A pensioner who raped and murdered a vulnerable mother before disposing of her body was jailed for life on Tuesday.
George Metcalff, 72, was ordered to serve 22 years and four months in prison before he can apply for release following the killing of Patricia Henry, whose body has not been found despite extensive searches.
Metcalff carried out a catalogue of crimes against women spanning nearly half a century before murdering Ms Henry, 46, at her flat in Kirkwood Place, Girvan, in South Ayrshire, on November 13, 2017.
He was convicted of assaulting her “by means to the prosecutor unknown” and causing her injury from which she died.
Metcalff had previously assaulted and raped her at an address in Paisley, Renfrewshire, and carried out attacks and rapes on two other women in Paisley and nearby Kilbarchan.
After the murder at the Girvan flat he attempted to defeat the ends of justice by concealing and disposing of Ms Henry’s body and her personal effects to destroy evidence and avoid arrest and prosecution.
The victim’s mother, Ann Henry, said after Tuesday’s sentencing: “We are very satisfied but the bottom line is we don’t have her back and, given the type of person he is, we will never have her back.”
“He has got what he deserves, not just for Patti, but for the others as well. For Patti I am delighted for the outcome, but heartbroken we don’t have her. It’s devastating I don’t have my daughter.
“He is a horrible, horrible apology for a human being. I wouldn’t breathe the same air as him. He is a vile, vile, horrible person and that’s me being polite.”
When asked whether Tuesday’s proceedings brought closure she said: “No, not until I go to visit her.”
Metcalff began the series of crimes against women when he was aged 21 by raping a teenager at a car park in Gleniffer Braes in 1971 before going on to brutalise victims for years.
A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh that the most serious and devastatingly tragic of his offences was the murder of Ms Henry. Lord Armstrong said victim impact statements from relatives clearly indicated the “devastating and continuing harm” caused by the killer.
The judge told Metcalff, who followed the sentencing proceedings by video link to prison: “You appear to lack any empathy whatsoever for your victims.”
He jailed him for 18 years for the offences of rape and assault, which will run concurrently with the life term for the murder.
Defence counsel Iain McSporran QC told the court that Metcalff appeared with no record of previous convictions and added: “He maintains his complete denial of all these offences.”
Following the killing, Metcalff made several trips to Ms Henry’s flat, including with a hired van apparently to collect a mattress and bed frame.
Jurors at Metcalff’s earlier trial heard that he first met his victim in 2008 when she became a neighbour of his in Burnfoot Crescent, Paisley.
She moved to Girvan in 2017. They made numerous calls and sent texts in the days leading up to the murder but they then stopped.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said: “Patti has never been found and on the evidence, the last person to have ever seen her is Metcalff. After their last encounter she has never been seen or heard of since.”
The court heard there was no evidence of Ms Henry using her passport or changing her name. The prosecutor said the murder victim was a vulnerable person who Metcalff exerted control over