Emma Caldwell accused admits sex worker visits to woods

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Iain Packer was giving evidence for a third day at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow

The man accused of murdering Emma Caldwell has said he made six visits with sex workers to woods where the 27-year-old’s body was found.

Iain Packer is giving evidence for a third day at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He denies killing sex worker Ms Caldwell and disposing of her body in Limefield Woods near Biggar, South Lanarkshire, in April 2005.

Mr Packer said the woods were just somewhere to “go a run in the van”.

He denies a total of 36 charges of physical and sexual violence involving multiple women.

The 51-year-old has been answering questions from both his lawyer, Ronnie Renucci KC, and the prosecutor Advocate Depute Richard Goddard KC, for more than nine hours over the past three days.

At the start of Thursday’s evidence session, Mr Goddard said to him: “Your account is, this is somewhere you just happened upon in your van with a sex worker from Glasgow?”

Mr Packer replied: “Correct”

The prosecutor then asked: “And another one?” to which the accused said: “Correct, six times I was there”.

Mr Packer agreed that he only took sex workers to the remote location when it was dark.

Asked specifically how many women he took to Limefield Woods, Mr Packer said: “Three or four.”

Then, when pointing out that number differed from Mr Packer’s previous answer of six women, Mr Goddard said: “The truth is you just don’t know, do you Mr Packer?”

The accused denied that the area he took sex workers to was the same area Emma Caldwell’s body was found – telling the court it was a “different part of the woods”.

Emma Caldwell’s body was found in a remote part of South Lanarkshire five weeks after she went missing

Mr Goddard then asked the accused where he was on the night Emma Caldwell disappeared, and Mr Packer said he did not know.

He told the court he could have been at work or walking his dogs.

Asked if he had been at work would there not be records to prove it, Mr Packer told the court the company was no longer in business so the paperwork had all gone.

He told the court that he would often work anti-social hours as a sign erector to get access to shops when they were closed.

“My job wasn’t nine to five,” he told the prosecutor.

Mr Goddard told the court the last sighting of Emma Caldwell was on the night she went missing in Glasgow Green – somewhere Mr Packer was known to frequent regularly.

Mr Goddard reminded the jury about telecoms evidence that showed Glasgow Green as the second most popular signal point for Mr Packer’s mobile phone, other than his home address.

Iain Packer was asked about visits to the woods where Emma Caldwell’s body was found

Asked about his work as a sign erector in 2005, Mr Goddard asked Mr Packer about cables he used in the course of his work.

Mr Packer was shown a cable that was found by Emma Caldwell’s body which was recovered in Limefield Woods in 2005.

The accused said that was not the type of cable he would use for this work.

Mr Goddard said: “Might that have come from the back of your van Mr Packer?”, to which the accused replied: “I’ve never had that cable in the back of my van”.

The prosecutor reminded Mr Packer about soil evidence given to the court by Prof Lorna Dawson. She had said there was a 97% match at two locations close to where Emma Caldwell’s body was found with soil samples taken from Mr Packer’s van.

Asked why there would be a strong match, Mr Packer said: “I can’t answer that, I’m not a scientist.”

Mr Packer insisted he had not been in that part of the woods and told the court: “I was where I showed the police.”

Mr Goddard repeated that the samples with the highest match “were close to where Emma’s body lay, a women you previously sexually assaulted?”

The accused replied: “Yes, that doesn’t mean I killed her.”

‘It’s a scary thing’

Mr Goddard asked Mr Packer about previously changing his story during police interviews, which the accused said he had done so because he was “scared”.

Mr Packer said: “When you’re scared, it’s a scary thing for the police to interview you for something you haven’t done.”

Mr Goddard asked Mr Packer if he was changing his story now because the soil evidence put him at that site, to which the accused replied: “I wasn’t there.”

“How do you think I feel sitting here, an innocent man, and I’m accused of something I haven’t done?” Mr Packer said.

Mr Packer was later cross-examined by his own lawyer, Ronnie Renucci KC.

Mr Renucci said Mr Packer had been accused of changing his story to police seven times and asked the accused if he had ever changed his story about killing Emma Caldwell.

“No,” he replied.

On Wednesday, Mr Packer had been asked about an incident involving Ms Caldwell, eight months before her death.

He said he was ashamed he continued to have sex with her after she asked him to stop and admitted indecently assaulting the 27-year-old in August 2004.

The trial, before Lord Beckett, will continue on Friday when the defence and prosecution will begin their closing speeches.

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