How Did Angus Sinclair Die? 5 Details About The Life And Death Of The Scottish Serial Killer

He may have killed eight girls and women.

How Did Angus Sinclair Die? 5 Details About The Life And Death Of The Scottish Serial Killer BBC Online

One of Scotland’s most notorious murderers, Angus Sinclair, died earlier this week.

He was convicted of four killings in his lifetime, but is suspected of committing more. Sinclair was also charged with rape and sexual assault; his earliest crime — committed at 13 years old — was theft.

Sinclair is best known for the World’s End murders. 17-year-old girls Helen Scott and Christine Eadie were last seen having a night out at the World’s End pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh in 1977. They were found dead the next day, six miles apart. Scott was found at Coates Farm; Eadie on the foreshore at Gosford Bay. The girls had been beaten, raped and throttled with their own underwear.


When Sinclair was convicted for the World’s End murders, Judge Lord Matthews told him, "You have displayed not one ounce of remorse for these terrible deeds. The evidence in this case as well as your record, details of which have now been revealed, shows that you are a dangerous predator, who is capable of sinking to the depths of depravity."

Then the judge spoke about the two young girls who lost their lives at Sinclair’s hands, along with his brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton’s, who died in 1996.

"Whatever dreams they had,” the judge said, “they turned into nightmares shortly after they left the World's End Pub, the name of which has become synonymous with these notorious murders. Little were they to know that they had the misfortune to be in the company of two men for whom the words evil and monster seem inadequate."


So how did Angus Sinclair die? Here's what we know.

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1. He suffered a series of strokes.

He died overnight on March 11 at HMP Glenochil in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, which is in the central lowlands of Scotland, north of Edinburgh and Glasgow. BBC News reported, “It is understood that he had suffered from a series of strokes.”


Kevin Scott, the brother of one of Sinclair’s murder victims, commented on his death to BBC Scotland. “I would have wanted him to live longer to serve more of the 37-year sentence, as opposed to getting the easy way out.”

2. He was convicted at 69, nearly four decades after the World’s End murders.

Sinclair was convicted for the World’s End murders on Nov. 14, 2014. He was sentenced to a minimum of 37 years. The sentence is the longest handed out by a Scottish court. Had Sinclair served the 37 years, he would have been 106 years old by the time he could have applied for parole.


The number 37 is significant because it is the number of years between the World’s End murders in 1977 and Sinclair’s conviction.

After the sentencing, Helen Scott’s family said, “We finally have justice for Helen and Christine.”

He had been put on trial for Helen Scott and Christine Eadie’s murders in 2007, but it collapsed—the conviction came after a retrial.

3. Despite the late conviction, he spent most of his life in prison.

Out of his 73 years, Sinclair spent 43 of them in prison.


Sinclair committed his first crime in 1959 at 13 years old: he stole an offertory box from a Glasgow church. Three years later, he was convicted of killing 7-year-old Catherine Reehill, his neighbor. He had lured her into a stairwell, then raped and strangled her. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but only served six.

A psychiatrist’s report after Reehill’s murder quite accurately predicted Sinclair’s behavior following his release.

"I do not think that any form of psychotherapy is likely to benefit his condition and he will constitute a danger from now onwards,” it said. "He is obsessed by sex, and given the minimum of opportunity, he will repeat these offenses."

In his 15 years of freedom, Sinclair murdered at least three women. Two of them are the World’s End murders in 1977. In 1978, he murdered Mary Gallacher.

None of these murders landed him in jail. In 1982, however, he pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault of 11 children, aged 6 to 14. Sinclair admitted at the trial that he could’ve had hundreds of victims. He was then sentenced to life in prison.


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4. His convictions were indicative of scientific advancements, along with changes to the law.

In 2000, Mary Gallacher’s murder went under review as a cold case. Over 20 years after her murder, DNA tests revealed that Sinclair was the one who raped and stabbed her near a railway line in Glasgow. Sinclair had voluntarily given his DNA to police in the 1990s. He was convicted in 2001 and handed another life sentence.


Police then began to look into other unsolved cases and used technology not available at the time of the crimes to try to connect them to Sinclair. The re-investigation began in 2004.

Sinclair was tried for the World’s End murders in 2007, but the judge said that the Crown had insufficient evidence to proceed, and the case collapsed.

He then made history after a change in the double jeopardy law. He became the first person in Scotland to be given a second trial for the same crime.


5. He is suspected of having killed four more women.

Sinclair is thought to have murdered six women in a seven-month span in 1977. Aside from Eadie and Scott, the other four are Frances Barker, 37, Hilda McAuley, 36, Agnes Cooney, 23, and Anna Kenny, 20.

Tom Wood, the former deputy chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police, led Operation Trinity, the review of unsolved murders in 1977. He found a pattern in the deaths of the four women that matched the World’s End murders.

"They were all young women who had been out for the night, they had all disappeared off the streets, they had all been transported a distance, they had all been bound in exactly the same way, or very similar ways, they had all been assaulted and murdered in very, very similar ways."


Prosecutors did not believe Wood’s findings were enough to prove Sinclair was behind the other four women’s murders. Thomas Ross Young was convicted for Barker’s murder; he died in July 2014. 

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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.