HeadLine: LIMBS IN THE LOCH: GAY RIPPER CAGED: END OF THE DEVIL’S TRAIL
The Mirror, 13/10/2001, p4&5
by SHAUN MILNE & GRAHAM TIBBETTS
THE parents of limbs in the loch murder victim Barry Wallace said last
night: “We are glad this devil’s trail of death and destruction has
finally been halted.”
Speaking just hours after their son’s killer was jailed for at least 20
years, brave Ian and Christine Wallace added: “No other innocent family
will now have to suffer in the future.”
Gay ripper William Beggs, 38, was convicted at the High Court in
Edinburgh of murdering, butchering and then dumping the body of
18-year-old Ayrshire shop worker Barry.
And last night it emerged he will be quizzed over a series of other
Trial Judge Lord Osborne described Beggs’ crime as “appalling” before
handing down the hefty sentence.
He also warned Beggs not to expect being released on parole at the end
of that period.
Ulster-born Beggs stared impassively as the sentence was handed down,
but appeared to smile scornfully when told his name would be added to
the register of sex offenders.
Lord Osborne also took the unusual step of exempting the trial jury
from further service for the next 10 years because of the “distressing”
nature of the evidence.
The jury – who endured 17 days of graphic and harrowing evidence – took
just over two hours to convict Beggs of Barry’s gruesome murder by a
They had heard how he used a saw and knife to cut up the teenager’s
body and even snapped some of his bones in two with his hands as he
sought to dispose of the evidence.
After dumping Barry’s limbs and torso in Loch Lomond and his head off
the sea at Troon, Beggs tried to cover up the scene of unimaginable
horror by redecorating his bedroom.
There were tears and hugs of relief from Barry’s friends and relatives,
who had gathered in court to hear the jail term read out.
Barry’s dad, Ian, 51, remained composed while his wife Christine, 50,
couldn’t help but weep as she left court – the first day she had
attended the trial.
Flanked by his wife and son Colin, 23, Mr Wallace said: “We are just a
normal family who have sat quietly for 22 months trying to maintain our
dignity while our son’s name and reputation has been dragged through
“We now think this is the right time for our family to finally put the
“Anyone who knew our Barry would know he was not an individual who,
after having a good night out at his work Christmas party, would decide
of his own free will to go away with this perverted, murdering
The jury of eight men and seven women had heard how the evil killer
lured Tesco supermarket worker Barry back to his Kilmarnock flat where
he bound and raped him before chopping his body into bits and dumping
His horrific crime was only discovered when police divers on exercise
in Loch Lomond discovered some body parts.
Barry’s severed head was later found washed up on an Ayrshire beach in
December 1999 and Beggs vanished soon after – fleeing to his native
Ireland before eventually making his way to Holland via London, Jersey
Interpol launched a European-wide manhunt and, at the end of December,
Beggs handed himself in to police in Amsterdam allowing the case to
finally came to trial. Unknown to the jury, Beggs had already been
jailed for killing a young gay man in England.
He also carried out almost 20 razor attacks on other gay men.
In December 1989, Beggs, who previously lived in north-east England,
had been jailed for life for murdering 28-year-old drifter Barry Oldham
on the North Yorkshire moors.
Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough heard how Beggs turned a camping
trip into a bloodbath – butchering Barry to death with a razor.
Beggs spent two years in prison before the conviction was quashed on a
But, two years after his release, he was back behind bars after being
jailed for six years for a razor attack on a young homosexual at his
flat in Kilmarnock.
Brian McQuillan, jumped through a first floor window to escape the
assault, fearing he would be killed.
Before sentencing, Beggs was sent to the State Mental Hospital at
Carstairs for a detailed psychiatric examination.
Trial judge Lord Morrison later told him: “It is obvious to me you
suffer from an abnormal personality.”
Yesterday’s jury knew nothing of Beggs’ violent history when they
returned their verdict.
Several shook their heads in disbelief and stared at the killer when
his previous convictions were read out in court.
Beggs, who had himself earlier wept in court at images of Barry’s
chopped up body, showed no emotion when he heard the verdict.
Lord Osborne warned him: “I should make it clear that at the end of the
specified period you will not necessarily be released on licence.”
Last night it emerged that Beggs will now be quizzed about other
suspicious deaths with detectives examining files of several unsolved
cases to see if he could have been involved.
Beggs has been compared to notorious gay serial killers Dennis Nilsen
and Jeffrey Dahmer.
And senior officers believe there is a strong possibility Barry Wallace
is not his only Scottish victim. Seniors sources claim he could have
killed at least six others.
The mystery deaths of two young men in the West of Scotland are among
the cases being linked with Beggs.
Student Colin Swiatek vanished after a night out with friends at a
Glasgow gay haunt in 1997.
The 21-year-old, whose body was found in the Clyde months later, was
last seen leaving Bennet’s nightclub in Glasgow, where Beggs was a
regular visitor. A few months after Colin disappeared, Paul Christie
went missing from his home in Largs.
His bones were found in the town’s harbour more than a year later, but
there were no clues as to what had happened.
Det Ch Supt Tony Fitzgerald, the North Yorkshire policeman who led the
investigation into Barry Oldham’s murder, believes Beggs has struck
Mr Fitzgerald, 57, said: “Beggs being released was one of the most
perverse decisions I’ve ever come across. He admitted killing this
fellow and when it was overturned I was as aghast as everybody else.
“We believed we were looking for a very dangerous man who may have
killed before and could kill again.
“We felt we were dealing with the beginnings of a serial attacker, a
man we needed to get behind bars. What has happened since has proved me
Det Supt Stephen Heath, who helped lead the Barry Wallace inquiry,
added: “I have never experienced a more emotional day than this. Beggs
is a predatory and cunning individual who we have now taken off the
“I am pleased for the sake of the Wallace family, who have endured a
living hell for 22 months, that justice has finally been done.”
* A MAN, aged 66, and two women aged 75 and 65, are to be reported to
the procurator fiscal at Kilmarnock in connection with the case after
evidence emerged that they may have harboured Beggs as he attempted
evade the authorities.
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