Murder Accused 'Left Girls Alive'

A man accused of murdering two teenage girls 37 years ago claims they were "alive and unharmed" when he left their company, a court has heard.

Angus Sinclair said he had "consensual sexual intercourse" with Christine Eadie and Helen Scott in a vehicle in Holyrood Park and later left to go fishing.

The details emerged at the High Court in Livingston during the third week of the trial of Sinclair, 69, who denies raping and murdering the girls.

He is accused of carrying out the attacks along with his brother-in-law, Gordon Hamilton, who is now dead.

Christine and Helen, both 17, were last seen at the World's End pub in Edinburgh on October 15 1977.

Christine's body was found the following afternoon at Gosford Bay in Aberlady, East Lothian, while Helen's body was discovered a few hours later in a wheat field near Haddington.

Sinclair's version of events was read out to the jury of nine women and six men during the evidence of forensic scientist Geraldine Davidson, who works with the England-based company Cellmark.

The words, described as Sinclair's "recollection", are contained in a defence report presented to the witness on Monday night, prosecutor Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland told the court.

The section, read to the jury by the witness and prosecutor, stated: "Mr Sinclair's recollection is that within his caravanette in Holyrood Park he first had consensual sexual intercourse with Christine followed by Helen, and that Mr Hamilton had sex with both girls in the opposite order.

"Angus Sinclair claims that Gordon Hamilton then drove him back to East Lothian as he wanted to continue fishing and that when he left the girls were alive and unharmed."

Sinclair has submitted three special defences: incrimination - blaming his brother-in-law; alibi - saying he was fishing on the banks of the Firth of Forth near Cockenzie power station at the time; and consent to sexual intercourse.

Ms Davidson talked the court through DNA analysis work carried out in connection with case, including on underwear used to gag Christine.

The findings could support the suggestion that the teenager had not put her underwear on after intercourse, the witness told the court.

Swabs taken from Christine's body revealed a DNA profile which matched Hamilton and "supports the assertion that Gordon Hamilton was involved in intercourse with Christine Eadie that evening", the court heard.

There were also indications of trace DNA from another individual, which "could have come from Angus Sinclair'', jurors were told.

The jury also heard of work carried out to analyse genetic material on tights used to bind Christine's wrists.

Sixteen separate areas of DNA were recorded which could have come from Sinclair, the court heard.

Jurors also heard that where knots were tied tightly in the bindings, genetic material within the knot would be protected.

Defence QC Ian Duguid has not yet had the opportunity to question the witness.

Sinclair denies the charges against him.

The trial before Lord Matthews resumes tomorrow, when the witness will continue giving evidence.

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