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Killer's murder appeal rejected
Lawrence Haggart
Lawrence Haggart was killed at his home in March 1996
A man jailed for killing a 15-year-old budding football star has lost his appeal against the conviction.

Appeal court judges in Edinburgh said they were satisfied that Brian Beattie had not suffered a miscarriage of justice at his trial.

Beattie was jailed for life for the murder in 1996 of Celtic Boys' Club member Lawrence Haggart.

After the judges announced their verdict the teenager's father, Larry, said he was "delighted" at the outcome.

I hope he stays where he is as long as possible and he is kept off the streets
Larry Haggart
Lawrence Haggart's father
"We have been waiting seven years for this. We have been on tenterhooks. We were always on edge he would get out," he said.

"I hope he stays where he is as long as possible and he is kept off the streets. We can now get on and grieve for Lawrence in peace," he said.

Beattie was found guilty of the murder at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1998.

He attacked the teenager in his own home in Larbert, in Stirlingshire, in March 1996 and bludgeoned him with an unknown weapon, seriously fracturing his skull, before setting fire to the body.

Beattie, 39, had a criminal record which included sexual attacks on youths in their homes and the abduction of a teenager.

Police evidence

Defence counsel Donald Findlay QC argued the critical questions in the trial were whether Beattie was the perpetrator and whether the direction of judge Lord Dawson to the jury was correct.

The case against Beattie depended on whether the jury accepted the police evidence over what he allegedly said to them but which was not recorded on tape.

The Lord Justice General, Lord Cullen, who heard the appeal with Lord Hamilton and Lady Cosgrove, said they had reservations over Lord Dawson's treatment of the police evidence and particularly the way he referred to the experience and seniority of certain officers.

But the judges said that when they considered all the criticisms made they were not persuaded that the terms in which the trial judge directed the jury gave rise to a miscarriage of justice.

Lord Cullen said the main issue was whether a statement of Beattie's was a true account of what he said or a complete fabrication.

The senior judge said: "It is clear that this issue was put to the jury."

Killer launches murder appeal
24 Sep 03  |  Scotland

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