The tale of how predator and murderer Angus Sinclair reigned terror on Glasgow is a chilling one.  Listen to the latest Glasgow Crime Stories episode on all streaming platforms. 

He would lure girls as young as six into tenement closes then rape and sexually assault them. 

The mystery attacker would always grab his victims from behind so they would never see his face. 

Sometimes the fiend would strike twice on the same day. 

Since his reign of terror began in 1978, he'd claimed at least ten victims, but more were to follow. 

That year every cop in the city was on the lookout for the monster who showed no mercy or pity for his victims. 

Appeals had been made in the press and a photofit of their suspect had been issued as the attacks mounted. 

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On the 24th of April that year, a ten-year-old girl was raped in a tenement close in Langside Road in Govanhill on the south side of Glasgow. 

The latest case was investigated by a small team of cops based in nearby Gorbals Police Office led by Detective Inspector Joe Jackson. 

As was to be expected the 10-year-old was left deeply traumatised and damaged by the attack. 

Now retired Joe told the Glasgow Times: "That was the first one that came to my attention and that poor wee girl was very badly assaulted. 

"At the time all the rapes were being widely reported but there wasn't a lot of information to go on because of the age of the victims. 

"I gathered all the cases from across Glasgow and realise there was one link - they were all happening at weekends. 

"He was going to work on the Saturday morning and then looking for victims afterwards. 

"I told all my detectives that they were now on standby at weekends because that was when he was most likely to strike." 

In fact, the sexual predator did strike the following weekend and again in Govanhill. 

But when he tried to attack another ten-year-old, she alerted two women and he fled. 

An hour later, angered by his failure, he raped a child in Finnieston in the city's west end. 

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However, thanks to the second ten-year-old victim the police now had a proper description of their prime suspect. 

Glasgow Times:

She spoke of a small man with green hair and ears and with marks on his shoes that were not dirt. 

The suspect she later picked out from a police mugshot book was Angus Robertson Sinclair who detectives discovered had raped and strangled his seven-year-old neighbour Catherine Reehill in 1961. 

He was sentenced to ten years in prison at the time for culpable homicide. 

What the officers didn't know at the time was that Sinclair had also murdered two young women in Edinburgh and another in Glasgow and would later become a prime suspect for five other unsolved murders. 

Thanks to the ten-year old's evidence he was arrested a few days later at his home in Nitshill on the Southside. 

It would prove to be the last ever day of freedom for the 35-year-old. 

Joe added: "When we brought Sinclair in for questioning, we noticed he had green specks of paint in his hair and inside his ears. 

"He was in fact a painter and decorator and shoes were covered in paint spots exactly as the girl had described." 

However, when detectives quizzed him about the attacks Sinclair said nothing. 

That posed a problem as the detectives only had the statements of his traumatised young victims to rely on. 

Joe came up with the novel idea of bringing in Sinclair's wife Susan, a psychiatric nurse, to sit through the interviews. 

As he read over the 13 charges, with his spouse sitting next to him, Sinclair began to open up about the Glasgow attacks. 

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When asked about the rape of an eight-year-old Turkish girl in a close in Anderston on August 15, 1978, at knifepoint, he replied: "Yes, that's right, that was me. I remember that wee lassie." 

On the sexually assault of an eight-year-old girl in Dennistoun on November 3, 1978, he replied: "I don't honestly remember, but it sounds like me. Yes, that was me." 

And on attacking the 10-year-old in Govanhill on April 24, he said: "If that's it, then I probably did it." 

Sinclair also challenged Jackson: "If you can find out where and when, I'll tell you whether I did them or not." 

He did not volunteer any other information, other than to say: "I've done so many I cannae remember them all. I could have done 50, I just don't know." 

Jackson added: "Sinclair appeared to be living a normal life, he was married with a kid in a decent house." 

"I had him for three days at the Gorbals in front of his wife. 

"It was quite risky because generally wives will support their husbands. 

"However, she was horrified what he was doing to young kids. 

"She was saying during the interviews: 'Angus talk to the man, tell him what you have done.'" 

Joe also believes Sinclair was a responsible for a rape of a young boy on Halloween night the previous year in Allison Street, Govanhill. His victim had been dressed as a girl. 

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The former police chief added: "That was the only one Sinclair would not admit to probably because he had a young son of his own at the same age. 

"I thought to myself this guy has done more but the victims either didn't tell their parents or their parents failed to inform the police." 

Sinclair eventually confessed to 13 charges of rape and indecent assaults against children, aged six to 14, between 1978 and 1982. 

He appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh later that year and was given life with the recommendation he serve at least 30 years. 

