Four accused walk free after prostitute murder trial collapses

THE case against four men accused of the murder of prostitute Emma Caldwell has collapsed, prosecutors said today.

The Crown Office said there would be "no further proceedings" at present over the death of the 27-year-old Glasgow woman.

However, prosecutors have said they could still bring a case to court in the future.

Miss Caldwell's parents today expressed their disappointment over the development.

Four Turkish men were arrested in August last year in connection with Miss Caldwell's murder.

Huseyin Cobanoglu, 55, from Irvine, Halil Kandil, 34, from Cadder in Glasgow, Abubekir Oncu, 31, from Springboig in Glasgow, and Mustafa Soylemez, 36 , from Glasgow, were charged with strangling Miss Caldwell, 27, at the Turkish Community Cafe in Glasgow's Bridge Street in 2005.

They were also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice by dumping her body in woods.

The men, who were arrested after police raids, made no plea or

declaration when they appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court in September 2007.

They were later released on bail.

A Crown Office spokeswoman said: "On the basis of the evidence as it currently stands, there will be no further proceedings in the meantime but it is to be noted specifically that the Crown reserves the right to proceed in the future.

"Emma's family have been kept fully informed of developments in this case, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is grateful for the dignity and understanding they have shown as they try to cope with their dreadful loss.

"Senior representatives of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service met the family on July 3 and explained the position to them. We will continue to liaise with the family throughout this investigation.

"The investigation remains live and any additional evidence will be assessed by the procurator fiscal, and by Crown Counsel."

Miss Caldwell's parents, William and Margaret, said: "We have supported Strathclyde Police and the Procurator Fiscal Service during the investigation into the death of our daughter for the past three years and we know that they have done everything possible to get justice for Emma.

"We were recently informed by the Crown Office that a trial will not be proceeded with to court at this time, and despite our disappointment, while the possibility exists for a trial to take place at some point in the future, we will not comment further on the details of the case.

Miss Caldwell's body was discovered by a dog walker in woods near Roberton, Lanarkshire in May 2005.

She had turned to prostitution to feed a heroin habit, becoming an addict after the death of her sister.

She was last seen on April 4 near a women's hostel in the Govanhill area of Glasgow around 11pm.

The Crown Office added that it had yet to take a final decision on the case.