Tributes were yesterday paid to a top forensic pathologist who died aged 89 after helping solve some of Scotland's most chilling crimes.

Dr William Hendry also had a leading role in dealing with the aftermath of the Piper Alpha disaster – which saw 167 men killed in a gas explosion on the North Sea rig in 1988.

Dr Hendry grew up in Aberdeen after being born in London in 1922. He followed his father into medicine, studying at the University of Aberdeen.

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He took over his father's GP practice in the 1950s and later went on to become a police surgeon.

His role with the police led him into forensic pathology and some of the biggest murder cases. Dr Hendry helped investigate the murder of seven-year-old, George Forbes.

The youngster was missing for four months in 1963 before his body was found on an Aberdeen allotment.

And four years later he helped solve the puzzle of one of Scotland's most notorious killings – known as the Garvie murder.

His successor, Dr James Grieve, yesterday said the doctor had inspired generations of pathologists.

He said: "He was an exceptional forensic pathologist who was renowned for his meticulous post-mortem examination."

Dr Hendry married his wife Margaret in 1948 and the couple had four sons.