Scotland's worst sex offender who murdered Emma Caldwell to appeal conviction

Iain Packer, 51, was convicted after a five-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow last week.

The man found guilty of murdering Emma Caldwell and attacking 22 other women is to appeal against his conviction.

Iain Packer, one of the UK’s worst sexual predators, was convicted after a five-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow last week.

He was found to have committed 12 indecent assaults, two sexual assaults, and 11 rapes against a total of 22 victims.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years.

He was accused of murdering Ms Caldwell, 27, who vanished in Glasgow on April 4, 2005, and whose body was discovered in Limefield Woods, near Roberton, South Lanarkshire, the following month.

Emma CaldwellSupplied

He faced a total of 36 charges involving offences against 25 women, all of which he denied.

Last week, after four days of deliberation, the jury found Packer guilty of 33 charges.

On Wednesday, Scotland’s Court of Appeals confirmed it had received notification of Packer’s intent to appeal against his conviction and sentencing.

It comes after Emma’s family met with First Minister Humza Yousaf on Tuesday in a meeting in which he “promised” there would be a decision whether there will be a public inquiry into failings that allowed one of the UK’s worst sex offenders to walk free for 17 years.

Emma’s family believe Police Scotland failed their daughter and the rape victims due to a “toxic culture of misogyny and corruption”, adding in a statement: “Instead of receiving justice and compassion, they were humiliated, dismissed and in some instances arrested, whilst the police gifted freedom to an evil predator to rape and rape again.”

Outside the High Court in Glasgow, solicitor Aamer Anwar said: “Margaret believes that officers sabotaged an investigation into Packer for a decade and have blood on their hands, for far too long they have remained in the shadows, but must now answer for their betrayal.”

On Tuesday, the retired detective superintendent who led the initial investigation into Emma’s murder welcomed Packer’s conviction and said he supported calls for an public inquiry.

Willie Johnston, who was the case’s senior investigating officer, said he was “more than content to tell my story” to a public inquiry.

Emma was last seen on CCTV around 11pm on Monday, April 4, 2005, walking alone on Butterbiggins Road towards Victoria Road on the southside of Glasgow.

She was reported missing by her family on Monday, April 11, 2005, and her body was found in Limefield Woods, near Biggar, on Sunday, May 8, 2005.

Emma’s mother Margaret has said she can “finally breathe again” now her daughter’s killer has been convicted.

Following the verdict, Police Scotland apologised for how long it took to bring Packer to justice.

“Emma Caldwell, her family and many other victims, were let down by policing in 2005 – for that we are sorry,” said Bex Smith, assistant chief constable for major crime and public protection.

“It is the courage, resilience and determination shown by Emma’s family, in particular her parents William and Margaret, and all those who survived Iain Packer’s horrific catalogue of offending that got us to where we are today.”

Retired detectives believe police and the Crown Office wasted time and money pursuing the wrong suspects in the murder investigation.

They also believe they had enough evidence to convict Packer of Emma’s murder for almost two decades.

Emma Caldwell’s name became synonymous with one of Scotland’s most high-profile unsolved murders.

An image of her with curly blonde hair and blue eyes appeared countless times in newspapers and on nightly television news bulletins.

People walking around Glasgow city centre were confronted with posters featuring a photo of Emma, urging them to come forward with information about her murder.

The public knew her as a victim, a drug addict, a sex worker.

But she was also a daughter, a sister and a friend to many.

Aged just 27, her life ended in the most harrowing circumstances. She was subject to the “most appalling course of violence” by Packer over a period of two decades.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard KC told jurors in his closing speech that Emma’s murder was the “most horrifying chapter” in that cycle of violence.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with Emma’s family and friends and all the women affected by this horrific case.

“It is right that Police Scotland has recognised and apologised for the failures of the original investigation. It is clear that resulted in Emma’s family and the other victims waiting far too long for justice.

“The Scottish Government will carefully consider the merits of a wider review.”

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