New theory in unsolved Union Canal murder needs investigating, says victim's brother
Former detective Chris Clark believes Ann Ballantine – whose body was found in the Union Canal 32 years ago – may have been the Beast of Bramley John Taylor’s first victim.
Evil Taylor, 62, is serving life for the 2000 murder of 16-year-old Leanne Tiernan and a series of sex attacks.
“We want justice and that’s pretty much it. If it turns out it was him, then we want it pursued and want justice for my sister and my mum’s daughter,” said Ann’s brother Alan, 45.
Mr Ballantine, from Granton, said his family will discuss the claims once mum Isobel returns next month from an extended holiday in Tenerife.
“If there’s something in it, then we want it investigated, if not, then there’s nothing to be done,” added Alan.
He was only 13 when his older sister was killed and was shielded as much as possible by his mum.
“I don’t know what to make of it, to be honest,” he said, of Mr Clark’s theory. “It’s another option and could be related but it also might not be related.
“My main concern is that if it is related, why Police Scotland have not done anything about it.”
Ann’s naked and bound body was discovered in the canal at Fountainbridge wrapped in a carpet on January 21, 1987. The gruesome discovery sparked fears a serial killer was stalking Edinburgh’s streets.
But there were no further victims and Ann’s family was left to grieve for the independent and caring 20-year-old.
Forensic tests revealed her body had been in the water for days yet she had been killed months earlier.
This crucial time lapse and where her body lay in the meantime is key to linking the case to Taylor, says Mr Clark, now a real crime writer.
The parcel delivery driver, based in Bramley, Leeds, kept Leanne’s body in his kitchen freezer for nine months before dumping it. “John Taylor, who was aged 30 in 1986, would have to pass by Edinburgh and was a regular visitor to Glasgow where he sought prostitutes,” added Mr Clark.
Senior officers said unsolved murders, including Ann’s, are never closed but are kept under constant review and any new information acted upon.
Detective Chief Inspector David Pinkney said: “The murder of Ann Ballantine was fully investigated by the then Lothian and Borders Police, with a report being sent to the Procurator Fiscal.
“Following upon consideration by Crown Counsel no further inquiries were instructed. Periodic reviews have been carried out in respect of this crime however it remains an unresolved case.”
Anyone with information in relation to Ann’s murder can contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.