Life terms for rape are rare in Scotland

However, Lord Cameron the trial judge was certain that he could pass no other sentence.  

He said: "I have considered very carefully whether a limit should be placed on the extent of the penalty, and I have decided there is only one limit - namely your life." Mr Jackson added: "Sinclair could not stop himself and was driven by his sexual habits. 

"He asked to be medically castrated in the hope it would get his sentence down. 

"The judge realised what a danger he was to the public with the sentence he handed out. 

"Sinclair admitted the attacks without a hint of remorse and recalled them like run-of-the-mill events." 






In the following years advances in forensic science have resulted in justice for Sinclair's other victims and their families. 

In November 1978, Mary Gallagher, who was just 17, had been found murdered in Springburn on the north side of the city. 

Her body was found at the foot of a 20ft wall near a footpath crossing waste ground. 

She had left home in Endrick Street at 6.45pm one Sunday night to meet two friends and was cutting across the path to get to nearby Avonspark Street where one of them lived. 

She never made it.  

Instead, she was grabbed by Sinclair in a random attack and raped, strangled and stabbed. 

The crime remained unsolved for 23 years until a cold case review using DNA identified Sinclair as the killer, who then got another life sentence in 2001 at the High Court in Glasgow. 

Former Detective Chief inspector Brian Murphy of Strathclyde Police, who led the investigation into the Gallagher case, later said Sinclair had shown no remorse. 

He added: "He's one of the most evil people I've certainly interviewed, in my life. 

"There were things going on in his head which clearly I couldn't reach."  

Glasgow Times:

In October 1977, Helen Scott and Christine Eadie, both 17, had been murdered after a night out in the World's End pub in Edinburgh's High Street. Their bodies were later found dumped 16 miles away in East Lothian. 

They had turned down an invitation to a party from the other female friends and remained in the pub until closing time. 

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On the street outside, they encountered two men, who persuaded the girls to go to a party with them.  

They were never seen alive again, their half-naked bodies turning up six miles apart on a beach and in a field.  

Glasgow Times:

Clothes from both Helen and Christine were missing, as were their handbags.  

Thirty years later DNA evidence from the crime scene linked Sinclair to the two victims. 

In 2007 he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on the double murder charge, but the trial collapsed because of a lack of evidence. 

However, in the following years new evidence came to light. 

Glasgow Times:

Forensic samples from the ligatures used to bind and strangle his two victims had been examined using a new DNA profiling technique. 

A match was made with the DNA profiles of Angus Sinclair and another man Sinclair's brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton, by now dead. 

In 2014 Sinclair became the first person in Scotland to be re-tried for the same crime on new double jeopardy rules.  

He was found guilty of Helen and Christine's double murder and sentenced to a minimum of 37 years in jail at the High Court in Livingston - the longest term in Scottish legal history

The trial judge Lord Matthews described Sinclair as a "dangerous predator capable of sinking to the depths of depravity".  

Sinclair is also believed responsible for the unsolved murders of Anna Kenny, 20, Hilda McAuley, 36, and Agnes Cooney, 23 in Glasgow over a three-month period in late 1977. 

On the night of Friday, August 5, Anna Kenny left the Hurdy Gurdy pub in Glasgow's Townhead and was never seen alive again.  

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She and a friend Wilma Sutherland had been at the bar, on Lister Street, where they met two young men. 

At closing time, Anna, 20, left the pub with one of the men, who offered to walk her to George Square, from where she could get a bus.  

She never returned home.  

Police traced the man she was with, who told them she had left him to find a cab. He said that after she had turned a corner out of sight, he heard a car brake and assumed she had either hailed a taxi or been spotted by someone she knew. 

Her remains were found by two shepherds, 21 months later in Skipness, a village on the Kintyre peninsula on the road to Campbeltown. 

All that was left was her skeleton and the shirt she was wearing at the time of her disappearance. 

Two months later, on Friday, October 1, Hilda McAuley, a divorced 36-year-old mother of two young children, was seen leaving the Plaza Ballroom at Eglinton Toll in Glasgow. 

The next day, fruit pickers found her half-naked, badly battered body lying in long grass opposite the entrance to a caravan site, 16 miles away in Langbank, Renfrewshire. 

Her clothing was scattered among the bushes and police discovered that her coat, shoes and handbag were missing. 

Seven weeks later on Friday, December 2, Agnes Cooney, a 23-year-old children's nurse had gone to the Clada Social Club on Westmoreland Street on the south side of Glasgow with a friend. 

Agnes had a few drinks and, just after midnight, said she was going home.  

Her body was found the following Sunday, near Caldercruix, Lanarkshire, by a farmer. She had been stabbed 26 times. 

