Glasgow & West Scotland

Case review for killer held at Carstairs since 1960s

State Hospital at Carstairs
Image caption Alexander Reid has been held at Carstairs since 1967

The case of man who stabbed a young woman to death in Glasgow more than 40 years ago is to be referred back to the High Court.

Alexander Reid was sent to the State Hospital at Carstairs in 1967 after admitting killing Angela McCabe.

He was ordered to be detained without limit of time.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has raised concerns about a miscarriage of justice in relation to the sentence passed.

Reid admitted killing 22-year-old Ms McCabe at her home in Bishopbriggs near Glasgow. He pled guilty to culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh in September 1967.

It was accepted that his responsibility was diminished in relation to the offence.

On the basis of psychiatric evidence the court took the view that he was suffering from a mental disorder.

Fresh evidence

It ordered his detention at Carstairs and also made a further order restricting his discharge from hospital without limit of time.

The killer has made previous attempts to challenge his sentence.

In 1998 he argued that he could no longer be detained at the maximum security hospital as his personality disorder was untreatable.

Judges at the Court of Session agreed, despite a warning from a sheriff that there was a high risk of Reid re-offending.

But their ruling was overturned after an appeal to the House of Lords by the then-Scottish secretary Donald Dewar.

In 2000 Reid was among three killers held at Carstairs who tried to challenge their detention under European Human Rights law.

It followed emergency legislation brought in by the Scottish Parliament to close a loophole that led to the release of another convicted killer, Noel Ruddle, from the maximum security hospital.

The SCCRC said that further testing and expert opinion since Alexander Reid had been detained indicated that he was not mentally deficient.

It said this constituted fresh evidence and said that having regard to all the circumstances of the case a different sentence might have been passed.

It concluded that it was in the interests of justice to refer the case to the High Court for re-consideration.

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