When the Crown Office and the Police get it wrong, you can rest assured it will be on a grand scale
Amid reports that Angus Sinclair may face further murder charges, attention will inevitably turn back to the spectacular failure of the Crown Office in the recent World's End murder trial, which saw heated debate and antagonistic comments between the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini and Lord Justice over who was to blame, while explanations remain lacking over the Crown's Chief Prosecutor Alan MacKay, feeling to England even before the Judge dismissed the case.
The Herald reports :
Angus Sinclair, chief suspect in the notorious World's End killings, has claimed he faces the possibility of nine murder charges.
In a letter understood to have been sent to another inmate before being made public, Sinclair - who has spent all but 14 years of his adult life in jail for killings, rapes and sexual assaults - said he expected to be convicted of the 1977 murders of Helen Scott and Christine Eadie before the trial sensationally collapsed.
He also revealed he recruited the infamous Limbs In The Loch murderer William Beggs for legal advice in the run-up to the trial. Beggs, who murdered Kilmarnock teenager Barry Wallace in 1999, dismembering and dumping his body, is studying for a law degree and has legally advised other prisoners preparing grounds for appeals.
Immediately after being cleared of the World's End killings by Lord Clarke, Sinclair was linked with another four murders: those of Agnes Cooney, Anna Kenny, Hilda McAuley and Frances Barker, all in 1977.
However, among the murders Sinclair now believes he will be charged with are four he has never been publicly linked with.
These are Helen Kane, 25, whose body was found stripped and battered on an Edinburgh building site in 1970; Patricia Black, 22, last seen boarding a bus to Saltcoats from Irvine in 1976; Eddie Cotogno, 63, an amateur pornographer and friend of Sinclair, battered to death in his attic and covered with photographs of naked local women in 1979; and Sandy Davidson, a three-year-old last seen running from his garden in Irvine in 1976.
Sinclair, who killed seven-year-old Catherine Reehill in 1961 and is currently serving life for the 1979 murder of 17-year-old Mary Gallacher, was previously questioned about the Kane and Cotogno deaths.
In his letter, Sinclair claimed to be "a normal person like everyone" and insisted he would never admit to the World's End murders.
He said: "I thought I was going to get done due to the circumstantial evidence but my QC came to see me in the cells and then told me it was going to collapse and what a relief it was to hear that.
"As the law stands now, they can't try me again unless some new evidence comes to light but the PF made a big mistake and showed their full hand at the trial so there is no more evidence to be got.
"As I'm aware, they can change the law for the future but they can't change it for me now that my trial has passed, so I am safe and even if they did try to change it for me that the law is stacked in my favour and we can appeal and win. Did I do the murders? Good question but I would never admit it in a letter if I did."
He added: "I think the police are going to come back and charge me with more murders, maybe as many as nine if what I am led to believe is true.
"Hopefully the trial collapses on them too, if they get that far. Everyone thinks I am a mass murderer but I am just a normal person, like anyone else."
On his relationship with Beggs, who is appealing his murder conviction, Sinclair wrote: "He Beggs studied the evidence and told me what to say to the QC but in the end I never needed it because the procurator fiscal f***** up.
"I trust William. He knows the law inside out and has got out of a few sticky situations."