Glasgow & West Scotland

Mother makes appeal over Caroline Glachan murder

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Media captionMother's appeal over schoolgirl Caroline Glachan's murder in 1996

The mother of a schoolgirl who was murdered 20 years ago has said finding her daughter's killer would give her "closure".

Caroline Glachan, 14, was found dead on the banks of the River Leven in Dunbartonshire on 25 August 1996, about a mile from her Renton home.

Her killer has never been found, and police are now re-examining evidence from the initial investigation.

Caroline's mother Margaret McKeich said she wanted answers to "who and why?"

Speaking at a news conference in Bonhill, close to where her daughter died, 60-year-old Mrs McKeich said: "I've been here before and it's 20 years down the line. What can I say that I haven't said before? What can I do that I've not done before?

Image caption Caroline Glachan, from Renton in West Dunbartonshire, died in August 1996

"It's things like this but I'm a wee bit more hopeful than I've been for a long time.

"I also believe the public have a part to play in this as well and I'd urge anybody to come forward just to give me that peace, just to let Caroline rest in peace and to give me closure because there are two questions I need to answer - who and why?"

Despite numerous appeals before no-one has been arrested over Caroline's death.

Mrs McKeich has previously said she believes her daughter knew her killer.

Image caption Caroline's friend and mother took part in a police press conference

She urged anyone who might have information about her daughter's death to "Take a look back, and have a think back, and take a look in the mirror and look to your conscience.

"Twenty years has passed and it's a fair amount of time, but for me it's just yesterday.

"I think 20 years is long enough. Just let this year be the last year, the last time."

Mrs McKeich was joined at the news conference by Caroline's friend, Joanne Menzies, who was one of the last people to have seen her alive.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption CCTV images showed Caroline as she walked to a friend's house from shops

She urged those "shielding" the killer to come forward.

Ms Menzies said: "There's people who know who done it, who are shielding whoever done it, and I would ask these people to come forward now."

The appeal was held as Police Scotland's Homicide Governance and Review team begins a fresh investigation into Caroline's death.

Forensic scientists are now re-examining more than 300 items collected at the time of her death on the River Leven towpath.

Image caption Detectives previously said they were trying to trace a man in a hooded top

Police have also re-appealed for help in tracing a man in a hooded top who was seen standing about 30 yards from Caroline as she walked along Dillichip Loan at about 00:15 on the night of her murder.

Someone fitting the man's description was spotted about half an hour later running down the main street of Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire with another male.

'Wall of silence'

At the news conference, Det Supt Jim Kerr appealed to the local community to break the "wall of silence" surrounding Caroline's murder.

He urged the man in the hooded top to get in contact as he was "probably the last person to see Caroline alive".

The detective added: "There's people in this community that know exactly happened. I feel as if it's a black cloud over Renton and Bonhill and we need to get it lifted."

He also revealed that a fresh appeal would be aired next Monday on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

Image caption The killer has never been arrested despite numerous appeals and an investigation spanning 20 years

Part of the fresh investigation will also involve modern DNA tests being applied to the case.

Amanda Pirie, lead forensic scientist with the Scottish Police Authority, said new DNA profiling tests could get results from samples which experts were previously unable to interpret.

She said samples could also be lifted from evidence that had been immersed in water.

Ms Pirie added: "All of this combined will enable the cold case team potentially to recover and detect trace amounts of DNA which will hopefully enable us to identify individuals with whom, for instance, Caroline Glachan may have been in contact at, or around, the time of her death."

Following her death, more than 500 people attended the funeral of the schoolgirl, who was a pupil at Our Lady's and St Patrick's school in Dumbarton.

Image caption Caroline's body was found on the banks of the River Leven in Dunbartonshire

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