WORLD’S End killer Angus Sinclair has secured legal aid to mount an appeal against his conviction in Scotland’s first double jeopardy case.
The 70-year-old was found guilty last year in a historic case of raping and murdering Christine Eadie and Helen Scott after abducting them from an Edinburgh pub in 1977.
The case finally brought relief to the victims’ families who had waited 37 years for justice.
It also made Scottish legal history as the first successful prosecution under double jeopardy, which allowed Sinclair to be retried.
Sinclair has now been granted permission to challenge the jury’s guilty verdict, as well as the life sentence that was imposed by the court.
It is understood that he will argue, as part of his appeal, that the judge misdirected the jury and imposed too harsh a sentence at the end of last year’s trial.
A senior police source close to the World’s End case said Sinclair had spent 50 years of his 70-year life in jail and was currently serving three life sentences.
He said: “He’s not going anywhere, he doesn’t have to do anything and he’s not paying a penny piece towards it, so why not?
“He has nothing to lose by lodging fresh appeals and, I suppose, from a legal point of view the defence will want to rigorously test the conviction and try to test the double jeopardy legislation at the same time.
“The strength of the justice system is that someone like Sinclair, who obviously has no money to support him, can take up a case like this, but the downside is that it’s at the public’s expense.”
A spokesman for the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh confirmed that Sinclair’s appeal was now “live”.
Although no date has been set for the appeal hearing before three judges, a single-judge procedural hearing will be held next month.
Sinclair is one of Scotland’s most prolific sex offenders and serial killers. He served six years in jail for the sexual assault and culpable homicide of seven-year-old Catherine Greenhill in 1961. Between 1978 and 1982 he raped and indecently assaulted 11 other young girls, some as young as six, and was eventually handed a life sentence for his crimes.
In 2001 he was found guilty of raping, strangling and stabbing to death 17-year-old Mary Gallacher in a vicious attack 23 years earlier, and was given a second life sentence.
He is currently serving a third life sentence for the World’s End murders years ago and is expected to die in prison.
During the first World’s End trial which collapsed in 2007, Sinclair was awarded legal aid worth £530,932; a further £108,592 was paid to Sinclair’s solicitors to oppose the Crown’s application to bring fresh proceedings against him following the alteration in the law over double jeopardy. For the second World’s End trial, in November last year, the Legal Aid bill to date totals £56,591.76, but a spokesman for the Scottish Legal Aid Board said final accounts had still not been submitted.