IT was a murder of such horrifying brutality that parents in Glasgow were left wondering if their child would be next.

A 10-year-old girl making her way to school in broad daylight was lured off the street, raped, and strangled with her own scarf.

Her body was found three days later in a derelict tenement basement on top of a mattress and covered with timber, rubble, and a giant piece of cardboard.

The city was appalled that a child was no longer safe going to school in the morning.

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Glasgow Times: The victim, Andrea Hedger, lived with her family at Baliol Street in the Woodlands area of the city.

On April 5, 1978, she left her tenement home at around 9:20am for the short walk to Willowbank Primary School where she was a pupil.

The family had unexpectedly slept in and Andrea had a note from her mum Margaret explaining why she was late.

She never arrived at Willowbank and when she also failed to return home her anxious family, fearing the worst, called the police.

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Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

A major investigation was launched involving more than 200 uniformed officers and later 60 detectives.

Back gardens, basements, and empty properties throughout the Woodlands area were scoured for the missing schoolgirl. The nearby Kelvin river was also searched by police frogmen in case she had fallen in.

Andrea had a distinctive hairstyle fashionable at that time called a Purdey named after the character played by Joanne Lumley in the Avengers TV series.

Glasgow Times:

During the police probe a picture emerged of a shy, well-behaved girl, who loved school and was well regarded by her teachers. It would have been out of character for her to play truant.

Three days later on the morning of Saturday April 8, Andrea’s body was found by police in the basement of a derelict property at nearby Ashley Street, just around the corner from her home.

Officers had been alerted by the smell of her decomposing body.

It turned out that the basement had been searched previously but her body missed because it was so well hidden.

Bryan McLaughlin, now 75 and retired, was a Detective Sergeant at Cranstonhill Police Office with responsibility for the Woodlands area.

He told the Glasgow Times: “When a child is murdered everyone wants to solve it, everything is thrown at it, every effort is made to bring the person responsible to justice.

“I remember the family who were very decent people were absolutely distraught.

“The discovery of Andrea’s body was a horrendous time for everyone involved in the investigation.

“From that moment the whole focus of everyone in the investigation was finding out who was responsible.

“For police officers who had young children of their own it was a particularly difficult inquiry.”

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Glasgow Times:

Six days later a funeral service was held for Andrea at Wellington Church on University Avenue, after which she was taken to the Western Necropolis for burial.

The cortege carrying her little coffin had a police motorcycle escort and locals lined the street all the way from her home to the church in silent tribute.

Both the search and then the murder investigation were hampered because the area round Ashley Street was said to be occupied prostitutes and other undesirables who lived in the flats.

Many of the houses were derelict and unoccupied, including the basement where Andrea was eventually found.

One mother-of-five told a reporter how men would regularly knock her door at night thinking it was a brothel.

The vast majority of local people, like the woman and the Hedger family, were perfectly respectable and law-abiding.

A campaign was launched that would eventually force the authorities to clean up the area and force the landlords to improve the conditions of their houses – but it was too late for Andrea.

One positive outcome was that the increased police numbers on the ground meant that fewer crimes were being committed and more were being solved.

Glasgow Times:

On April 25, the police announced that they had arrested and charged local homeless teenager Robert Tervet who had been living rough in the area.

Through Bryan’s network of local informants they had identified him as a suspect early on.

The young detective was tackled with bringing him in for questioning and taking away his clothes for forensic examination.

However, as the net closed in, Tervet fled to Manchester to stay with family members and was later arrested in nearby Stockport.

On June 16, the baby-faced suspect appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court where he admitted the murder and rape of little Andrea.

Glasgow Times:

On the day of the hearing hundreds of people turned up outside the court to shout abuse at Tervet as he arrived from Barlinnie  Prison.

Police officers had to link arms and form a cordon to protect the young accused from the baying mob.

It emerged that Tervet came from a family of 11 children, was unemployed and had been living rough in the Woodlands area for some  time.

He had 11 previous convictions and it was the theft of some lead from a house in Ashley Street which had brought him to the attention of the police.

He had also been interviewed in the past about an unrelated sex  attack.

On the day of the murder he claimed he had argued with his 15-year-old girlfriend who was expecting his baby. This had left him in a distressed state and he then claimed he was standing in the street, crying, when Andrea, on her way to school, stopped and asked him what the matter was.

He claimed that she said to him: “Why is a big man like you crying.”

Tervet then led her away to the basement in Ashley Street where he raped and then strangled her.

It was later said in court that the attack on little Andrea was his way of getting rid of all his anger over the slight from his girlfriend.

It’s not known how much of what he told the police was true in terms of his initial meeting with Andrea in the street.

But if true it seemed that a simple act of kindness by Andrea had led to her death.

Tervet was of low intelligence with a personality disorder but deemed fit enough to instruct a solicitor and stand trial for murder.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Tervet received a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years for the murder of Andrea Hedger, 10 years for raping her and a year for the theft of the lead.

Judge Lord Wheatley attracted controversy when he told Tervet before sentencing: “It may be that you will suffer in prison for the nature of your crime, but having regard to the nature of that crime, I can feel no sorrow for any treatmeant to which you may be  subjected.”

His Lordship also added that the English language didn’t contain sufficient descriptions for Tervet’s actions and that the law didn’t have adequate punishment for what he’d done to Andrea.

His comments attracted criticism from prison reform organisations who said the judge had put his life in danger.

In any event, Tervet was already being kept in solitary confinement at Barlinnie Prison in case of attacks from fellow prisoners.

After serving part of his sentence in Scotland, Tervet was later moved to a prison in Liverpool and paroled in 1997 from an open prison in Gloucestershire in the south of England after 19 years behind bars.

At that time Bryan was head of criminal intelligence for Strathclyde Police and got wind of his impending release.

Though the public may have forgotten about Tervet, he hadn’t.

Bryan told the local police, who knew nothing about the killer’s past, that he would soon be out and on their patch.

He added: “Then the systems for monitoring people like Tervet once they were released into the community were not what they  are now. He was the type of person that you don’t come across very often in your police career and definitely one to look out for.

“I have no idea if he ever reoffended or was likely to. I don’t even know if he is still alive.

“But Tervet showed no remorse for what he did to Andrea, only self-pity, and that is something which should always be remembered.”