Wednesday 29th May 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Emma Caldwell Scandal: A Follow-Up

March 18, 2024 Police

Emma Caldwell Scandal: A Follow-Up




The NYE recently ran an article on the 2005 murder of Glasgow sex worker Emma Caldwell:

We were astonished at how well read and popular with our readers it was.

The NYE believes this is because of the widespread lack of confidence in the police in the UK, following on from a string of very serious misconduct scandals – some of them exposed by the NYE – of which Emma’s case is just one.

For those that are unfamiliar with the case, Emma (27) disappeared on 5th April 2005. Her naked body was found in woods outside Glasgow on 8th May  2005. Serial rapist Iain Packer (51) has now been convicted of her
murder and 33 other charges, including 11 rapes, against 22 women, between 1990 and 2016. He was sentenced to full life term with a minimum tariff of 36 years.

Nothing has changed since the Yorkshire Ripper fiasco

In the book “/Inside the Mind of The Yorkshire Ripper: The Final Investigation/”, (review here Chris Clark and I assert, in the penultimate chapter, that nothing has changed since the 1970s and that the British Police Service is still making the same mistakes now as it did in the original disastrous investigation into Peter Sutcliffe.Emma’s murder was only solved because of media pressure arising from the revelations of a police officer about the case. Detective Sergeant (DS) Gerry Gallacher’s (pictured above) concerns were published in the Mail on Sunday in 2015, resulting in the case being re-opened and properly investigated. This shows how important it is that
we have a free press that will hold the police to account.

The revelations about the bungled police investigation into Emma’s murder, which allowed Packer to continue raping women for 19 years has now perfectly vindicated Chris and me in our view. Police Scotland made many of the same mistakes that occurred in the Yorkshire Ripper
investigation in the 1970s:

  • Misogyny.
  • Disregard of the victim and her family because she was a sex worker.
  • Ignoring/failing to record crimes.
  • Failing to link crimes, or link them to a strong suspect.
  • Ignoring a very strong suspect in favor of a relentless obsession with
    suspects that were innocent.
  • Ignoring viable lines of inquiry to pursue lines of inquiry that had no
    basis in fact.
  • Disregard of witnesses and other victims because they were sex workers
    or because their evidence did not fit with the Police narrative.
  • Banishment of junior police officers who properly opposed the false
    line taken by Chief Officers.
  • Covering up the truth, to conceal police failings.

Packer should have been arrested in 2003, but the police ignored his crimes, because the witnesses against him were sex workers. As a result, one woman was murdered, over nineteen more were raped, four innocent men
were falsely accused of Emma’s murder and had their lives ruined, and millions of pounds were wasted trying to build a case against them.

Needless to say, the Crown Office (the Scottish equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service) has confirmed that criminal charges will not be brought against any of the police officers involved in the investigation.

Despite the furore over Emma’s murder and the media coverage, the full truth about Packer has still not come out.

In this article, the authors try to address the wider issues surrounding Packer’s crimes

The Antecedent Investigation

Rape and sexual assault are crimes which are under-reported by victims. Understandably, many victims will have been reluctant to come forward to Strathclyde Police because of the unsympathetic view it held. So there
can be little doubt that Packer had many more victims than those he was convicted of attacking.

The concern about Emma’s murder must be that it may not have been an isolated single incident and that Packer may have murdered other women.

According to this concise and detailed Guardian article:>

a Police Scotland antecedent investigation is considering if Packer may have been involved in other Glasgow sex worker murders.

Was Packer a Serial Killer?

Emma’s parents reported her missing shortly after she disappeared. This disappearance was completely out of character and Strathclyde Police must have known that as a sex worker she was highly likely to be the
victim of violent crime. Yet her disappearance was recorded as a missing person, not a “no body” murder. It was only when her body was discovered five weeks later that a murder investigation was initiated.

This demonstrates the low priority given to violence against sex workers, which were known in police terminology as “Fish and Chip murders”. Traditionally the police were always reluctant to investigate them because they were stranger murders and therefore almost impossible to solve and murder was seen -wrongly- as an occupational hazard for women who had made a lifestyle choice to be prostitutes. If Emma had
been a schoolteacher or a housewife, I suspect her disappearance would have been properly investigated. Instead, it was ignored.

Emma’s body was discovered deep inside a remote and rugged wood that was difficult to get to. Packer routinely used prostitutes and was violent towards them. Emma may have been lured to this location by Packer on the
pretext of participating in sex in the open for a fee. Then murdered.

Her body had been concealed in a ditch so effectively that it was only discovered by a dog being taken for a walk five weeks after it had been hidden there. Dogs have a sense of smell thousands of times more sensitive than a human. The smell of decaying flesh probably alerted it
to the presence of a body, which it searched for and found because it wanted to feed on it. Otherwise, it is possible Emma’s body may never have been found.

The location was perfect for committing a murder and concealing a body. It was remote, so the killer would not be disturbed and seldom have visitors. It had a ditch that was a ready-made grave, so her body could be quickly concealed with minimum effort. This indicates premeditation and that Emma was lured to a location preselected to conceal a body.

The way Packer concealed the body after the murder and then drove off, indicates a calmness arising from practice. Concealing Emma’s body ensured that Strathclyde Police only registered Emma’s disappearance asna missing person. When he murdered Emma, Packer was 32 years old. A bit old to start operating as a serial killer. The implication of all of this is that it was not his first murder, that he was a practiced killer and had started killing women prior to 2005.

Serial killers often have jobs or hobbies that involve travelling, which they use to commit murders over a wider area, making it difficult for the police to link them.

Some examples:

Peter Sutcliffe was a lorry driver, who used his lorry to pick up hitch-hikers and to attack women.

Robert Black was a delivery driver, who travelled over Europe, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Angus Sinclair had a camper van that he used to travel on weekends on fishing trips. He never caught a fish and no one knows where he went.

Christopher Halliwell was a minicab driver who travelled extensively and had worked itinerantly in various parts of England and North Wales.

Packer’s job was putting up signs. He worked from his own in a van, which he used to abduct Emma. This gave him the opportunity to travel and abuse sex workers from red light districts other than Glasgow. It is therefore entirely possible that Packer may have murdered other women and concealed their bodies all over Scotland. His modus operandi ensured that these murder victims are recorded as missing persons.

Even more concerning; sex workers often have itinerant, unstable lifestyles and are sometimes estranged from their families, making it unlikely in some cases that they will even be reported missing. As an example, the Swindon sex worker Becky Godden-Edwards was murdered in a2003 by serial killer Christopher Halliwell who buried her body. She was only reported missing in 2007. Had Halliwell not confessed to her murder, she would still be listed as just another missing person to this
day. So it is possible that Packer could have other victims that are skillfully concealed and the police are not even aware that they are missing.

There is to be a public enquiry into Emma’s murder and it is to be hoped that more of the truth will emerge.

Right of Reply

If you are mentioned in this article and do not agree with the views expressed in it, or if you wish to correct any factual inaccuracy, please let me know using the email address and your views and a correction will be published if appropriate.

Comments are closed.