Man Admits Paige Doherty Murder

5 September 2016, 10:26 | Updated: 5 September 2016, 12:14

A man has admitted murdering 15-year-old schoolgirl Paige Doherty.

Paige disappeared from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on the morning of Saturday March 19 and her body was found in bushes by a roadside two days later.

John Leathem, 32, pleaded guilty to her murder during an appearance at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday.

The search for Paige, of Clydebank, began after she failed to arrive at her weekend hairdressing job in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, about 12 miles away.

Her disappearance sparked intense police activity in the areas where she was last seen and where her body was eventually found.

Specialist forensic officers narrowed down their search to the Delicious Deli in Clydebank's Fleming Avenue, the premises where the teenager was last spotted after leaving a friend's house.

Paige's body was found on March 21 in a wooded area behind a path off Great Western Road, a busy route connecting Clydebank and Glasgow.

Shop owner Leathem was arrested three days later over the death - a killing which stunned the community and wider public.

In a statement released at the time, Paige's mother Pamela Munro said: "We are absolutely devastated that we have lost our beautiful little girl.''

Days after her life was taken away, hundreds of people, many carrying pink balloons, turned out at a local park to remember the popular teenager.

The memorial event at Whitecrook Park was arranged by friends of the girl, who would now have been 16.

The landmark Titan Crane in Clydebank was lit up in pink one evening in memory of the teenager and as a gesture of support for everyone affected by the crime.

Following the girl's death, people including Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon showed the family support by posting pictures of themselves pouting with the hashtag PoutforPaige.

Two fundraising pages to help the family meet funeral costs and other expenses collected thousands of pounds within days of being set up.

Paige's mother told mourners at the service to turn their anger at her death in to cherishing the memory of her ''beautiful smiling girl''.

Ms Munro told 600 brightly-clad people at St Margaret's Church in Clydebank that her daughter's ''infectious personality'' would always be with them.

Police Scotland Detective Superintendent Duncan Sloan said: "Paige's whole future lay ahead of her and her life has been brutally cut short by the vicious actions of one man.

"What started as a missing person inquiry quickly escalated to a murder investigation after Paige's body was found.

"It was evident from the outset that Paige's body had been abandoned where she was found and detectives from the major investigations team worked closely with local community policing officers and search specialists to track her movements, which led to the final sighting of her at the Clydebank shop two days earlier.

"CCTV has been vital throughout this inquiry and officers painstakingly reviewed hours of footage which ultimately revealed that Paige walked into that shop but didn't leave.

"This, coupled with extensive forensic examinations of the crime scenes, helped to establish what happened to Paige and who was responsible. I am sure that the sheer weight of this evidence has led to the guilty plea at court today.''

He added: "These type of incidents are very rare in Scotland and Paige's untimely death shocked a community to its core, particularly as the man responsible was one of them.

"The support from the local community has been much appreciated and I hope that Paige's family can take some comfort from the result of the court proceedings today.''