A FORENSICS expert who was involved in the World’s End murders case is to head up a new search for the body of schoolgirl Moira Anderson.
Professor Lorna Dawson, a soil expert from the Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, has been instructed by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC to oversee the search for the remains of the Lanarkshire schoolgirl who has been missing since 1957.
Moira, 11, was last seen on a bus driven by child abuser Alexander Gartshore. Prosecutors believe he murdered Moira, whose body has never been found. Gartshore never faced justice and died in 2006.
It is understood search efforts will initially focus on an area beside the A8 near Coatbridge known as Dick’s Pond.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “Given the public concern about the disappearance of Moira Anderson the Lord Advocate last year took the unprecedented step of naming Alexander Gartshore as the person who would have been indicted for her murder had he been alive today.
“The Lord Advocate also instructed the investigation remain open in the hope that one day her body may be found and her family be given the closure they deserve.
“The Lord Advocate is delighted that Prof Lorna Dawson of the Hutton Institute has agreed to help in the search for Moira’s remains. Given it is 57 years since Moira disappeared this is likely to be difficult and painstaking work. However, the case will remain open until her remains are found.”
Prof Dawson works on unsolved cases and played a part in bringing World’s End murderer Angus Sinclair to justice.Gartshore was convicted of raping a 17-year-old babysitter in 1957 – the same year schoolgirl Moira went missing. His own daughter, Sandra Brown, became convinced her father was the killer, and after his death wrote a book, Where There is Evil, about Moira’s disappearance.
Speaking of the renewed search for remains, Sandra, said: “We are delighted and very encouraged by this development. Finding her remains would bring closure to a lot of people. There is a lot of construction planned along the A8 and it is good that a search is to be carried out before any evidence that is there is lost.
“Every time that there is a flurry of publicity in regards Moira, more witnesses come forward. Hopefully this time we’ll finally get an answer.”
Moira had gone out to buy margarine and a birthday card for her mother on 23 February, during a snowstorm. The local Co-op store had closed due to the weather and she had caught a bus to try to complete her errand, but was never seen again.
In January 2013, police exhumed a grave belonging to Sinclair Upton, a friend of Gartshore, who died around the time Moira went missing.
Although that search for Moira’s remains proved unsuccessful, the media attention led to new witnesses coming forward. One remembered seeing a man dragging a young girl by the arm near a bus terminus in Carnbroe, Coatbridge.
The girl’s description matched Moira and the woman later picked out Gartshore from a selection of photographs.
In 1999, convicted child abuser James Gallogley, who was dying in prison, named accused his former friend Gartshore of being Moira’s killer.