Police Scotland has apologised to the family of murdered sex worker Emma Caldwell and other victims of her killer Iain Packer for being “let down” by policing in 2005.

Packer, 51, was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering Miss Caldwell, 27, who went missing in Glasgow on April 4, 2005 and whose body was found in Limefield Woods, near Roberton, South Lanarkshire, the following month.

He was also convicted of 11 charges of rape against nine women among dozens of other offences, following a six-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Packer was first interviewed by police the month after Miss Caldwell’s body was found.

Following his conviction, Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bex Smith said in a statement: “Emma Caldwell, her family and many other victims were let down by policing in 2005. For that we are sorry.

Iain Packer
Iain Packer has been found guilty of murder and a string of rapes and sex assaults (Police Scotland/PA)

“A significant number of women and girls who showed remarkable courage to speak up at that time also did not get the justice and support they needed and deserved from Strathclyde Police.”

Miss Caldwell vanished days after telling her mother Margaret about her hopes to kick a heroin addiction, which began following a family bereavement in her early 20s.

She came from a close-knit family and saw both parents twice a week and spoke to them daily, and was reported missing after she failed to respond to attempts by them to change a planned meeting.

A dog walker found Miss Caldwell’s body in woodland, with a “garotte” around her neck, on May 8, 2005.

During Packer’s trial, the court heard a soil sample taken in 2021 from the site where Miss Caldwell’s body was found was a “97% match” with soil found in his blue work van, and Packer was charged by police in February 2022.

Emma Caldwell and family
Emma Caldwell, centre right, pictured with her family (family handout/PA)

Packer denied all the charges – accusing all the women of lying – but admitted during evidence that he indecently assaulted Miss Caldwell.

He said he was “ashamed” of his actions towards her, and described his behaviour towards another sex workers as “disgusting”.

But he denied murdering Miss Caldwell in his evidence, telling the court: “It wasn’t me who killed her. It wasn’t me. I didn’t do anything to her.”

Margaret Caldwell
Emma Caldwell’s mother, Margaret, attended the trial at the High Court in Glasgow, and gave evidence (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The trial heard evidence from multiple women about Packer’s brutal attacks on them.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard KC described Packer as a “violent” and “obsessive” user of sex workers with an “unhealthy addiction” to procuring their services.

Packer was found guilty of 33 charges against 21 women spanning 26 years.

Two charges of sex assault and one of indecent assault were found not proven.

The jury took four days to return their verdicts.

Packer is expected to be sentenced later on Wednesday.