Humza Yousaf and Justice secretary to meet with mother of Emma Caldwell

Scotland’s First Minister and the Justice Secretary will meet the mother of murder victim Emma Caldwell next week, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

It follows the conviction of Iain Packer who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years on Wednesday after being found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of murdering the 27-year-old in 2005.

He was also convicted of 11 rapes and 21 further charges including sexual assaults and abduction, involving multiple women, over 26 years.

Scotland’s Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Our thoughts are with Margaret Caldwell and Emma’s friends for their tragic loss, and to the many victims in this horrendous case.

Emma Caldwell murder court case
Solicitor Aamer Anwar with Margaret Caldwell and other family members outside the High Court in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“For Margaret Caldwell and the other victims in this case, justice has taken far too long.

“As the First Minister has very clearly stated, we are giving serious consideration and are open to a judge-led public inquiry.

“He was also clear that he wants to hear directly from Margaret Caldwell before we take any decision and the First Minister and I will meet with her next week.”

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who has represented Emma Caldwell’s mother Margaret Caldwell since 2016, said his client is looking forward to meeting with Humza Yousaf and Ms Constance next week.

Mr Anwar said he will meet with Mr Yousaf and Ms Constance to reiterate calls for a judge-led public inquiry.

The solicitor said the failures to investigate Miss Caldwell’s murder was “the worst scandal to ever hit our justice system”.

Emma Caldwell's mother Margaret
Emma Caldwell’s mother Margaret wants a public inquiry (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “We welcome the First Minister agreeing to meet with Emma’s mother Margaret, Emma’s brother Jamie and myself next week.

“As Margaret said after the verdict, the police have apologised after nearly 19 years, but that is not good enough.

“In that time six of the 25 victims died never to see justice.

“How many more do we not know of?

“For Emma’s family, nothing less than a fully independent public inquiry will suffice – this is the worst scandal to ever hit our justice system and the police or Crown Office cannot be allowed to investigate itself, escape scrutiny or accountability.

“Mrs Caldwell looks forward to meeting with Mr Yousaf and says that if he genuinely cares about the victims then he has no other option but to organise a judge-led public inquiry that acts without fear or favour – that is the very least her Emma and the many women who spoke up deserve, for far too long those in the police or Crown who failed them remained in the shadows.

“For Margaret, only a public inquiry can reveal the corruption, the criminality and the motivation.

“Accountability, that is what the police and the Crown always fear, and they cannot be allowed to dictate the terms as they have done for over 18 years.”

Police Scotland has apologised to the family of Miss Caldwell and Iain Packer’s other victims, admitting they were “let down” by policing.

Ms Constance added: “The outcome of this trial is the result of a thorough and complex reinvestigation of the case by Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, but it is absolutely right that Police Scotland has recognised and apologised for the failures of the original investigation.

“While I do think this means that many lessons have been learned by Police Scotland, at the time there is no doubt that women were failed.

“More widely, we need to eradicate the abhorrent violence against women and girls that is still prevalent, and all of our institutions need to continue to play a part in this journey.

“The only way we can fully protect women and girls and end violence is through fundamental societal change – a change in the actions and behaviour of those who perpetrate violence and abuse and to address and root out the causes of that violence, including toxic masculinity and gender inequality, that leads to violence, harassment, misogyny and abuse against women.”

First Minister’s Questions
Margaret Caldwell will meet with Humza Yousaf and Angela Constance next week (Jane Barlow/PA)

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who has represented Mrs Caldwell since 2016, called for a judge-led public inquiry by someone independent of Police Scotland and the Crown Office.

In a statement sent to the media on Thursday, Mr Anwar said the family will “accept nothing less than the truth, transparency and accountability”.

He added: “This is not simply a case of the police just saying sorry in the belief they can move on as it was all about 2005 – the reality is that for over a decade the police engaged in a concerted cover-up, followed by Police Scotland carrying out unlawful spying on Sunday Mail journalists and police officers who had identified Iain Packer as the murderer.

“In that whole period the Crown ordered no further investigation into the killer or the police – it must beg the question why? What were they trying to hide?

“The scale of the crimes and the failures are so catastrophic and vast that nothing less than a robust judicial public inquiry will suffice – (Margaret Caldwell) welcomes the comments of the First Minister but for her, time is of the essence.

“Neither the Police nor Crown Office, nor anyone connected to the police, can be allowed or trusted to investigate themselves and their former bosses.

“Mrs Caldwell would welcome any move to select an independent judge from elsewhere in the UK to conduct the statutory pubic inquiry.”

Earlier in the week, Assistant Chief Constable for Major Crime and Public Protection, Bex Smith, said: “Emma Caldwell, her family and many other victims, were let down by policing in 2005. For that we are sorry.

“A significant number of women and girls who showed remarkable courage to speak up at that time also did not get the justice and support they needed and deserved from Strathclyde Police.

“Police Scotland launched a re-investigation of the case in 2015 after instruction from the Lord Advocate.

“It is clear that further investigations should have been carried out into Emma’s murder following the initial inquiry in 2005.

“The lack of investigation until 2015 caused unnecessary distress to her family and all those women who had come forward to report sexual violence.”