Man is charged with murder in case of severed head in bag

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A MAN is facing a murder charge over the discovery of a severed head found in a shopping bag dumped beside a footpath in Edinburgh on Hogmanay.

Alan Cameron appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday charged with the murder of Heather Stacey.

Body parts were also discovered in two other locations in north Edinburgh, both less than a mile away.

Cameron, 54, had previously appeared in court, in mid- January, charged with attempting to defeat the ends of justice and breach of the peace in connection with the case. He has since been in custody.

Yesterday he appeared on petition charged with murdering Ms Stacey, a former model, between 29 November and 11 December, 2007.

Cameron appeared in private before Sheriff Graeme Warner, made no plea, and was remanded in custody until his next court appearance, while the case was continued for further examination.

A massive police investigation was launched after a badly decomposed head was found inside a blue Ikea bag at Hawthorndale, in Newhaven. Further remains were found in undergrowth near West Granton Road and Granton View.

More than 100 police officers were drafted in to search after the grim discovery was made by a dog walker. Other bags found at the scene were said to contain bones and "various materials".

Ms Stacey, 44, is understood to have been born in Essex and moved to East Calder, West Lothian, as a child with her family. She later settled in Dingwall and then Lasswade, in Midlothian, before moving to north Edinburgh.

At first the police were unsure whether they were dealing with ancient mummified remains from a museum, or the evidence of a more recent crime. DNA tests, X-rays and toxicology tests were carried out on the remains before they were confirmed as being Ms Stacey's.

Police revealed after the remains were identified that Ms Stacey, who was never registered as a missing person, was thought to have died more than a year before the discovery.

Earlier this month her brother, Tim Stacey, from Wiltshire, revealed that the police had still not released her body to allow her to be buried.

Mr Stacey, 46, said at the time: "Heather deserves to be laid to rest and this is what we are desperate to do."