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Bob Wylie reports
"At the time over 2,000 people were interviewed in the search for Mary's killer"
 real 56k

Bob Wylie reports
"Mary Gallacher's murder sparked one of Glasgow's biggest ever police manhunts"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Mother welcomes murder sentence
Mary's family
Mary's mother Catherine (centre) welcomed the verdict
A mother has welcomed a verdict which saw a man jailed for life for the murder of her teenage daughter Mary Gallacher 22 years ago.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow found Angus Sinclair, 56, guilty of killing the 17-year-old on waste ground in the Barnhill area of the city in November 1978.

Speaking outside the court after the verdict, Catherine Gallacher, 58, said that her daughter "could now rest in peace".

A cheer went up from the public gallery as the verdict was returned.

Sinclair was convicted of killing the Glasgow teenager on the basis of DNA evidence which linked him to one of Britain's longest unsolved murders.

Ms Gallacher's body was found on waste ground near a footbridge at Barnhill railway station, Petershill Road, Glasgow.

Mary Gallacher
Mary's body was found near a footbridge in Glasgow
A jury of six women and eight men took five hours to return a majority verdict after a trial lasting 12 days.

Around 40 members of the girl's family and friends screamed as the jury foreman returned its verdict.

Sinclair, with greying hair and wearing gold-rim spectacles, sat impassively and stared only at the judge.

Mary's mother Catherine sid that the family could now get on with their lives.

She said: "We never gave up, we knew that one day he would be caught. Now we can let our daughter rest in peace." It emerged after the verdicts that Sinclair, who was given a life term, was convicted of the unlawful killing of a seven-year-old girl in 1961 for which he served six years.

He is currently serving a life sentence for three rapes and a number of other sexual offences for which he was convicted at Edinburgh High Court in 1982.

Sinclair is believed to be among a handful of Scottish prisoners serving an indeterminate life sentence for his crimes.

The court heard how Sinclair had removed Ms Gallacher's clothing and strangled her with the leg of her trousers before carrying out the rape.

He then slit her throat two or three times before fleeing.

It took more than two decades to link the killer with his crime after semen taken from a pubic hair on the victim gave a DNA profile which matched that of Sinclair's.

Glasgow High Court
The case was heard in Glasgow
The case was the oldest unsolved murder in the Strathclyde Police force area.

A witness also identified Sinclair as a man seen in the area at the time of the attack.

Forensic witnesses said it was beyond doubt that the man who carried out the sex attack was the same man who murdered Mary.

Judge Lord Carloway told Sinclair: "This crime was a callous, brutal and depraved act on a young girl for which there is only one sentence which I am allowed to pass in law, and that is one of imprisonment for life."

As the judge sent Sinclair down, the victim's family and friends shouted "beast" and had to be calmed by police.

Outside, Mary Gallacher's uncle James Brown, 52, from Milton, Glasgow, said the family was thrilled by the verdict which had ended years of "anguish and pain".

He said: "With science the way it is nowadays we always held out hope for the police catching this man.

"We are just hoping now to get on with the rest of our lives and to let Mary Gallacher rest in peace.

"As for Sinclair I hope he rots in hell."

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See also:

12 Jun 01 | Scotland
DNA evidence in Mary murder
30 May 01 | Scotland
Tears of victim's mother
29 May 01 | Scotland
Man denies Mary murder
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