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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Evidence from vice murder accused
Jacqueline Gallagher was found dead in a lay-by
The man accused of murdering prostitute Jacqueline Gallagher has begun giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow.

George Johnstone, 43, denies murdering Ms Gallagher, 26, who was found bludgeoned to death on a lay-by in West Dunbartonshire in June 1996.

Mr Johnstone told the court how he began using prostitutes after his wife left him in October 1993.

He has admitted having sex with Miss Gallagher about twice a week for up to four months prior to her death.

'Nice lassie'

The former kitchen fitter, from Erskine, Renfrewshire, told the jury of his friendship with the victim and said she used to get into his van after work to chat about her personal problems.

He said: "We were quite friendly, she was a nice lassie. If she saw me she would give me a wave, she would jump in the van, we would have a blether more often than not."

He said he had slept with prostitutes in a red light district in Glasgow on "hundreds of occasions" but insisted he had never been violent.

He also admitted having sex with prostitutes in the back of his work van.

Special defence

The court has heard that the chances of DNA found on the dead woman not being Mr Johnstone's were allegedly "a billion to one."

Dr Marjorie Black said that Ms Gallagher sustained 118 injuries, with 46 to her head and neck.

Mr Johnstone is accused of wrapping her body in a curtain and dumping it at a lay-by near the Old Kilpatrick to Bowling Road.

He has lodged a special defence of alibi and he has also named 14 other men and three unknown men whom, he says, could have committed the crime.

The trial before Lord Carloway continues.

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