Ministers are considering requests for a judge-led public inquiry into how one of Scotland's most notorious sexual predators was able to evade justice for so long. 

On Wednesday, Iain Packer was jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years, after being found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of murdering Emma Caldwell in 2005.

He was also found guilty on 11 charges of rape against nine women and 21 other charges, including sexual assault and abduction.

Emma's mother, Margaret Caldwell said daughter had been failed because of a “toxic culture of misogyny and corruption.”

READ MORE: Emma Caldwell: A daughter and sister, not only a murder victim

In 2015 the Sunday Mail revealed Packer had taken Emma to Limehouse Woods, where her body was found, six times.

Police responded by launching an unlawful inquiry to identify the paper’s sources before finally before being ordered to reopen the murder investigation by then Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland.

In 2019, Packer told the BBC journalist Sam Polling he had, in 2007, taken police officers to the woods where Emma's body was found while, when giving evidence in court, he admitted taking sex workers to the same spot.

He gave multiple statements to police over two years but was never interviewed under caution as a suspect.

Mr Yousaf was challenged on the case at First Minister’s Questions by both Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

Mr Ross said: “Margaret had a message for the First Minister, she said this, ‘If Mr Yousaf genuinely cares about the victims and my Emma, then he has no other option but to organise an independent public inquiry’.

“And she continued, ‘With respect, what are you waiting for?’”

Mr Yousaf replied: “A judge-led public inquiry is something that we’re exploring, is absolutely not off the table and is something we’re giving very serious consideration to given the systemic failings in this case."

The First Minister added: “There are many questions to answer why Packer was able to evade justice and continue to commit many crimes as he did for so long.”

Mr Sarwar also quoted Margaret Caldwell, who said women who had raised the alarm about Packer were “humiliated, dismissed and, in some instances, arrested whilst the police gifted freedom to an evil predator to rape and rape again”.

He said that for any inquiry to be “truly independent” it would have to be led by someone outside the Scottish justice system.

READ MORE: Police Scotland criticised over Emma Caldwell investigation

The First Minister said he agreed with Mr Sarwar. He continued: “There is a strong argument that the inquiry is led by somebody outwith Scotland, so I don’t remove that option from the table.”

He said he had yet to meet with Margaret Caldwell and wanted to do that first before any formal announcement. He also said there were legal process that needed to take place first, Packer could still appeal his sentence.