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Renee MacRae killer conviction appeal "abandoned"

By Richard McLaughlin

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Bill MacDowell heading in to court. Picture: Staff photographer.
Bill MacDowell heading in to court. Picture: Staff photographer.

The killer of Renee MacRae and her son Andrew in 1976 has had an appeal over his conviction abandoned, the Inverness Courier can reveal.

William MacDowell (81) was found guilty of killing his secret lover Mrs MacRae and their three-year-old son at a trial in September.

A jury found him guilty of two counts of murder relating to the disappearance of the mother and son as well as a further charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice and he was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a punishment period of 30 years.

MacDowell's legal team confirmed that an appeal was being lodged against the conviction in early October.

READ MORE: Renee MacRae killer William MacDowell seeks to appeal his conviction for murder at the High Court in Inverness

However the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service has now confirmed that it was deemed abandoned on December 7 due to a time bar running out without the requisite paperwork being lodged.

His legal team have not responded to requests for comment.

Renee, 36, and her three-year-old son Andrew left their home in Inverness on November 12, 1976, heading south on the A9.

Their BMW car was discovered on fire in a lay-by near Dalmagarry later that evening.

Neither Renee nor Andrew have been seen since and their bodies have never been found.

MacDowell's health is believed to have been failing since he was imprisoned and he regularly attended at the High Court in Inverness during the trial in a wheelchair.

READ MORE: Killer of Renee MacRae moved to a different prison due to health concerns

MacDowell was arrested in September 2019 after an extensive review and re-investigation carried out by detectives from Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team and local officers, building on decades of work carried out since 1976.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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