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

By Richard McLaughlin

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Renee MacRae.
Renee MacRae.

The Inverness Courier covered every single day of the trial of William MacDowell.

He denied the murder of former lover Renee Macrae (36) and her three-year-old son Andrew back in 1976.

Police charged MacDowell in September 2019 following a lengthy re-investigation of the case by a dedicated team.

He has now been convicted and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Here readers can go back and look at the evidence heard each day by following the links.

September 12, 2022 The trial finally gets underway at the High Court in Inverness after years of delays due to various different issues.

MacDowell arrives at court in a wheel chair to face the accusations, which he denied.

High Court in Inverness: Trial of Bill MacDowell, accused of murdering Renee and Andrew MacRae in 1976, begins

September 13, 2022 A "blood curdling scream" was heard on the night of November 12, 1976, jurors are told.

Inverness woman Catherine Johnstone (68) gave evidence that she heard the noise while living at a farm near the Dalmagarry lay-by where Renee's burnt out car was found.


HIGH COURT IN INVERNESS: Bill MacDowell trial told a 'blood-curdling scream' was heard on the night Renee and Andrew MacRae disappeared

September 14, 2022 Renee's estranged husband is one of the first to give evidence.

The court heard that MacDowell was sacked three days after the disappearance of Renee and Andrew, when their love tryst was uncovered by Mr MacRae.


HIGH COURT IN INVERNESS: Renee MacRae's estranged husband gives evidence in trial of William MacDowell

September 15, 2022 Renee's sister Morag Govans gives evidence saying she knew something dreadful had happened.

Morag Govans, an 84-year-old retired nurse from Inverness, said she had regularly received a weekly phone call from Mrs MacRae before her disappearance.


HIGH COURT IN INVERNESS: Sister knew "something dreadful had happened" when she didn't hear from sister Renee MacRae

September 16, 2022 The High Court heard evidence that MacDowell was seen scrubbing the boot of his car in the days following Renee's disappearance.

Evidence was led from a now deceased former employee of Mr MacRae.


HIGH COURT IN INVERNESS: Murder suspect seen 'scrubbing out the boot of his car' trial of William MacDowell is told

September 20, 2022 The High Court hears evidence that a Volvo was seen near Renee's car on the night she vanished with her son.

And MacDowell's wife took the stand to give evidence at the trial.


RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: High Court in Inverness hears Volvo car was seen in a lay-by with a BMW on the night the mother and son disappeared

RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: High Court in Inverness hears from wife of William MacDowell

September 21, 2022 The High Court hears MacDowell's wife was "agitated" while speaking to police.

She was also said to be "volatile" during the interview.


RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: Murder suspect's wife gave 'very agitated and volatile' interview to police

September 22, 2022 Police statements from the time of the disappearance are read out to the court.

More than 100 officers were involved in the missing person case when it was launched in '76.


RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: William MacDowell 'only joking' about starting new life with lover

September 23, 2022 Evidence is given from a deceased convicted criminal claiming he was asked to kill Renee.

The High Court in Inverness heard that Dennis Tyronney wrote to the fomer Northern Constabulary in May 2005 to tell them about the proposition put to him, he said, in the summer of 1976.


Convicted criminal claims he was asked to kill the mother and son, the High Court at Inverness hears

September 26, 2022 The High Court is told there is "no evidence" that the missing mother and son could still be alive as Detective Constable Martin Murphy takes the stand.

Jurors were told there had been123 reported sightings of Mrs MacRae alive since November 12, 1976 but all were eliminated.


RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: 'No evidence' mother or son are alive, murder trial at High Court in Inverness is told

September 27, 2022 The trial proceeded to closing arguments with the Crown summing up its case.

Alex Prentice KC gave a speech lasting more than an hour on why they should convict MacDowell of the double murder.


Prosecutor sums up arguments in trial at High Court in Inverness into murders of Renee and Andrew MacRae

September 28, 2022 The jury hears the closing argument for the defence.

Defence counsel Murray McAra KC said jurors should consider the disappearance of the mother and son should be considered a mystery not a murder.


RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: Jurors at the High Court in Inverness are told the disappearance is a mystery not a murder as defence sums up

September 29, 2022 The jury delivers a guilty verdict on all three counts - sending MacDowell to prison for the rest of his life.


RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: Murderer Bill MacDowell to die behind bars after being found guilty of mother and son's 'execution' style killings at trial at High Court in Inverness

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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