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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
David Love

Cop vows to find bodies of mum and toddler son as killer jailed 45 years after murder

The detective who snared a double murderer over 45 years after he killed his lover and toddler vows to find out where he buried the bodies.

Bill MacDowell, 81, was handed a life sentence last week for the murders of Renee MacRae, 36, and their three-year-old son, Andrew in November 1976.

Their bodies have never been found, causing deep anguish for the family.

A week after sentencing at the High Court in Inverness, MacDowell continues to remain tight lipped, reports the Daily Record.

Yesterday he launched an appeal against his conviction.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Geddes, who led the complex investigation into the murders, confirmed yesterday he would be arranging a meeting in jail with the killer to try to find out the location of Renee and Andrew’s final resting place.

Renee MacRae and her son Andrew (PA)

He said: “I will be in touch with the prison authorities and will take advice from others, including a criminal psychologist, before engaging with MacDowell directly.”

Responding to MacDowell’s appeal, DCI Geddes added: “We are confident in our case and the conviction. He is perfectly entitled to appeal and we have to let the due process of law take place now.”

It was revealed yesterday that MacDowell has instructed his lawyer Murray McAra KC to appeal against his conviction.

MacDowell with his lover Renee MacRae who he killed in 1976 (PA)

Mr McAra said: “We have marked an appeal. We have given notice of intention to appeal.”

MacDowell had 14 days to state his intention to appeal after being found guilty.

His appeal will now go to a senior judge to decide if it can go ahead. If it is successful, a hearing will be arranged and a panel of judges will hear the debate from defence and prosecution on points of law.

A burnt out BMW (PA)

During the trial, the court heard MacDowell, of Penrith, Cumbria, killed or abducted his lover Renee and their son in a layby on the A9 near Dalmagarry, south of Inverness, on November 12, 1976.

MacDowell’s boss at a local construction firm, Gordon MacRae, had been married to Renee but the couple were estranged.

Andrew and Renee’s disappearance was one of the longest unsolved murder cases in Scots criminal history.

Police officers at the emptied Leanach Quarry near Inverness which is being searched as part of the investigation (PA)

A huge police investigation was launched after their disappearance, with road blocks set up on the busy road in an attempt to find as many witnesses as possible.

But despite this, and investigations in 1986, 2004 and 2018, their remains have never been found.

Operation Abermule, the latest investigation, was set up to find the murderer and to discover the resting place of the pair’s bodies almost 46 years after the crime.

So far, it has achieved only one of its aims – with MacDowell convicted of the two murders.

But DCI Geddes said he would “remain optimistic” that the bodies could still be found.

He said: “We set out with that as our objective and we, the organisation, whoever comes after me, will not give up on that until there is no longer any hope.

“And there is hope at the moment, so we’ll remain optimistic.”

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