Emma Caldwell murder 10 years on: Forgotten suspect stays silent on relationship with strangled victim
Sunday Mail- 12 April 2015 By Brendan McGinty
IAIN Packer, the forgotten suspect in the Emma Caldwell murder case, has refused to comment on his relationship with the strangled victim after we revealed he took her to the woods where her body was found.
Iain Packer was a former suspect in the Emma Caldwell murder case before being ruled out
FORGOTTEN murder suspect Iain Packer remained silent when asked about his relationship with victim Emma Caldwell.
We asked him to comment on our reports last week when we revealed he was interviewed six times by detectives investigating the murder 10 years ago before admitting he had previously taken Emma to the remote country track where she was found dead.
We also asked the 43-year-old if he would like to comment on his relationship with Emma and if he had anything to say to her family after they asked police to reopen the case files. But he simply turned around without saying a word.
Dressed in a white stars and stripes design T-shirt and cut-off jeans, heavily-tattooed Packer held a mobile phone to his ear.
He walked round to the back of his house in Airdrie , then re-emerged to walk back in the front door.
Last week, on the 10th anniversary of Emma’s death, we told how Packer had been a suspect for the 27-year-old’s murder.
He admitted he was a regular client of Emma – who had been driven into prostitution in Glasgow’s red-light zone by her drug addiction – and was able to direct officers to the isolated forestry track, deep in the south Lanarkshire countryside, where her body was found in woods.
We also told how another prostitute who Packer paid for sex was asked to direct police to the countryside spot where he took her. She directed them to the same remote spot more than 30 miles from the city centre and told them to park just yards from where Emma’s body was found.
Emma Caldwell Murder- The Sunday Mail confronts Iain Packer
The admission of twice-married Packer that he knew Emma and had driven her to the remote spot at least six times raised fresh concern about the failed investigation into her murder.
More than two years after she disappeared on April 4, 2005, police arrested and charged four Turkish men following a massive operation that cost up to £4million, involved months of covert audio and video surveillance and enlisted
undercover officers from across Britain and Europe.
But the prosecution’s case against Huseyin Cobanoglu, 63, Halil Kandil, 42, Abubekir Oncu, 39, and Mustafa Soylemez, 44, collapsed after defence lawyers questioned the accuracy of translated transcripts of allegedly incriminating taped conversations.
Last week, Police Scotland insisted the Emma Caldwell murder case remained open. But former detective Gerry Gallacher, whose 18-month investigation has revealed the existence of the apparently forgotten suspect, said officers must now explain why he was ruled out of their inquiry.
Author Gallacher, who was not involved in the murder investigation before retiring in 2010 after 30 years with the police, says the inquiry should be reviewed immediately.
He said: “We must hope Police Scotland have already started a process of review.
“There are many questions surrounding this and the family of Emma Caldwell deserve them to be properly and, rigorously examined and then answered.”
“The first thing that must happen is that they look again at the files.
“Then there must be a full review of the original police investigation and subsequent case reviews.”
Lawyers for the Turkish suspects are said to be furious after our revelations. One, who asked not to be named, even suggested that Packer could have been named as Emma’s killer in a special defence on behalf of the Turks if there had been a trial.
But the case did not reach court after the accuracy of supposedly incriminating surveillance tapes was successfully challenged.
Emma Caldwell Murder ‘accused’
Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who represented Oncu, said: “This is a case which has concerned us for some time. Mr Oncu and the others are completely innocent of the crime that they were accused of. It is outrageous that, to date, the killer of Emma Caldwell has not been caught or prosecuted. A cloud hangs over individuals who had nothing to do with this horrific crime and I believe the Caldwell family deserve answers.”
Anne Wallace, of Salt And Light, an outreach support group for people struggling to survive on the streets of Glasgow, including sex workers, revealed how Emma had gone to see her about a problem customer in the days before her death.
Last week, we told how other prostitutes had told police that Packer was once obsessed with Emma.
Anne said: “I spoke to Emma in the days before she died and she told me that there was someone who was frightening her.
“She told me it was a customer who was a regular and she was becoming increasingly concerned about it. She also spoke to some of the other girls about him.
“It’s 10 years ago now and I can’t remember every detail of what was causing her such concern. I gave a full statement to the police about this at the time of the original murder investigation and I would stand by everything in that statement.”
Emma Caldwell Murder- her family deserve the Truth
Since Emma Caldwell’s murder her family have repeated their commitment to finding justice for her. Last week, Emma’s mother Margaret Caldwell told the Mail: “It has been so hard over the years and part of me just wants to let it go but she was my – and is still my – little girl and we need to know the truth.”