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BREAKING: Police confirm Inverness double murderer William MacDowell has died following conviction for killing Renee MacRae and son Andrew in 1976

By Alan Shields

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

A double murderer responsible for the death of Inverness mother and son Renne and Andrew MacRae more than 40 years ago has died while serving a life sentence.

William MacDowell (81) was convicted last year of the murder of Mrs MacRae (36) and her son Andrew (3) in 1976.

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.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a punishment period of 30 years.

Andrew and Renee MacRae.
Andrew and Renee MacRae.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 11.05am on Wednesday February, 15, 2023, officers were made aware of the death of an 81-year-old man at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal."

His health had been questioned at various points during the trial period.

Mrs MacRae and Andrew left their home in Inverness on November 12, 1976, heading south on the A9.

READ MORE: RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: The trial of William MacDowell in full

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

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

One of Scotland’s longest unsolved murder cases, MacDowell was arrested in September 2019 after an extensive review and re-investigation of the case carried out by detectives from Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team and local officers.

This built on decades of work carried out since 1976.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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