A MAN has gone on trial accused of killing two teenagers last seen leaving the World's End pub in Edinburgh's Royal Mile in 1977.

Angus Sinclair yesterday pleaded not guilty to assaulting, raping and murdering Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, both 17.

The 69-year-old and his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton, who has since died, are alleged to have repeatedly punched and kicked the two women on their heads and bodies, gagged them, forced them to have sex and then strangled them.

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Appearing at the High Court in Livingston, West Lothian, Sinclair submitted three special defences of consent, alibi and incrimination.

Sinclair, according to defence submissions, was fishing on the banks of the River Forth somewhere near Cockenzie power station when the two girls were killed between October 15 and October 16, 1977.

His lawyers will argue that he had consensual sex with both Ms Eadie and Ms Scott but that the two women were murdered by Hamilton, of Glasgow.

A jury of nine women and six men were yesterday shown what Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, prosecuting, warned were "distressing and upsetting" photographs of the injured bodies of Ms Eadie and Ms Scott, both in the mortuary before their post-mortem examinations and as they lay where they were found in East Lothian.

Ms Eadie was discovered with a bra tied around her neck at Gosford Sands, close to the A198.

Ms Scott's body was found in a field near Haddington, between Coates and Huntingdon, six miles away from Gosford Sands. She was wearing a raincoat, her hands tied behind her back.

Alistair Calderwood, a former police photographer, was on the witness stand as the jury was presented with the images.

Mr Calderwood agreed that a ligature, made from a belt and a pair of tights, was shown near Ms Scott's body in original images from the scene.

The jury was also shown pictures of ligatures used to tie the girls' wrists, their clothing and swabs and hair samples taken from their bodies.

Earlier they had seen black and white photographs taken of the World's End pub shortly after the young women were killed. One image captured a police information poster about the two women.

Mr Mulholland had opened his case by questioning a retired Police Scotland data expert, Thomas Gravesen, who had prepared maps showing both the pub and its Edinburgh neighbourhood and the two deposition sites in East Lothian.

Defending, Iain Duguid QC, confirmed that the maps were new and showed the areas as they are now, not when the crimes took place.

Sinclair is also accused of stealing clothing, footwear and personal effects of both women in an attempt to pervert the course of justice, which he also denies.

Judge Lord Matthews said the trial is expected to last two to three weeks.