Murder trial told four-year-old boy saw riverside fight

Caroline Glachan, 14, was found dead by the River Leven in 1996.

Murder trial told four-year-old boy saw riverside fight Police Scotland

A mother has recalled how her young son told her on the day a teenager’s body was found that he had seen a “lassie” get “battered” and fall into water.

Elizabeth Wilson said her boy Archie – then aged four-and-a-half – claimed he had witnessed a “fight” with the girl.

Later that day, August 25, 1996, the body of Caroline Glachan, 14, had been found in the River Leven in West Dunbartonshire.

Ms Wilson later told police how “the blood drained from her face” when she realised what her son had said could be linked to the death.

The 53-year-old was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow where Robert O’Brien, 45, Andrew Kelly, 44, and Donna Marie Brand, 44, are on trial for murder.

All three deny murdering Caroline 27 years ago.

Ms Wilson – also known as Betty – had gone out on the night of August 24, 1996, to visit her sister while Kelly and his girlfriend stayed with her children overnight.

Ms Wilson returned the next morning to find Kelly wearing shorts on the couch with the children. He claimed Archie had urinated on him and the floor.

But the child later stated the floor was “soaking” as someone had been sitting on it – he said it had been O’Brien who had been “wet”.

The child then told his mum that he had been taken down to the River Leven by O’Brien, Brand and Kelly’s girlfriend, Sarah Jane O’Neill.

“He said that they were down the Leven,” she told the court, “That they were fighting with the lassie, that she had ended up falling in and that they had battered the lassie.”

The boy added the girl had a Chipie brand jumper on. Jurors earlier heard Caroline had that make of top on when her body was found.

“He told me that [Caroline] got hit on the back of the head with something,” Ms Wilson said.

Both the witness and her sister were initially “sceptical” about what Archie said.

Prosecutors claim O’Brien, Kelly and Brand shouted and swore at Caroline and repeatedly punched and kicked her, threw bricks or “similar instruments” causing blunt force injuries to her head and body, caused her to fall into undergrowth and rendered her unconscious before pushing her into into the river.

All three claim they were elsewhere at the time of the schoolgirl’s death.

The trial, before Lord Braid, continues.

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