“Any mans death diminishes me “ so said John Donne and it is certainly wrong to celebrate anyone’s passing , but it’s equally hard to mourn the death of Angus Sinclair let alone ‘Lionise’ such a disgraceful human being.
Our only real regret should be for the secrets he took to his grave.
Sinclair was imprisoned for 47 years of his 59 years of adult life yet during his brief 12 years of adult freedom he was convicted of the death of four young women , the rape and brutalisation of ten children and was certainly responsible for the murders of three others. By any measure he was one of the , if not the most violent sexual predators that disgraced the face of Scotland in the last 100 years. And the bar was set high, by a dreadful coincidence his murderous rampage coincided with that of Peter Tobin and Robert Black, together they ensured that the 1970s was the darkest decade in Scotland’s violent history.
I was one of hundreds of police officers who investigated his crimes over nearly 40 years - success only came after decades of dedicated team work . Contrary to popular myth there was no ‘Great Detective’ in the investigation of these crimes , there were dozens of them painstakingly chasing down every lead and when the breakthrough came it was due to brilliant new science standing on the shoulders of outstanding scenes of crime work way back in 1977.
So as we close this dark chapter in Scotland’s history let us not waste our thoughts on Angus Sinclair or caste him as an anti hero. Instead as we have recently celebrated International Womens day let us spare a thought for his victims and their families. For little Catherine Reehill only 9 when she died, for our own Helen Scott and Christine Eadie just 17 years old or little Mary Gallacher so petite she was often mistaken for a child- let’s think about the ten children sexually violated and lets think about Anna Kenny , Hilda Macauley and Agnes Cooney who Sinclair certainly murdered and whose families have been left bereft and without Justice.
And these are just the victims we know about .
All these girls were at the start of their lives , young and full of promise , who knows what potential was snuffed out by the predatory lust of Angus Sinclair.
We should be thinking of these girls and young women today , not wasting our thoughts on such a wicked man as Angus Robertson Sinclair - other than to commit to do all we can to ensure that there will never be another like him.
Tom Wood is former DCC and Officer in overall command of the investigation of Sinclair .
He is author of the book
“The Worlds End Murders - the final verdict.”