A man has been convicted of murdering his lover and their three-year-old son more than 45 years ago. 

William MacDowell, 80, was convicted by a jury at the High Court at Inverness of killing both Renee MacRae and their son Andrew in November 1976.

He was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of their bodies and personal effects.

Their bodies have never been recovered.

MacDowell, of Penrith, Cumbria, denied all the charges against him and his lawyers had lodged special defences of incrimination and alibi.

The court had heard how Mrs MacRae, who was separated from her husband, had been having an affair with married MacDowell at the time she and Andrew disappeared.

Police welcomed news of the conviction.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Geddes said: “Renee and Andrew’s family, and friends, have waited decades for justice and I hope that the outcome in court today can provide some form of closure for them.

“They have carried themselves with absolute dignity throughout and they are very much in my thoughts today.

“The murders of Renee and Andrew MacRae have had a significant impact on people in Inverness, and beyond for decades.

“It is fitting to know that despite the passage of time, justice has finally been served.”