Home Affairs Reporter

NEIGHBOURS and relatives of Christine Lee, murdered minutes from her

home in Castlemilk, Glasgow, attempted in vain to revive the battered

and frozen 10-year-old before she was finally pronounced dead, police

revealed yesterday.

The leader of the search for her murderer, Detective Superintendent

John Wilson, was asked if Christine had been sexually assaulted. He

replied ''not to my knowledge.'' He ruled out nothing, however, as some

of Christine's clothing had been removed. He could not say whether what

he described as a ''spark of life'' remained in Christine's body when

she was found.

The short life of little Christine, a gentle child who loved to help

her grandmother, was brutally ended on Monday on parkland in the heart

of the Castlemilk housing scheme, which houses 40,000 people, as she

made her way home, a mere 600 yards, from her grandmother's house in

Ballantay Road, Castlemilk.

The indications yesterday were that the child's killer was local. The

murder of the Braeside Primary School pupil has traumatised an area

which is generally regarded as one of Europe's toughest housing estates,

but which is also a close-knit community. Police said they believed that

had a stranger been about, they would probably have been told.

The headmistress of Christine's school, Miss Mary Francis, said; ''We

are all numb. She was a pleasant child . . . well behaved. I have told

her class that it has happened, and I cannot make it unhappen. I am

keeping it low key to keep panic and hysteria down.''

Christine's grandparents, Matthew and Christine Lee, yesterday pleaded

with anyone who had knowledge of her last hours to come forward.

Christine left their home shortly after 4.30pm yesterday to make the

eight-minute walk to the home she shared with her mother, also

Christine, and her brothers, William, 12, Michael, nine, and sisters

Theresa, seven, and Shelly, three, in Machrie Road, Castlemilk.

Christine's parents are divorced but her father, William Lee, remains in

close touch with the family, according to friends.

Detective Superintendent Wilson said that Christine's disappearance

had been brought to police attention about 9.20pm by her mother.

Christine daily ran messages for her grandmother after school, and on

Monday afternoon she had changed into her play clothes and gone to her

grandmother's house.

She had left there between 4.30 and 4.50 to return home.

''We have no sightings of the child after that,'' said Detective

Superintendent Wilson yesterday.

It was three hours later, he said, that a relative of Mrs Lee called

at Christine's home. Her mother asked whether the child was still at her

grandmother's house. The answer that she had left there about 4.30 led

to calls being made to other relatives to find out whether Christine was

with them.

As the police were called, friends and neighbours organised a search

which quickly moved to the area known as the Pond, in the heart of

Castlemilk and more or less midway between the two houses.

Christine's father was one of a group who found the body in scrubland

at the edge of the area, and he helped others to carry her to a house in

Machrie Road, Castlemilk. Mouth to mouth resuscitation was attempted by

several people.

The temperature had dropped in the area and it had snowed. Christine

was pronounced dead at the Victoria Infirmary and a post mortem

examination was carried out.

The police also revealed yesterday that they were looking for some

kind of weapon, but they did not reveal what it was or the nature of

Christine's injuries.

Her body was barely 300 yards from her grandmother's house, but police

said it was on a slight deviation from her normal route. Her grandfather

said; ''She was under bushes next to a wall.''