Convicted killer paedophiles who murdered woman lose Scottish phone contact court case

The pair had wanted to speak to each other from their Scots jail cells

Two convicted paedophile killers have lost a court bid to allow them to phone each other from separate Scottish jails.

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Charles O’Neill and William Lauchlan were previously allowed to have contact by shared telephone calls but they were halted in 2018.

The case was heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Picture: Google

The pair, who are serving life sentences for murdering a woman who intended to report their child abuse to the authorities, claimed their human rights were breached by the move.

They launched a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking to have the decision to withdraw phone calls between them overturned.

'Near relatives' claim

O’Neill, 56, who is serving at least 30 years and Lauchlan, 43, who was given a minimum 26 year term following the murder of Allison McGarrigle, wanted the court to declare them as “near relatives”, allowing calls to continue.

They maintained that the decision to stop the phone conversations amounted to a breach of Article 8 of he European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to private and family life.

They said in the action that prior to their imprisonment they were in “a long standing, intimate and sexual relationship with each other” and maintained a household together.

They wanted to have as close a family life as they could have subject to the restrictions of being in prison.


But a judge dismissed their petition for judicial review of a decision by the Scottish ministers to refuse to re-instate the phone contact between them after they failed to raise proceedings in time.

The judge, Lord Brailsford, refused to use the court’s jurisdiction to let the action go ahead when it was out of time. Legislation sets out that there is a three-month time limit for raising such actions.

The judge said the three-month time limit was chosen by Parliament “for reasons of good governance and public policy”.

O’Neill and Lauchlan were jailed for life in 2010 at the High Court in Glasgow after they were found guilty of murdering Mrs McGarrigle, 39, who had moved to Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, and disposing of her body at sea by dumping it in the Firth of Clyde.

They were convicted in a separate trial of sexual abuse and grooming. A previous judicial review was rejected in 2015.