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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Killer launches murder appeal
Murder scene
Lawrence Haggart was killed at his home in March 1996
A man jailed for killing a budding young footballer has launched an appeal against his conviction, more than five years after being found guilty of the murder.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Brian Beattie, 38, claim the judge at the original trial misdirected the jury.

Beattie was jailed for life after being convicted in 1998 of murdering 15-year-old Lawrence Haggart at the youngster's home in Larbert, Stirlingshire.

The teenager had signed schoolboy forms with Celtic and was tipped for the top.

At the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Beattie's lawyer Donald Findlay QC claimed Lord Dawson's closing speech at the trial was "not adequate and amounted to a misdirection".

The trial, at the High Court in Edinburgh, heard how Beattie murdered Lawrence in March 1996, then tried to blame the victim's younger brother Dennis for the crime.

Police apology

Beattie has always maintained his innocence and claimed he was set up by Central Scotland Police detectives.

The initial police investigation following Lawrence's death focused on Dennis - who was in the house at the time his brother was attacked - as a potential suspect.

It was only when a second police inquiry team was brought in that Beattie was arrested and charged with murder.

Following his conviction, an investigation was launched into the way the murder was initially investigated and the police force issued a formal apology to the Haggart family.

The appeal hearing, before Lord Cullen, Lord Hamilton and Lady Cosgrove, continues.


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