The notorious World’s End murders may have been resolved seven years ahead if investigators had grasped the significance of a DNA revolution, states the officer responsible for apprehending the infamous serial killer Angus Sinclair.

Former Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, Tom Wood, revealed that the DNA analysis conducted on evidence in 1997 from the 1977 murders of Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, which indicated the presence of two men’s DNA, was not fully understood until much later.

This evidence was connected to the tragic deaths of two 17-year-old girls, Christine and Helen, after they encountered Sinclair and his brother-in-law, Gordon Hamilton, in the World’s End pub in Edinburgh.

Angus Sinclair.

The following day, Christine’s body was discovered in Gosford Bay, East Lothian, about six miles from where Helen’s body laid in a corn stubble field. Both girls had been ravaged, gagged, assaulted, and strangled.

Senior officer Wood, in an updated version of his book, The World’s End Murders: The Inside Story, acknowledges that failure to comprehend novel scientific processes probably delayed justice for the grieving families of Christine and Helen.

Wood affirmed, “Back in 1997, there was the possibility for two new profiles. We knew there was one profile but, due to a combination of scientists not explaining it thoroughly enough and our lack of understanding of a new science, the 1997 results didn’t receive the attention they should have.”

“Had we been aware of the existence of two profiles indicating two men’s involvement, further analysis might have identified Sinclair seven years earlier. The second identifiable sample, although smaller, had always existed, overshadowed by the more dominant profile. The second sample on the analysis, which was semen, came from Angus Sinclair.”

Yet Wood claims this would not have stopped him from killing again given he was already serving a life sentence and his accomplice had died in 1996.

He added: “Nevertheless, we would have pursued him earlier and the Toyota caravanette, they used in facilitating their hideous crimes, would have still been accessible with all its forensic key evidence.”

“The sad reality is that the caravanette was destroyed just six months prior to us initiating Operation Trinity in the spring of 2004.”

Wood is confident the vehicle would have revealed further evidence against Sinclair regarding the homicides of three young women in Glasgow in 1977.

Wood argued, “There was a missed opportunity in 1981 during the investigation into the sex-motivated murders of Anna Kenny, Hilda McAuley, and Agnes Cooney. No connection was made to Sinclair, who was, during that period, being arrested for multiple sexual offenses on children.

“Sinclair slipped through the net not only in 1981 and 1997 but also in 2001 when he got arrested for the 1978 murder of Mary Gallagher.”

“Despite the Gallagher team members suspecting Sinclair of other offences, this suspicion wasn’t acted on or shared.”

Wood accentuated the importance of team effort in capturing Sinclair over the years and not just the actions of an individual detective.

Wood quoted, “We should not ignore that the revolutionary science which adjoined so much to the World’s End investigation came from a small commercial company in England. The world is becoming smaller, and there are always lessons to be drawn from elsewhere.” Sinclair passed away in prison, aged 73, in 2019.

The World’s End Murders: The Inside Story is now available.

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