Glasgow Times:

To this date, no one has been charged with or stood trial for any of the three murders. 

In March 2019, Sinclair died in his cell at Glenochil Prison in Clackmananshire from natural causes at the age of 73. 

By this time, he was incontinent and bedbound following a series of strokes over the previous 18 months. 

A Fatal Accident Inquiry was held the following year at Stirling Sheriff Court. 

His family were told of the investigation into his death but opted not to attend or participate. 

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Thanks to Joe Jackson and his team Sinclair had been off the streets for 37 years. 

After his 1982 arrest, Jackson sent a memo to every force in Scotland recommending he should be investigated for any outstanding sex crimes. However, his advice was ignored. 

Jackson rose to become head of Strathclyde Serious Crime Squad and retired in 1992 at the rank of Detective Superintendent. 

Now 80 years old he says the arrest and conviction of Sinclair was one of his biggest achievements as a police officer. 

He added: "It gave me great personal satisfaction to put him behind bars as it meant Sinclair was no longer free to commit horrendous crimes against vulnerable members of society."  

Never in living memory has Scotland been menaced by such a dangerous sexual predator. 

All but one of his crimes were carried out in the 14 years from 1968 to 1982, the one period of his adult life when he was not behind bars for any length of time. 

Despite spending more than half his life in prison, his record of sexual violence is unparalleled. 

So, who was Angus Sinclair? 

He had been born in the former maternity hospital at Rottenrow in Glasgow in 1945, a month after the war in Europe ended. 

He was the second son, the third child of Angus and Maimie Sinclair. 

Since the 1930s, the couple had lived in a tenement on St Peter's Street in St George's Cross.  

It was where Sinclair grew up, with his brother, John, and sister Connie. 

Angus Snr was a journeyman joiner from Stirling; his wife the daughter of a coal miner from Salsburgh, a pit town near Shotts in Lanarkshire. 

In 1959 - Sinclair stole a collection box from a Glasgow church, aged 13 and broke into a house that same year. 

In 1961 he was given three years' probation for sex offences against an eight-year-old girl.  

That same year at the age of 16, Sinclair lured Catherine Reehill, into a stairwell before raping and strangling her. 

The calculated manner in which he disposed of the body and tried to cover his tracks shocked police. 

He even called the ambulance himself, telling the operator that "a wee girl has fallen down the stairs". 

A psychiatrist's report from the time said: "I do not think that any form of psychotherapy is likely to benefit his condition and he will constitute a danger from now onwards. 

"He is obsessed by sex, and given the minimum of opportunity, he will repeat these offences."  

Sinclair was sentenced to just 10 years at the High Court in Edinburgh and was out in less than seven. 

While serving his sentence in Saughton Prison in Edinburgh, Sinclair trained to be a painter and decorator. 

After his release from prison in 1968 he spent two years living in a flat in Hill Place - less than a mile from the World's End pub. 

He met Sarah Hamilton, a student nurse from Glasgow who was living in nurses' accommodation at Edinburgh's Eastern General Hospital. 

Sinclair, 25, and Sarah, 20, married in 1970 in the registrar's office in Leith.  

Both families were there, including Sarah's younger brother Gordon Hamilton, then aged 15. 

After the wedding, the couple spent two weeks in Campbeltown on their honeymoon.  

Two years after they married, the couple had a son, Gary.  

By then, they were living with one of Sarah's brothers in Glasgow's Gallowgate.  

It was during this period, in the 1970s, that Sinclair bought an ice cream van to supplement his painting income and became interested in photography, even setting up his own darkroom.  

He also had a campervan which he took away on weekend fishing trips with Hamilton. 

In 1979, he was convicted of possessing a handgun and was sent to jail for six months.  

In 1980, after his release from prison, Sinclair and Sarah put down £3000 as a deposit on a Barratt home in a new estate in South Nitshill in Glasgow, for which they paid £27,250.  

It was during that period that Joe Jackson's team began to see the pattern linking a series of rapes and sex attacks on young girls across Glasgow. After his arrest in 1982, Sinclair never left prison. 

In 2004, Scottish police revealed they were officially linking the unsolved murders of Anna Kenny, Hilda McAuley, Agnes Cooney, Helen Scott and Christine Eadie. 

Following Sinclair's conviction for the World's End murders, Detective Superintendent Allan Jones, said a killing spree of that magnitude had not been seen in Scotland in modern times. 

He added: "There's no other thing to compare it to, really. There have been serial killers elsewhere, in other countries. But in Scotland, no - there's nothing else. 

"Peter Tobin is clearly one of the worst killers we've ever seen in recent times, but Sinclair is by far the worst."