Edinburgh cold cases: The unsolved murder of pub landlord William Sibbald, found stabbed to death in 2002

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William Sibbald was killed in 2002 in Edinburgh and the case remains unsolved 20 years on

William Sibbald, known as Billy, was last seen alive leaving his Portobello home to go to a meeting at around 8pm on Tuesday, October 8, 2002. Three months later, his body was discovered lying on an embankment at the side of the A1. His killer has never been caught.


Billy Sibbald with his sister Janice (left) and Lorraine in 1991Billy Sibbald with his sister Janice (left) and Lorraine in 1991
Billy Sibbald with his sister Janice (left) and Lorraine in 1991

Billy ran the Pop Inn pub in Portobello. He had three children, and had been described as a "bighearted, loveable rogue" who had once helped raise £5,000 to make a local girl’s dream come true by sending her to the Paralympics. He was said to be kind to the elderly, and well liked in the community.

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After his disappearance on that October night, it wasn’t until January 10 2003 that the 48-year-old’s body was found. He was discovered lying in the woodland area down the embankment of the A1 between Newcraighall Road and Whitehill Road. Billy had suffered multiple stab wounds, and appeared to have been robbed, with a number of items of clothing and jewellery – including a gold bracelet and a DuPont Gatsby lighter – have still never been recovered. It is thought that he died within a few hours after going missing.

The tenth anniversary

On the 10th anniversary of Billy’s death in 2012, his family released an appeal to encourage anyone with any information to come forward. The family statement, as reported by the BBC, said: "We have spent 10 Christmases, birthdays and father's days without knowing how or why the one person who should be here to celebrate with us died. We have and will always miss having a husband, dad and brother at these family occasions, and we hope someone, somewhere, has the compassion and humility to come forward to help the police and our family."

Billy Sibbald (3rd left) with his family 1982Billy Sibbald (3rd left) with his family 1982
Billy Sibbald (3rd left) with his family 1982

Detective inspector Scott Cunningham said at the time: "It has now been 10 years since Billy Sibbald was murdered and we have never given up in our efforts to bring those responsible to justice. His family were robbed of a loving husband and father in the cruellest of circumstances and we remain as determined as ever to achieve justice for them. We firmly believe that the key to solving his murder lies in the local community and we are appealing directly to anyone with information to come forward and help Billy's family put his memory to rest."

He added: "We understand that people may have previously been reluctant to approach police with any information they had at the time of his murder, however we recognise that with the passage of time, people's personal circumstances and loyalties may have changed, and they may now be willing to share any information they have with us."

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Police Scotland

Police Scotland do not consider any case closed until it is solved, and people can still provide information by calling police on 101, or Crimestoppers Scotland on 0800 555111, where callers can remain anonymous.