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DNA Solves Scotland’s Murder Mystery

A 35 years-old murder mystery was solved with the help of DNA. The murderer was arrested. Graham McGill strangled Mary McLaughlin with her dressing gown cord and was back in his prison cell the morning after the murder. Sex offender McGill was on the last night of temporary release from jail when he killed the mother-of-11 in her Glasgow flat.

Mary was found dead in her bedroom six days later, on 2 October 1984. As a major investigation was launched her killer was already locked up, less than 50 miles away in HMP Edinburgh. McGill, who was 23 years old and was a free man with a dark secret.It would be 35 years before a DNA breakthrough finally solved one of Scotland’s most perplexing cold cases.Now McGill still maintains his innocence has been sentenced to a minimum of 14 years in jail after being found guilty of Mary’s murder. Mary McLaughlin spent her last night out drinking and playing dominos in the Hyndland Pub, now the Duck Club, which looks onto Mansfield Park in the west end of Glasgow.

It was 26 September 1984 and the 58-year-old was joined by one of her daughters. Catherine Mullen who is 73 now gave evidence during McGill’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Asked if Mary was drunk, she said she was happy and she didn’t act drunk. Mary was last seen leaving the bar, on Hyndland Street, at about 22:45 to walk less than a mile home to her Partick flat.

On the way she called into Armando’s chip shop on Dumbarton Road, where she joked with staff as she bought fritters and cigarettes. David Seager, who knew her as Wee May, recalled that she walked in front of his taxi carrying her shoes in her hands. During the trial, he was also asked if he thought a man he saw standing outside a shoe shop was following her.He replied yes and added that every time Mary walked away he was always behind her. The defence cast doubt on whether this was the accused, as Mr Seager did not mention the scar which runs from one of McGill’s ears to his chin

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