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Emma Caldwell murder accused ‘knew he was being found out’, witness tells trial

A witness has told a murder trial “it was written all over his face that he was being found out” after the accused turned “white” following an interview.

Iain Packer, 50, is on trial accused of murdering sex worker Emma Caldwell, 27, in 2005, and faces 46 charges including rape as well as abduction and assault.

He denies all the charges against him, and has lodged special defences of incrimination, consent, defence of another and self-defence.

Giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow, a witness said Packer appeared “white as a sheet” and claimed he was being “blamed”, after giving an interview to the BBC about Ms Caldwell’s death.

The woman, who met Packer in 2012, told the court she helped him arrange media interviews with BBC journalist Sam Poling in 2018 and 2019.

After the second interview, which lasted between 15 and 20 minutes, Packer told the woman, “they keep asking me the same questions again and again”, she said.

The woman, 49, said: “His whole face was grey, he was white as a sheet. Something bad had gone on.

“He said, ‘they’re blaming me for Emma’.

“It was as if it was all closing in on him.”

She added: “It was written all over his face that he was being found out.”

The witness said Packer’s version of events regarding his whereabouts on the night of Ms Caldwell’s murder changed from initially claiming he was at home, to later claiming he was working in Aberdeen.

She said: “He was pretty convincing. There was a discussion with his parents, with me there. They couldn’t prove it – was the words.”

Under cross-examination from advocate depute Richard Goddard, the woman said she asked to see records from the family business, which Packer worked for, but they had been destroyed.

Emma Caldwell murder
Emma Caldwell’s body was found in woods in 2005 (Police Scotland/PA)

Packer is accused of strangling Ms Caldwell with his hands and a cable, assaulting her, compressing her wrists, intending to rape her and murdering her at an area of woodland known as Limefield woods in South Lanarkshire on April 5 2005.

He is further charged with attempting to defeat the ends of justice by allegedly disposing of Miss Caldwell’s body, her mobile phone, clothing and personal belongings, as well as cleaning the interior of a car which belonged to him.

He denies the charges and has lodged a special defence of incrimination.

A separate witness who met Packer for a liaison claimed he attacked her in woodland in Strathclyde Park, Motherwell, before bombarding her with messages about “rape fetish”, the court heard.

The woman said Packer demanded “strip” as he assaulted her while grabbing her throat but was interrupted by a dogwalker.

She said she confronted Packer who told her: “I thought you liked BDSM so I thought you’d like it.”

The woman added: “Basically he liked choking, he liked rape fetish, then he would say ‘only if it’s consensual’. I told him it wasn’t my thing. Then he would get really aggressive by text message.

“He said he wanted to find someone to take his fetish, basically to rape them from behind while holding their throat, in the woods. Like a rape fetish.”

Cross-examining, defence advocate Ronaldo Renucci said: “You then walked back with Mr Packer, he took you to where you wanted. If what you’re saying is true, you wouldn’t want to have anything more to do with Mr Packer.”

The woman insisted she told Packer to cease contact but he used another number.

She said: “I knew I wanted nothing more to do with him, what he did was bang out of order, it wasn’t consented.”

Three women also gave evidence claiming Packer attacked them at a sex party in Glasgow on May 14, 2016, where he was working as security.

A woman, 32, alleged Packer “held her head” and forced himself on her orally but she felt she would be “torn apart” by police.

The woman said: “He was working there, he wasn’t even anyone I would have been considering part of the party at all.”

Another woman, aged 36, claimed Packer attempted to kiss and grope her while another, aged 32, claimed Packer attempted to put his hand in her underwear.

Mr Renucci said: “Mr Packer had been off duty for about an hour, that might have been why you saw him with a bottle of whisky in his hand.”

The trial continues in front of Judge Lord Beckett.