Scotland’s most notorious serial killer, the World’s End murderer Angus Sinclair, died in prison yesterday.

He was aged 73, and had spent more than half his life in jail, as a result of a string of horrific sex attacks, rapes and murders.

He was convicted of four killings, but police suspect he was responsible for at least four more murders during the 1970s.

Sinclair, who in 2014 was given the longest sentence ever handed down by a Scottish court, died at HMP Glenochil, Clackmannanshire, yesterday morning.

He had been reported to be frail and ill in recent months, but the cause of death was not given.

The youngest of seven sons and three daughters born to Angus and Mary Sinclair, he was brought up in the St George’s Cross area of Glasgow and attended Lovell Street Primary, followed by St George’s Junior Secondary School.

He first took a life at the age of just 16 and was jailed for 10 years in 1961, after admitting killing a seven-year-old neighbour, Catherine Reehill.

After strangling and raping her, he threw her body down a tenement stairwell, claiming she had fallen – even calling an ambulance – but subsequently admitted to culpable homicide.

He already had convictions for stealing the collection box from a church when he was 13 and another for housebreaking.

He was serving three years’ probation for lewd and libidinous practices against an eight-year-old girl when he killed Catherine Reehill, for whose murder he served six years of the 10-year sentence.

Released from prison, he married trainee nurse Sarah McCulloch in Edinburgh and they had a son, Gary. 

Sinclair had trained as a painter and decorator in jail and, to the outside world, he appeared to be living a quiet life. 

But, during the course of 1977, it is now suspected by police he secretly engaged in a murder spree, taking the lives of six women.

He was locked up again in 1982, when he was sentenced to life, for a series of rapes and indecent assaults on boys and girls aged between eight and 11, after admitting 11 charges. 

While serving this sentence, he was given a further life sentence for the murder of Mary Gallacher in 1978.

Following a cold case review, Strathclyde Police had linked him using DNA evidence to her murder on a footpath near a Glasgow railway line.

During the attack, the 17-year-old was dragged into bushes and strangled using a ligature before her throat was cut.

Sinclair was also tied to the notoriously unsolved World’s End murders, again using DNA evidence.

Developments in technology enabled police to prove he was the man who had raped and murdered teenagers Christine Eadie and Helen Scott in 1977, after meeting them in Edinburgh’s World’s End pub.

The 17-year-olds were raped and strangled after getting into Sinclair’s caravanette outside the pub, where they had been drinking.

Their bodies were found the next day, dumped in the East Lothian countryside, six miles apart.

Christine was found naked at Gosford Bay, Aberlady. She had been beaten punched, kicked and bitten as well as bound, raped and strangled, and gagged with her underwear. She had a ligature around her neck. 

Helen’s partially clothed body  was found in a field near Haddington. Like Christine, her hands were tied behind her back and a ligature made from a belt and her tights was around her neck. She too had been raped, throttled, kicked and her head stamped on.

Sinclair was first tried for the murders in 2007and, controversially, acquitted.
However, his case was a driving factor behind the reform of the “double jeopardy” law that prevented someone being tried twice for the same offence.

Changes to the law enabled the Crown to try him again in 2014 despite the previous acquittal. 

Sinclair attempted to blame the murders on his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton, who had passed away in 1996, but this time he was convicted – thanks to DNA evidence and advances in science – and given a third life sentence, with a minimum term of 37 years, which is the longest sentence ever imposed by a Scottish court. 

He would have been 106 years old before being considered for release on parole.

In addition to the World’s End killings, police also think he was responsible for the unsolved murders of four women from the Glasgow area – Frances Barker, 37, Hilda McAuley, 36, Agnes Cooney, 23, and Anna Kenny, 20 – who were all killed in 1977, due to similarities in the way they were killed.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman confirmed the news of Sinclair’s passing. 
The spokesman said: “Angus Robertson Sinclair, 73, a prisoner at HMP Glenochil has died. He was convicted at Edinburgh High Court on August 31, 1982. 

“Police Scotland have been advised and the matter reported to the procurator fiscal. 

“A fatal accident inquiry will be held in due course.”