Aamer Anwar—solicitor of the family of Emma Caldwell (Picture: Guy Smallman)

“A toxic culture of misogyny and corruption meant the police failed so many women and girls who came forward to speak up against Packer. Instead of receiving justice and compassion, they were humiliated, dismissed and in some instances arrested, whilst the police gifted freedom to an evil predator to rape and rape again

“We now know Packer carried out rapes, sexual offences and assaults some 19 times after Emma’s murder in 2005. Margaret believes that officers sabotaged an investigation into Packer for a decade and have blood on their hands, for far too long they have remained in the shadows, but must now answer for their betrayal.

“Margaret believes she was betrayed by Strathclyde Police and by Sir Stephen House, and his senior detectives. House was formerly Chief Constable of Strathclyde and Police Scotland and is now Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, presently suspended.

“On Stephen House’s watch in 2015, the ‘Counter Corruption Unit’ unlawfully spied on police officers who blamed Iain Packer and tried to uncover the Sunday Mail sources, when the police should have been more concerned with taking a serial rapist and killer off the streets.

“There needs to be an independent public inquiry into what went wrong. The scale of the crimes and the failures are so catastrophic that nothing less than a judicial public inquiry will suffice. Neither the police nor Crown Office can be allowed or trusted to investigate themselves and their former bosses. 

“Margaret, the many women who testified, and the public must have faith that any investigation will be robust and transparent.

“Police Scotland have apologised to Emma Caldwell, her family and many other victims let down by the police in 2005 and in the decade that followed. 

“Just saying sorry means nothing unless you see any officers who were engaged in the alleged misconduct dealt with and their pensions withdrawn. Officers who were engaged in the alleged corruption or criminality should be prosecuted.

“Police officers stand accused of a shameful betrayal of these women to protect their own careers and of alleged criminality that allowed one of the UK’s worst sex offenders to evade justice for 18 years.

“In July 2007, four Turkish men appeared in court, I acted for one of the accused Abubeckir Oncu. In 2007, we were then told this was the most expensive and complex investigation ever, with £4 million spent on accusing four innocent men.

“We very quickly discovered that the surveillance conducted over 2005 to 2006 proved absolutely nothing, that the translation was deeply flawed and at times imaginary.

“We also learned that Iain Packer was interviewed for the sixth time in March 2007 and took officers to the spot where Emma’s body was discovered, telling them he took other women there. Those police officers were told to shut down that line of inquiry and to pursue ‘the Turks’.

“For over ten years, the police perpetuated a lie, shutting down an investigation into the real killer, spying on journalists of the Sunday Mail and persecuting detectives who had done their duty in going after Packer. 

“When the case collapsed in 2008 the police chose not to do anything further, other than maintain the lie to Emma’s parents that the Turkish men were guilty. This case involves sexism but also racism.

“Whatever a woman’s job, status, addictions or vulnerabilities, it should never be used as a reason to ignore sexual violence or treat them as a second-class citizen. The homicide rate for sex workers in the UK is 12 times higher than for other women and in Glasgow it constitutes the largest single group of unsolved murders.

“Emma Caldwell mattered, the 25 women who spoke up mattered, six of whom are dead and the many whose voices were never heard in this court mattered. We honour all of them.”

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