'I waited 30 years to see my daughter's killers brought to justice'

Margaret McKeich welcomes life sentences but says she still doesn't feel a sense of closure over her daughter's death.

The mother of murdered teenager Caroline Glachan says she feels justice has been done after two of her daughter’s killers were handed life sentences.

Margaret McKeich was speaking to Scotland Tonight after Robert O’Brien, 45 and Andrew Kelly, 44, were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday.

They were found guilty in December of killing Caroline close to her home in Renton in August 1996, along with Donna Marie Brand, 44.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Monday, O’Brien was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years behind bars, while Kelly was ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years.

Margaret McKeich, Caroline Glachan's mum in 2005.STV News

Brand was unable to attend the sentencing hearing because she was in hospital with a respiratory infection and will be sentenced in March, the court heard.

Ms McKeich told Scotland Tonight justice had been done but that she doesn’t feel a sense of closure.

She said: “There is a sense of justice. I think a lot of people think ‘right, now it’s closure’. But I don’t see it as closure, I don’t think closure is the right word for today – justice is the right word.

From left to right: Donna Marie Brand, Andrew Kelly and Robert O'Brien. Three found guilty of murdering Caroline Glachan.STV News

“I still don’t have a daughter so how can you close off on that, so I think justice has been done today.

“Hope is what I had, hope that they would catch whoever did it. I had a feeling, I think as most people did, to who they were but proving it was a different thing.”

During ten days of evidence last month, the jury heard the trio repeatedly punched and kicked Caroline and threw bricks or other similar items at her, causing blunt force trauma to her head and body.

She was pushed or fell into undergrowth and her body was later discovered in the river at Place of Bonhill, Renton, on August 25 – the day of her Ms McKeich’s 40th birthday.

A number of witnesses admitted in court they had been reluctant to speak to police in 1996 – some because they were involved in drugs or fearful of reprisals.

Despite the brutality of the crime and the huge publicity it generated, officers also said they were disappointed at the poor response to their appeals for information.

Ms McKeich added: “That was hard – knowing who probably done it, having to see them sometimes in the passing and knowing what they have done is hard.

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“The only thing I hope I had was that they would catch them. If I didn’t have hope then I didn’t have anything, so it’s hard to get out of your bed and go to work and do the dishes, just normal things with that constantly there.”

“It’s quite a hard pill to swallow and you don’t want to say anything because you don’t want to jeopardise any kind of investigation.

“It’s hard as a mother – never mind anything else – but particularly as a mother not to go to them and say anything. It takes a lot of strength to go over the years and just to keep going.

“Because I had to see this through to the end. Caroline’s not here, but I’m here, so I have to be here for her to see it through, come what may.”

Judge Lord Braid described the murder as “brutal, depraved and above all wicked”.

He said O’Brien – Caroline’s boyfriend – was the main perpetrator and used “extreme violence” on the 14-year-old.

Caroline Glachan, 14, was found dead on the water's edge of the River Leven in Bonhill, West Dunbartonshire, in 1996.Police Scotland

The judge said that while Kelly played a lesser role, he was also involved in inflicting “murderous violence” on the teenager.

Ms McKeich said: “To see the injuries to her for a start – I knew she had been hit in the head and such like – but to hear it and see the actual extent of the injuries was really quite harrowing.

“To look at that and to see those injuries, and then to look in front of me and there’s three people that were responsible, it was hard for me to keep in my chair.

“She was 14, she wasn’t an angel. Like any teenager, they don’t come in when they’re supposed to come in, they go to places they’re no supposed to go, they’re with people you rather they weren’t with, but that’s part of growing up, that’s part of learning.

“But she was a caring person, very loyal person and if she thought that you were her friend, then you had Caroline’s loyalty to the end. (She was) very family orientated.”

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