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11 November 2014, 15:19
A man accused of murdering two teenage girls 37 years ago has been giving evidence at his trial.
Angus Sinclair, 69, told jurors he remembers meeting Christine Eadie and Helen Scott in the World's End pub in Edinburgh on October 15 1977.
He left the pub with the two girls and his brother-in-law, Gordon Hamilton, before driving to Arthur's Seat in his caravanette, the court was told.
Asked why he drove there, he said: "To chance my arm with the girls.''
Sinclair said he had consensual sexual intercourse with both girls, as did Hamilton, in the back of the caravanette.
He told the court he only found out what happened to them after reading about it in a newspaper a few days later.
Sinclair is on trial at the High Court in Livingston where he denies raping and murdering the 17-year-olds.
He is accused of carrying out the attacks along with Hamilton, who is now dead.
The court has already heard that Christine's body was found on October 16 1977 at Gosford Bay, in Aberlady, East Lothian, while Helen's body was discovered a few hours later in a wheat field near Haddington, East Lothian.
Under questioning from defence QC Ian Duguid, Sinclair told the court he had been married to Hamilton's sister Sarah and he was 32 years old at the time. Hamilton was 22.
The pair had travelled from Glasgow to go fishing in East Lothian on the Friday night and had spent the next day fishing before going into Edinburgh and visiting the World's End pub at about 10.30pm, he said.
After meeting the girls, he asked them if they wanted a lift and they walked down St Mary's Street with Hamilton to the caravanette.
Asked why he thought the girls joined the men in the van, he replied: "To get a lift home.''
After going to the upper part of Holyrood Park, he parked up and put the bed down in the back of the caravanette, jurors heard.
He was asked if there was any objection on their part.
"No, none at all,'' he said.
He then had sex with Christine, while Hamilton was with Helen, Sinclair said.
Asked what happened next, he said they "swapped partners''.
"Why did you do that?'' Mr Duguid asked.
"Seemed the right thing to do,'' he replied.
He told the court he found out from Helen she was a virgin after she told him.
Sinclair then said they drove back to the spot where he had been fishing earlier, with him driving while Hamilton and the girls were still in the back.
He said he got his fishing gear out of the van before Hamilton drove off and it was his understanding Hamilton was driving them home.
Hamilton joined him fishing around two-and-a-half hours later but went to bed shortly afterwards, he said.
"His heart wasn't in it,'' Sinclair told the jury.
"Did you have any reason to think that anything untoward had happened to the girls?'' Mr Duguid asked.
"No,'' he replied.
"As far as you are concerned when you last saw the girls being driven off in the caravanette by Gordon Hamilton that was the last you saw of them, is that correct?'' Mr Duguid asked.
"Yes,'' he said.
Sinclair told the court he confronted Hamilton about what happened with the girls when they went fishing the following Friday.
"He was very reluctant to talk,'' he said.
The pair never went fishing again and did not go out socially after that, he said.
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, prosecuting, began his cross-questioning by telling Sinclair he was going to ask him a lot of "hard and difficult questions''.
He put it to Sinclair: "I want you to look into your conscience, I want you to look into your soul.
"Will you accept responsibility for murdering both girls?''
Sinclair replied: "No.''
The trial continues.