Girls Killed In 1977 'Strangled'

20 October 2014, 14:30 | Updated: 20 October 2014, 14:43

Two teenage girls killed in 1977 were strangled, a murder trial has heard.

Forensic pathologists who carried out post-mortem examinations concluded that both Christine Eadie and Helen Scott died of asphyxiation.

Both had injuries consistent with throttling and of ligatures having been placed around their necks, jurors heard.

Dr Robert Nagle, now aged 90, was giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial of Angus Sinclair, 69, at the High Court in Livingston.

Sinclair denies raping and murdering the 17-year-olds, who were last seen at Edinburgh's World's End pub on October 15 1977.

Dr Nagle told the court that he and a colleague carried out post-mortem examinations on both girls a few days later following the discovery of their bodies.

Reports they compiled in both cases detailed the girls' injuries, internally and externally.

In Christine's case, they included pinpoint haemorrhaging, abrasions, scratches, a "ligature track'' around the neck, bruising to the mouth and pressure marks on the upper thighs, the court heard.

In most cases, the injuries would have been caused by an assailant, the witness told the court.

The pathologists' report, read to the court by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, prosecuting, concluded in Christine's case: "From our examination we are of the opinion that death was due to asphyxia due to strangulation with a ligature and by gagging of the mouth.''

Mr Mulholland went on to ask the witness: "Are the injuries consistent with Christine Eadie being repeatedly punched, subjected to blunt force injury, someone kneeling on her with their hands around her neck, throttling her and placing a ligature around her neck, with a gag in her mouth and asphyxiating and strangling her?''

Dr Nagle agreed.

The court also heard details of Helen's injuries, including scratches, a ligature mark and one injury consistent with a shoe "stomping on the left side of her head''.

The report on her post-mortem examination, also read to the jury, concluded: "As a result of our examination, we are of the opinion that the death was due to asphyxia, consequent upon strangulation.''

Questioning the witness, Mr Mulholland asked: "She had injuries consistent with repeated punching, injuries consistent with stomping, an injury which could be consistent with kicking, is that correct?''

"Yes,'' replied Dr Nagle.

The prosecutor continued: "She also had injuries consistent with throttling, someone placing their hands around her neck, and also injuries consistent with the application of a ligature around her wrists during life and also around her neck during life?

"And as a result of asphyxia, throttling, strangling, has caused her death?''

The witness agreed.