Violent Scotland: Rivers of death


The Mirror, 10/05/2002, p5

MURDER Squad detectives were last night probing the grisly discovery of
a SECOND mutilated body – just three miles from where a headless torso
was found a fortnight ago.
A post mortem was being carried out late last night on the body to
establish whether it could be linked to the first suspicious death.
Senior cops yesterday visited the spot where the body was discovered by
a woman walking her dog on the banks of the River Leven at Sandpoint in
But they refused to speculate on whether or not a ripper style killer
could be behind the two mutilated bodies.
A police source said: “We expect there to be some speculation on this
because of the apparent similarities, but it is simply too early to
say. We cannot rule anything in or out.”
Initial inquiries suggested that the latest find was that of a teenage
girl, but police said they were still trying to confirm even that basic
detail and identify the victim.
Last night detectives in charge of the Amanda Dowler case said they had
been made aware of the find by Strathclyde Police, but said there was
no definite link at this stage.
The 13-year-old Surrey schoolgirl – who is known as Milly – vanished on
her way home from school on March 21 this year.
A North Surrey police spokesman said last night: “It’s been treated as
suspicious but there is nothing to link it with the inquiry into the
missing schoolgirl at this stage.”
A woman dog-walker came across the body near a busy pathway.
The Daily Mirror understands the IT worker and passers-by called in
police after spotting what looked like a tailors dummy.
Sources have confirmed that the torso was all that remained of what
they believe to be a teenage girl.
The victim’s arms, legs and head are believed to have been missing.
The find comes just two weeks after the butchered torso of former
squaddie Daniel Hutcheson, 23, was found further up-stream in the River
His remains were found by two friends in Old Kilpatrick under the
Erskine Bridge in Dunbartonshire.
The shocked woman who made yesterday’s find flagged down a car and
asked the driver to call the police.
She said: “I was driving to work and I saw the woman running towards
the car signalling for me to stop.
“I got out the car and the woman said she had seen what she thought was
the body of a teenage girl and asked me to call the police.
“She was obviously very distressed and I waited with her until the
police arrived.”
“It’s frightening to think that this could happen on your doorstep
once, never mind twice in a couple of weeks. Everyone is terrified
there is some sort of serial killer on the loose.”
The previous torso, of known drug addict Hutcheson, was wrapped in a
dirty bed sheet and left inside a zipped up tent.
Police had linked his death to non-payment of a drugs debt.
But the discovery of a second torso may force them to rethink should
the PM examination reveal any clues.
Police have not ruled out a link between the two grim finds.
But forensic psychologist Ian Stephen said it was unusual for a killer
to pick a different kind of victim.
He said: “Usually if you have a serial killer you have someone carrying
out the same crimes on the same type of clientele but it depends what’s
been done to the bodies.
“The police will try to establish connections, if there is a similarity
in the way the heads have been removed, the way the other limbs have
been cut off, whether it was done by a professional or amateur.
“This torso was found quite close to where the last one was discovered
and the proximity makes it highly likely we are talking about the same
“He may be targeting a certain group of people that he has a disturbed
aggressiveness towards.
“The people who perpetrate this sort of thing are really sick loners
like William Beggs. They are acting out some bizarre type of fantasy.”
Limbs in the Loch Beggs, 38, was jailed for life last September for
killing Aryshire teenager Barry Wallace, chopping up his body and
disposing of it in Loch Lomond.
Forensic scientists were working late into the night last night to try
and identify the latest torso. They refused to be drawn on the sex or
age of the body but, once they know, DNA samples will be sent across
the country to anywhere with missing persons matching the profile.
Strathclyde University forensic scientist, Dr Adrian Linacre, said:
“Once they have the sex and age they will be able to eliminate a number
of missing people.”
Joseph Law, 32, caretaker of the Marine Craft Gym which overlooks the
river bed where the torso was found, said local people were shocked by
the grim discovery.
He said: “I was shaking when I heard the news, it’s terrifying to think
there may be some sort of sick serial killer in the area.
“It makes you wonder how many more torso are going to turn up.”


Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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