Three go on trial accused of murdering schoolgirl found in river 27 years ago

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

Three people go on trial accused of murdering schoolgirl Caroline Glachan found at River Leven in 1996 Police Scotland

Two men and a woman have gone on trial accused of murdering a schoolgirl who was found on the banks of the River Leven 27 years ago.

Prosecutors claim that Robert O’Brien, 44, Andrew Kelly, 43, and Donna Marie Brand, 43, murdered 14-year-old Caroline Glachan on August 25, 1996, close to her home in Renton, West Dunbartonshire.

She had suffered blunt trauma to the head and drowned.

The three accused, who would all have been teenagers at the time Caroline’s body was discovered, deny the allegation against them.

They appeared in the dock at at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday.

Caroline Glachan, Police Scotland picture.
Caroline Glachan.

All three pled not guilty to murder and lodged special defences of alibi.

O’Brien faces a further charge of assault against Caroline which he also denies.

Prosecutors claim that on various occasions between June 1, 1996, and August 25, 1996, O’Brien, who is originally from Dumbarton, assaulted Caroline at locations in Dunbartonshire.

These include Balloch Country Park and Renton, Vale of Leven and “elsewhere in Dunbartonshire”.

It is alleged that on those dates, O’Brien assaulted the schoolgirl by punching, slapping her face and by placing his hands around her neck and compressing her throat.

Prosecutors claim that he pushed Caroline, a pupil of Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School in Dumbarton, against a wall before forcing her arm up her back. It is alleged that he then threatened her with violence.

The court heard all three are accused of arranging to meet Caroline at a bridge near the towpath beside the River Leven between Renton and Bonhill on August 25, 1996.

It is alleged that they assaulted Caroline, shouted and swore at her and repeatedly punched and kicked her on the head and body.

Prosecutors claim that they threw bricks or “similar instruments” causing blunt force injuries to be inflicted to her head and body.

It is claimed that they caused her to fall into undergrowth and rendered her unconscious before pushing her into into the river.

Police have issued several appeals in the almost three decades since Caroline’s death, including with her mother Margaret McKeitch.

In 2016, a cold case team took on the case and announced a re-investigation that included examining 300 pieces of evidence for traces of DNA.

The trial, before judge Lord Braid, continues.

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