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Emma Caldwell trial: Accused ‘ashamed’ of forced sex act but denies murder

A man accused of murdering a Glasgow sex worker denied killing her and said he was “ashamed” of forcing a sex act on her, a court heard.

Iain Packer, 51, faces 36 charges against multiple women along with the alleged murder of Emma Caldwell, 27, in Limefield Woods, near Robertson, South Lanarkshire, in 2005.

He was acquitted of 10 charges at the end of the prosecution case at a trial at the High Court in Glasgow, and denies the remaining charges citing special defences of consent and incrimination.

Giving evidence, Packer denied murdering Miss Caldwell, and said he was telling the truth to police when he took them to Limefield Woods in 2007, having provided DNA and given three interviews in 2005.

Emma Caldwell murder court case
Emma Caldwell’s body was found dumped in woods in South Lanarkshire (PA)

Defending, Ronnie Renucci KC said: “Did you murder Emma Caldwell?”

Packer said: “No, I didn’t.”

Mr Renucci said: “Were you in any way responsible for her death?”

Packer said: “No, I wasn’t.”

Mr Renucci said: “When you told police you had no involvement in the murder of Emma Caldwell, were you telling the truth?”

Packer said: “Yes, I was.”

He told the court he contacted BBC journalist Sam Poling in an attempt to clear his name, but said he lied to her.

Packer also said he complained to Police Scotland about interviews which appeared in the press in 2017.

He told the court he had sexual relations with Miss Caldwell in August 2004, behind a billboard in The Barras, Glasgow, and was “ashamed” that he continued to force himself on her although she told him to stop.

When asked about Miss Caldwell, Packer said: “I remember Emma saying something, I can’t remember if she said, ‘enough’ or ‘stop’, the exact words.”

Mr Renucci said: “Looking back now when she said words to the effect of no, what do you say about that?”

Packer replied: “Bit ashamed. I should have stopped.”

A rape allegation was first made against Packer in 1990, which he denied.

Mr Renucci said: “In relation to allegations that you raped her – did you rape her?”

Packer said: “No, I never raped her.”

Under-cross examination, Packer admitted he strangled a woman “to the danger of her life” after they argued about the murder of Miss Caldwell, and branded all the 25 alleged victims dishonest.

Questioned by prosecutor Richard Goddard, Packer said he had told “a lot” of lies including to police and the BBC, and insisted using sex workers was “a choice” and not an addiction.

Packer initially claimed he “put his hand around” a woman’s neck after an argument about Miss Caldwell, but Mr Goddard said: “You strangled her to the danger of her life, didn’t you?”

Packer said: “Yes.”

Mr Goddard said: “You are a man who went on national TV to say you have never hurt a woman in your life.”

Packer said: “Yes.”

Mr Goddard said: “How many lies have you told in the course of this case?”

Packer said: “A lot.”

Mr Goddard said: “Your reaction to being accused of strangling Emma Caldwell was to strangle a woman.”

The prosecutor asked how many women had alleged Packer assaulted them, adding: “Could it be 25?”

Packer said: “Quite possibly.”

Mr Goddard said: “You assaulted 25 different different women. Some sex workers, some adult parties, women from unconnected backgrounds and walks of life. Are they all just making it up?”

Packer said: “Yes.”

Mr Goddard said: “All 25 unconnected different women they have picked a lie to tell about the same man, namely that you are sexually violent.”

Packer said: “Correct.”

The trial continues in front of Judge Lord Beckett.