been dumped in remote locations in East Lothian. They had been raped, strangled and bound with their underwear.
Sinclair, a prisoner at Glenochil jail, denied the charges and showed no emotion when the jury returned their verdict following the five-week trial.
He had claimed the girls consented to sex with him and pointed the finger at Hamilton, who died in 1996.
However DNA analysis proved Sinclair had touched the ligatures used to tie the girls up.
Forensic scientists told how around 125 stains on the pieces of clothing used to restrain the girls had been examined during at least two years of meticulous testing.
Lord Matthews said that whatever dreams the girls had for their futures had "turned to nightmares" that night when they left the World's End pub.
He said: "Little were they to know that they had the misfortune to be in the company of two men for whom the words evil and monster seem inadequate.
"The girls were subjected to an ordeal beyond comprehension and then left like carrion, exposed for all to see, with no dignity, even in death.
"For them at least the nightmare is over and if they were not resting in peace before today I hope that they are now.
"The nightmare for their families and friends, on the other hand, has gone on from those first awful moments when they heard the news no one should hear until even now, 37 years later and counting. It will never end."
To the jury he said: "I don't think any of you will easily forget the photographs which we saw, showing the terrible contrast between two young girls with everything to live for and their two corpses left to rot in East Lothian."
Jurors, who took less than two-and-a-half hours to convict Sinclair of both murder and rape, were unaware that the violent offender 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 and in 1982 he was convicted of a string of sex attacks on 11 young girls, raping three of them.
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.
Helen's brother Kevin Scott, who spoke outside court on behalf of the families, said: "We finally have justice for Helen and Christine.
"It's been long and at times a very lonely battle but in our different ways we didn't give up and I would like to thank all those other people who didn't give up; our friends, the police again some no longer with us, the prosecutors, the forensic scientists and the public.
"Decades after their deaths, Helen and Christine's legacy is to have changed Scotland's justice system for the better, politicians came together for Helen and Christine and through the introduction of the double jeopardy amendment which will prevent other families suffering as we have."
Helen's father Morain Scott, 84, said of Sinclair: "I wouldn't call him an animal, because animals kill for food.
"He's just a beast if anything else and I'm quite sure in my own mind there could be other crimes against him."
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, who prosecuted the case, said the thousands of police officers who worked on the case through the years " never ceased in their endeavours to bring the girls' murderers to justice".