Emma Caldwell murder accused ‘lied and lied again’, court told

The man accused of murdering sex worker Emma Caldwell and attacking 24 other women was “no doubt emboldened by the fact he got away with it”, a court has heard.

Iain Packer, 51, is on trial accused of murdering Miss Caldwell, 27, who went missing in Glasgow on April 4 2005 and whose body was found in Limefield Woods near Roberton, South Lanarkshire, the following month.

He faces a total of 36 charges involving offences against multiple women, all of which he denies.

In his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Goddard KC said Packer was an “incorrigible user of sex workers” whose violence was “characterised by seizing their necks and choking”, and who preyed on heroin addicts as young as 15.

The litany of alleged offences included rape, indecent assault, abduction and murder, which the jury heard could be defined as “wicked recklessness that the attacker doesn’t care if his victim lives or dies”.

Mr Goddard described Packer as having a “callous” and “entitled attitude” to young women, as well as a “peculiar habit” of driving around with sex workers in “the middle of nowhere”, the court heard.

The KC said a rape allegation was first made against Packer in 1990, and a few years later Packer allegedly attempted to strangle a woman with a Hoover cable, adding: “The significance of that episode cannot be lost on us, this was the first of what was to become a theme of attacks on women around their necks.

“The women we hear from in this case were placing themselves at enormous risk on a daily basis.

“If there was a time when anybody thought that sex without consent of a sex worker was a contractual dispute, that way of thinking has no place in our law or in a modern country.

“None of us can look into the mind of Iain Packer and see whether he intended to kill Emma Caldwell, or whether he didn’t care if she lived or died. We can only draw an inference into what was going on in his mind.

“To take the throat of a young woman, manually or in conjunction with a ligature, and compress that young woman’s neck so hard it’s enough to bend the cartilage of internal structure, indicating ‘significant force’ and to leave significant bruising – all of that demonstrates an intention to kill, to the very least, that the attacker didn’t care if Emma Caldwell lived or died.”

The KC said: “We know Iain Packer lied and he lied and he lied again to police investigating murder of Emma Caldwell.

“Iain Packer is an individual prone to threatening rages in Limefield Woods with sex workers from Glasgow, if he doesn’t get his own way.”

Earlier in the trial at the High Court in Glasgow, Packer accepted he had indecently assaulted Miss Caldwell behind billboards in the Barras in Glasgow in August 2004, ignoring her instruction to stop, and continued because he had “paid”.

Iain Packer court case
Emma Caldwell’s body was found a month after she disappeared in 2005 (family handout/PA)

Another allegation regarding an attack in a sauna was a “textbook example of rape”, Mr Goddard said.

In the afternoon, Mr Goddard told how one of Packer’s alleged victims said in evidence that he was “getting off” on scaring her.

The KC read out evidence that had been heard in court, describing a situation where Packer is alleged to have held her down on a bed, lay on top of her, seized her neck and repeatedly attempted to rape her at a sauna in Glasgow between June and December 2005.

Mr Goddard repeated the woman’s evidence back to the jury on Friday afternoon, saying: “It was as if he was getting off on scaring me.”

The prosecutor told jurors the alleged attack had “all the hallmarks of Iain Packer”.

He put it to the jurors that they should disregard any attempts by the defence to make them “think less” of the women involved in the litany of charges Packer faces because of the activities they were involved in.

He said: “You should ask yourself if you are being fair to them.”

Mr Goddard will continue his closing speech on Monday where he will address the charges relating to the alleged murder of Miss Caldwell.

The trial continues in front of Judge Lord Beckett.

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