Mary McLaughlin murder: DNA breakthrough hailed for leading to 36-year-old case being solved

Date19 May 2021
AuthorGary Armstrong
Publication Date19 May 2021
Publication titleGlasgowLive (Scotland)
Sexual predator Graham McGill, 59, has been jailed for life after murdering "trusting and friendly" mum, Mary, in her own home.

Convicted rapist McGill was an inmate at HMP Edinburgh on temporary release when he strangled Mary, 58, in Partick, Glasgow in 1984.

The mother-of-11 had enjoyed a night out drinking and playing dominoes at different bars on Wednesday September 26 of that year and was last seen at about 10.45pm heading to a chip shop on her way home.

McGill strangled her with her own dressing gown cord and her body was found days later by one of her sons.

McGill was convicted following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow last month.

Ms McLaughlin's death sparked a major police investigation and spawned dozens of lines of inquiry, but the cold case remained unsolved until modern DNA techniques placed McGill in her flat with a greater than billion-to-one likelihood, the trial heard.

McGill's ex-wife, Suzanne Russell, also told jurors that in 1988, he had confessed to murdering a woman because he "just wanted to know what it felt like".

He was sentenced at the High Court in Aberdeen on Tuesday to life imprisonment and will have to spend 14 years behind bars before any possible release on licence.

Commenting on the police investigation, Procurator Fiscal for Homicide and Major Crime, David Green, said: "This was a challenging investigation requiring complex and thorough work by specialist prosecutors.

"Under their direction, experts in forensic science saw an opportunity to use modern DNA techniques to analyse evidence from the scene that had been preserved by the original investigating officers before such techniques were available to them. This foresight ultimately led to Graham McGill's conviction.

"Unresolved homicides are never closed, and the Crown is committed to working with police to bring these cases to court wherever possible.

"Our thoughts remain with Mary's family, and I hope the sentence imposed today goes some way towards providing resolution for them."

Police Scotland Detective Superintendent Suzanne Chow echoed his comments, saying: "Mary's family has waited a long time for justice and I hope today's verdict provides some form of resolution for them.

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

She added: "Despite crimes occurring years ago, there is always hope of solving them one day. They are never forgotten."

A Police Scotland statement, issued on Tuesday afternoon following the...

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