IN Glasgow’s long history of crime and violence, the murder of eight-year-old Mark Cummings was shocking, even by the city’s grim standards.

It was a warm June evening in 2004 and like most boys of his age Mark was out playing football with his pals.

Glasgow Times: Mark Cummings killed by sex offender leggate.

When Mark failed to return at dinner time to his 17th storey home on Charles Street, Royston, his mum Margaret-Ann Cummings, frantic with worry, phoned the police.

The well-behaved, good-natured schoolboy, who had two older brothers, knew not to wander off and be home in time for meals.

Police launched a full-scale search for Mark, involving a helicopter, a police dog team and a number of officers.

As the hours passed, fears grew for his safety.

Later that night the tower block concierge, who had been tidying out the ground floor bin store, made a grim find.

He knew that a young boy had been missing and had tried earlier to reassure his mother.

One of the bags seemed heavier than others, and when he looked inside, he got the shock of his life.

Inside was the naked, battered and bruised body of Mark ­Cummings.

He alerted the police, who quickly realised he had also been ­strangled.

They also realised they were looking for a sex offender, possibly someone who lived in the same block.

A search of the police database would flag up the name of ­Stuart Leggate, a convicted paedophile.

But even before then, the police were contacted by his father who lived in the same block.

Glasgow Times: Stuart Leggate was found guilty of the murder of Mark Cumming, far left, in Royston, main picture, and below the youngster’s mum, Margaret Ann Cummings

He had heard about the discovery of the missing boy’s body and realised his son would be a prime suspect.

Police decided to pull Leggate in for questioning, but he was ­nowhere to be found.

They were just about to launch a major manhunt when their prime suspect arrived home.

Leggate was taken to nearby Baird Street Police Office where he made a full and frank confession after being told that the police had found his victim’s body.

He admitted he had been working on his car around 5pm when he got chatting to Mark as he played football.

He offered to take him to his flat where he would show him the latest computer games he had. It was a ploy he had used in the past to lure previous victims.

Mark also had some grease on his clothes and Leggate then offered to take him to the flat on the sixth floor and clean it off.

Once in the flat Mark told Leggate that he wanted to go home but the monster forced him into a bedroom where he threw him to the floor and began punching and kicking him in a violent frenzy.

He eventually strangled the terrified boy with his trousers.

Leggate, 28, also admitted putting the boy’s body into a black bin bag and dumping him in the rubbish chute.

Bizarrely, he then drove to a clifftop in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where he threw the trousers used to strangle Mark and a bloodied towel into the North Sea.

He had only returned home because he wrongly thought he had disposed of all the incriminating evidence, including the body.

In October that year, at the High Court in Glasgow, Leggate was sentenced to life after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting then strangling Mark and throwing his body down the flats’ refuse chute,

His defence counsel Donald Findlay QC, said there was little he could say on behalf of his client other than he had thought about throwing himself off the cliffs in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

There were many people in Royston who would have been ­happy to do that for him.

At the end of the trial it also emerged that Leggate had a long history of sexual offending that had got progressively worse each time he had transgressed.

In 1993, at the age of 16, he was convicted of shameless indecency and given two-year probation on the condition he went for psychiatric treatment.

Two years later he was jailed for four months for lewd and libidinous practices and assault against a nine-year-old boy.

In 1997, Leggate was convicted of sexually assaulting three children in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, including a 10-year-old boy and two girls, aged three and seven, and placed on the sex offenders’ register.

When the local council had cleared his home after his imprisonment, they found the bedroom walls plastered with pictures of naked boys.

Leggate was then released in September 1999, after serving half of a four-year jail sentence for the attacks.

Lord Dawson, who sentenced Leggate for Mark’s murder, said no words of his could express any comfort or solace to Mark Cummings family and ordered him to serve 20 years before he could be considered for parole.

He also told Leggate: “You have a terrible record.

“I regard you as a highly dangerous man and the public must be protected from you for a very long time.”

Neighbours on Charles Street were horrified by the brutality of the crime, but also angry that Leggate had been allowed to live next to them without being warned of his past.

At the time, Strathclyde Police admitted it was difficult to constantly monitor sex offenders once they were out of prison, particularly given their predatory nature.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Smith said: “Fundamentally, we cannot watch these people 24 hours a day and I think the circumstances showed that basically it was an opportunity exploited within a very few minutes.

“That’s the difficulty – whilst there are sex offenders in the community, there will always be that element of risk.”

Glasgow Times: Margaret Ann Cummings, the mother of murdered Glasgow child Mark Cummings at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Mrs Cummings is calling for a new law which would notify parents if a sex offender is living in their area..

Since her son’s murder Margaret-Ann has been campaigning for a Mark’s Law to allow families ­access to details of high risk sex offenders living in their area, which they could check inline.

She is still campaigning to this day for a change in the law.

Paul Martin, then an MSP whose constituency included Royston, said at the time: “There is a serious need for a top-to-bottom review of how we deal with sex offenders to ensure that we don’t place them in communities alongside young families.”

Local people in Royston felt they should have been told that there was such a dangerous offender as Stuart Leggate in their midst.

If it hadn’t been Mark, it could easily have been one of their ­children. Had they known Leggate was a sex offender, they might even have been able to take steps to protect the young boy that day.

However, no-one thought there was anything suspicious about the boy talking to the older man.

It’s not known why Leggate killed Mark, other than to cover up the fact that he had taken a eight-year-old boy to his home to sexually assault him. With his previous record he would be going straight back to prison, for a very long time.

However, Leggate chillingly told police after his arrest: “It was like I actually heard myself saying ‘you let the last one go, I am not letting this one go’.

“I continued until he was dead.”

He also told officers how “a bit of the old me had come back” when he had killed Mark. It also emerged that Leggate had changed his name after leaving prison to apply for jobs and he ­succeeded.

He was also able to slip into the Charles Street community in 2001 under his new identity. with no one the wiser about his history.

Two years before the murder he had worked as a driver delivering scaffolding to various establishments, including schools.

Serial killers and sex offenders like Robert Black and Peter Sutcliffe had sought work in the past as drivers to give them the opportunity to travel and find fresh ­targets.

Some police officers think that Leggate, like them, could have been on the start of a killing spree.

Had it not been for the concierge finding the black bag with Mark’s body, then he might have got away with it and gone on to kill again.

The reality was there was enough evidence to put him away, including CCTV footage showing Leggate chatting with Mark before taking him up to his flat.

However, that was small consolation for his mother and the local community.

In 2010, when asked about the night she learned Mark had been murdered, Margaret-Ann said: ‘I was not able to hold Mark afterwards because he was classified as evidence. He was just lying there, and I couldn’t hold him.’”