28 February 2024

Packer carried out an ‘extraordinary campaign of sexual violence’ – judge

28 February 2024

Judge Lord Beckett told Iain Packer he carried out an “extraordinary campaign of sexual violence”, including the “terrifying” murder of Emma Caldwell.

Packer, 51, of Glasgow, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 36 years on Wednesday following a six-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was found guilty of murdering 27-year-old Miss Caldwell in 2005, 11 charges of rape against nine women and 21 other charges, including sexual assault and abduction.

Lord Beckett said Packer acted on “pathological, selfish and criminal sexual desires”, and “looked for vulnerability and exploited it”, causing “extreme and enduring suffering for so many women and their families”.

The judged described the quest for justice of Miss Caldwell’s mother Margaret Caldwell as “a living testimony to her love for her daughter and the enormity of her loss” and said only a life sentence could be given.

Miss Caldwell was described as “wanting to help the vulnerable with a heart of gold”, by her brother Jamie, who said he had been “tortured by how she must have died”.

The judge praised survivors who “testified out of solidarity”, and said friends of Miss Caldwell who were involved in the trial were still grieving.

Passing sentence, he told Packer: “Yours was an extraordinary campaign of sexual violence, carried out in a single-minded pursuit of your sexual desires, with no regard for the women you abused.

“You looked for vulnerability and exploited it. Your conduct has caused extreme and enduring suffering for so many women and their families.

“You murdered a capable and compassionate intelligent young woman who had planned to extricate herself from the difficult life she had been living.

“Whether she had threatened to report you to police, you murdered her in a circumstances which must have been terrifying.

“You compressed a ligature around her neck, whether to compel her to undress, and manually strangled her. Miss Caldwell’s body may have lain undiscovered for years.”

The judge said Mrs Caldwell’s “life changed forever the moment her daughter Emma went missing”.

He added: “Mrs Caldwell has been consumed by Emma’s disappearance ever since. The pain she felt from learning Emma was murdered was unimaginable.”

The judge said other women had been left with post-traumatic stress disorder and an inability to trust men.

He added: “I hope all the survivors and their families in this case can rebuild their lives.”

The jury were offered counselling and praised for their “incredible public service” and “extraordinary resilience”.

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