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 Renee McCrae
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Thu 29 Sep 22:57

Renee McCrae’s disappearance in 1976 has often been called a mystery but that is misleading. Everyone assumed she and her young son had been killed and most people assumed the killer was the man, McDowell, who has just been convicted by a jury in Inverness. That has long been my belief and a jury has confirmed it.

But here’s the problem: none of the evidence presented in court so far as I can gather was not available back in 1976. Nothing in the way of advanced DNA analysis was presented to the court. In 1976 that very same evidence was considered not strong enough to place before a jury, whereas today it is. Are we getting better at nailing murderers on circumstantial evidence or are we, fed on a diet of true crime stories, in danger of reading too much into the evidence available? Not in this case probably, but there are others where it may be crucial.

sammer
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 Re: Renee McCrae
Topic Originator: red-star-par  
Date:   Fri 30 Sep 07:57

It`s an interesting case and it`s been an enduring mystery. Reading through the reports I couldn`t see much hard evidence. It seemed the main points were that he wouldn`t give the car back till he had given it a deep clean and was chasing the garage to get a replacement mat in the car. Suspicious but surely not enough for a conviction. I didn`t realise until yesterday that the little boy was also his own son
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 Re: Renee McCrae
Topic Originator: Tenruh  
Date:   Fri 30 Sep 10:11

Was there any reason given why he murdered them ?
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 Re: Renee McCrae
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Fri 30 Sep 18:38

Juries are entitled to convict on circumstantial evidence if they think it is strong enough. They can also draw inferences based on their judgment of an accused person’s character. McDowell was revealed as a man who had lied to his wife, his company manager and the police. He also conceded he had been stringing Renee McCrae along in terms of their relationship. So not much to endear him to the jury there.

The motive presented was that McDowell was trying to protect his job and his marriage. He lost his job almost immediately but his marriage has endured for 46 years, perhaps through necessity since his wife was his only real alibi for the evening in question. I’d always assumed that there had been a heated argument in the car as it sat in the lay-by and that in a fit of violent rage McDowell had strangled Renee McCrae. That still left the horror of killing an innocent three year old boy sitting in a car seat who had been witness to events. You wouldn’t think it could get much worse but I’m afraid it possibly was.

The prosecution believe it was premeditated. That McDowell, under the pretext of a romantic weekend, encouraged Renee McCrae to bring their son along so that he ‘could get to know the boy better.’ A comment made by his wife, angry when being questioned by police several years later, was to the effect of ‘Stop bothering me; I didn’t stab Renee McCrae, or whatever happened to her.’ Remember at this point the disappearance was officially a missing persons’ case. No one had so far as I know ever mentioned a knife. It seems the double murder and the choice of lay-by to help dispose of the bodies had been planned in advance.

sammer
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