THE lawyer for the family of Emma Caldwell's – still seeking justice 16 years after her death - has damned the Crown Office as "unbelievably cynical and cruel" in a coruscating letter to Scotland's most senior prosecutor.

Aamer Anwar has written to the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, to demand a judicial inquiry six years after police were ordered to reopen the investigation after the exposure of forgotten suspect, Iain Packer.

He accuses prosecutors of prolonging the grief and uncertainty of Emma's mother, Margaret, after offering only false hope of a future prosecution while fobbing her off with empty promises of progress.

In his eight-page letter Anwar also suggests the Lord Advocate must examine his conscience to ask if the failure to prosecute Packer, who has a criminal record of violence against women, has put others at risk.

Emma, who came from Erskine, Renfrewshire, was found dead in woods in rural South Lanarkshire on May 8, 2005. She was 27. She had last been seen alive a month before on the streets of Glasgow, a 45-minute drive away but, after a two-year murder investigation, the case against four Turkish men collapsed.

Then, 10 years after Emma's death, in April 2015, a newspaper revealed a forgotten suspect, Iain Packer, 48. He had been interviewed six times by detectives and, after changing his story several times, finally admitted knowing Emma, who had been working on the red-light streets of Glasgow after becoming addicted to drugs.

Anwar, one of Scotland's most prominent campaigning lawyers, condemns the failure to prosecute Packer and suggests the Lord Advocate must consider his position if he is incapable of taking a decision.

He writes: "The very least that Margaret Caldwell is entitled to is the truth and for you to have the courage to make a decision. With respect, if you do not have that courage to fulfil promises made to Mrs Caldwell and to make a decision then perhaps the time has come for you to consider whether you should remain as Lord Advocate."

Packer's involvement in the case was revealed in 2015, on the 10th anniversary of Emma's murder. During the initial inquiry, he had been interviewed six times by police and changed his story repeatedly before admitting knowing Emma, who was 27 when she was killed.

Her drug addiction, which began after the loss of her big sister to cancer, had forced her on to the red-light streets of Glasgow and Packer, who was said to be obsessed with her, had repeatedly driven her to the remote forestry track where her body was found. Other women told police he had also taken them to the same isolated spot and, once there, had flown into violent rages.

However, after directing detectives to the location, he was never spoken to again as police wrongly focused on four Turkish suspects. They would be charged before the case against them collapsed with all charges dropped.

A month ago, Emma's mother Margaret demanded the prosecution of Packer to allow a jury to decide his guilt or innocence. Mrs Caldwell, 72, told us: "They ask for patience but how much? They ask me to wait but for how long?"

Her lawyer has now written to the Lord Advocate to echo her dismay and demand an inquiry into the failure of the Crown Office to secure justice since Emma's death in April 2005. Anwar writes: "The treatment to date by Crown Office of Margaret Caldwell is unbelievably cynical and cruel."

New Strathclyde Police picture of murdered prostitute Emma Caldwell..

New Strathclyde Police picture of murdered prostitute Emma Caldwell..

He highlighted the Lord Advocate's pledge on the European Day for Victims last year to put victims' voices at the heart of the justice system and "continue to seek and act on feedback from victims and witnesses to ensure the service we provide is truly victim-focused".

Anwar writes: "We can only conclude from the treatment of Mrs Caldwell that these were simply empty words. You are perfectly entitled to call this feedback on behalf of the family of Emma Caldwell: The Crown Office is broken."

Anwar says Emma's family were happy with the commitment of the detectives tasked with reopening the inquiry in 2015 but fear that urgency has waned since Police Scotland delivered a report naming Packer as a suspect to the Crown in 2018.

He said the senior officer in charge of the inquiry has moved on, suggests the inquiry has been downsized and brands updates to the family a "box-ticking" exercise while the repeated claims by police and prosecutors that this is a "complex investigation" insult their intelligence.

In his letter, Anwar, who, along with Mrs Caldwell, met the Lord Advocate to discuss the case after it was reopened, demands to know what resources are now being devoted to the inquiry adding: "Six years have passed, a full-scale investigation has been wound down and your office has failed to fulfil promises you made to Mrs Caldwell and her family in 2015.

"There is no reasonable explanation you can provide, as to why it has taken your office the last six years to decide on whether or not to indict the alleged killer. We must now ask for you to consider appointing an independent judge to lead an inquiry into the failures over the last 16 years."

He writes: "The issue is one of transparency and accountability, of which there has been none to date."

Yesterday, Anwar said the Crown Office must give Mrs Caldwell information to assure her the investigation into her daughter's death is being given every possible attention and treated with urgency and commitment.

A spokesman for the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service siad: "The Lord Advocate appreciates the impact that involvement with the criminal justice system can have on those who have lost a loved one.

"The desire to see matters resolved and have questions answered is wholly understandable. However, in any case a decision on if there should be a prosecution can only be taken once all relevant investigations have been completed.

"COPFS and Police Scotland are working together to pursue this investigation and have maintained regular contact with the family.

"To protect the potential for a prosecution, including the right of any accused person to a fair trial, it is not appropriate for the Crown to comment in detail while investigations continue."