Carluke Killer Beattie loses last bid to clear name


judges-wigoriginally published: March 2009

A man jailed for life for the savage murder of a typist more than 35 years ago failed today in a last ditch bid to clear his name. The decision will make little difference to George Beattie who has already been freed after serving some 15 years of his life sentence – but will continue to be on licence until his dying day.

Beattie, 55, was not in court today to hear the decision which followed lengthy legal argument last year – during which appeal judges heard claims that his head was held under water by murder hunt detectives seeking a confession.

Beattie’s original trial heard how he claimed the woodland murder was carried out by men wearing top hats decorated with mirrors – in the style of 1970s glam rock band Slade – while he was forced to watch.

The bizarre story was supposed to explain why Beattie apparently knew so much about the scene of the crime in Carluke, Lanarkshire. A jury back in October 1973 took only 35 minutes to find Beattie guilty of the frenzied knife attack on Margaret McLaughlin, 23.

But since then Beattie has continued to protest his innocence – a campaign backed by local MPs and the BBC’s Rough Justice programme. The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh heard from psychology expert Professor Gisli Gudjonsson.

The 60-year-old professor from the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College, London, has made a study of the way vulnerable suspects can be led into agreeing to false stories.

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