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The Murder of Lawrence Haggart, 1996
|Incidents, Events & Controversies | About Celtic|
Warning!:There are elements to the following articles surrounding the events of the death of a young man that some may find very unsettling and difficult to read.
SummaryThe following is the a set of newspaper articles charting the murder of a youth player from Celtic. The torture he suffered was inhuman and beggars belief, and the shock of the case will never be forgotten. He was an up and coming player in Scotland and had even been capped for Scotland under-15s, having played in a victory v Belgium.
A promising young player who was signed by Tommy Burns and coached by Willie McStay who was with his family by his hospital bedside when he lost his fight.
Lawrence was a smashing lad from a good Celtic family in Denny, he had moved to Larbert with his Mother not long before the events.
He was also the Great Nephew of Neil Mochan, and his father Larry played for Alloa and had his Testimonial against Celtic.
To all his family and those connected to the young man, our sincere sympathies and condolences.
You'll never walk alone.
SOCCER STARLET IN FIGHT FOR LIFE
Sunday Mail 17/03/1996
One of Scotland's brightest young footballing prospects was fighting for his life last night after a horrific attack.
The Celtic youth player was rushed to hospital in Edinburgh after being viciously attacked in his own home.
And his injuries are so severe, Parkhead club personnel admit they are praying the lad lives. He has been given the last rites.
Last night Celtic youth team boss Willie McStay was too upset to go into detail about the savage assault.
"Let's just hope to God he pulls through."
It is understood Celtic are reluctant to name their young player because relatives have not been informed of the incident.
But it is known that the 16-year-old youngster has turned out for the Scottish national schoolboys squad.
Celtic manager Tommy Burns is said to have broken off preparations for today's Old Firm clash to be by the boy's bedside
Schoolboy footballer dies after being attacked in his home
The Scotsman 18/03/1996JEAN WEST
A MURDER hunt was under way last night after a Scottish schoolboy football internationalist died following a brutal attack in his home.
Lawrence Haggart, 15, a Celtic youth football player, suffered serious head injuries and burns. It is understood that the schoolboy was beaten then thrown at the gas fire in his livingroom in the early hours of Saturday.
His parents, Larry and Janet Haggart, were at his bedside at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital as he fought for life. But the teenager died yesterday afternoon after being given the last rites.
Police, who are appealing for witnesses, cordoned off the family home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, after the incident. A police spokesman said: "This boy has undergone a horrific attack in which he sustained burns and serious head injuries. We are still investigating the incident and as yet have no further details on the number of attackers or why this happened."
A post mortem examination was being carried out.
The Celtic manager, Tommy Burns, was believed to have broken off preparations for yesterday's Rangers-Celtic match to be at the boy's bedside. Last night he said: "Everyone at the club is deeply shocked. Our thoughts are with his family."
Alex McMenemy, general secretary of the Scottish Schools Football Association, said: "We are all shocked and saddened by the news. Lawrence had an outstanding future ahead of him."
The St Modan's High School pupil had played for the Scottish Schools under-15 side in their victory over Belgium last week.
Celt starlet dies after fire attack
Daily Record 18/03/1996STEPHEN RAFFERTY
A young Celtic star died yesterday after he was savagely beaten and had his feet set on fire.
Lawrence Haggart, 15, was attacked when he answered the door of his mum's home in the early hours of Saturday.
Parkhead youth coach Willie McStay was with the boy's parents when Lawrence died in hospital in Edinburgh.
Detectives have launched a murder hunt.
The talented teenager had signed schoolboy forms for Tommy Burns' side, and last week starred for Scotland Under-15s when they beat Belgium.
Burns said: "Everyone at the club is shattered by this news."
Burns and his assistant Billy Stark had visited the boy in hospital early yesterday before the Old Firm match.
It is understood Lawrence was set upon when he answered the door of his house in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire.
He was dragged into the living room and pushed onto a fire until his shoes ignited.
His mum Janet was on a night out and brothers John and Denis were asleep upstairs. His dad Larry lives nearby in Denny.
Last night next door neighbour Helen Bozman said she last saw Lawrence on Friday night when he left home smartly dressed for a night out.
She said: "I can't believe this has happened. He was such a dedicated lad who lived for his football."
Lawrence had fought his way back into the Scottish squad after breaking an ankle.
Scottish youth team coach Les Donaldson said: "He had great pace and vision. He was just at the beginning of what would certainly have been a top class career."
Daily Record 19/03/1996
The father of a young soccer star yesterday told how he watched his boy die after a brutal attack.
Celtic signing Lawrence Haggart, 15, was beaten and had his feet set on fire.
Dad Larry, 39, said: "It must be the worst thing any parent has to go through - seeing your child die and knowing there is nothing you can do about it.
"It has broken my heart. He died in intensive care and all I could do was watch him drift away."
Ex-Alloa player Larry added: "At this stage the whole thing is a complete mystery.
"He lived for his football and a nicer boy you couldn't meet.
"People have said that because of his association with Celtic there could be a sectarian motive but I'm sure that is not the case."
Scottish under-15 star Lawrence was attacked as he answered the front door of his mum's home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, early on Saturday.
The youngster was dragged into the living room and beaten up before being thrown on to the gas fire.
Lawrence, a great- nephew of Celtic legend Neil Mochan, suffered horrific head injuries and lost a two-day fight for life.
Mum Janet, who separated from Larry several years ago, was also at her son's bedside.
She wasn't home when the thugs struck.
Yesterday bunches of flowers were placed outside Lawrence's home.
Larry, of Denny, Stirlingshire, added: "People have been very kind and that has been a great comfort to me.
"I just hope that if anyone has any information they will come forward."
Police say they want to speak to a group of boys seen with Lawrence in Denny on Friday night.
Lawrence's Scotland team mates will observe a minute's silence before their game on Friday against Ireland.
The Scotsman 20/03/1996
POLICE investigating the murder of the Celtic and Scotland youth footballer Lawrence Haggart yesterday ruled out a sectarian attack.
Supt Jim Winning said: "There has been talk of a sectarian motive, but let me say that there is nothing so far in this inquiry to suggest that. We have no suspects at the moment and I would say this is a seemingly motiveless attack."
The 15-year-old, who suffered serious head injuries and burns to his feet and legs, died after being beaten at his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, in the early hours of Saturday. It is believed that he was thrown against a gas fire in the living room, but no sign of forced entry has been found.
Detectives are now piecing together the final movements of the promising young player, who attended St Mungo's High, Falkirk, and signed with Celtic about a year ago.
The footballer had been returning from an evening out with friends at an under-18 nightclub knows as Ziggy's at Denny. A friend had accompanied him in a taxi as far as Bonnybridge.
Lawrence took the taxi as far as Camelon and was seen going towards the sheriff court building around 10:20pm. He was wearing a cream bomber jacket, a dark blue and white striped top, a white T-shirt, cream jeans and brown boots.
News Bites Daily Record 20/03/1996
Detectives hunting the killer of young soccer star Lawrence Haggart, 15, are looking for three youths. The teenagers were seen walking near the Celtic signing's home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, shortly before he was beaten and had his feet set on fire
Hunt steps up for killerDaily Record 25/03/1996
Detectives hunting the killer of a young football star are trying to piece together his final movements.
Celtic signing Lawrence Haggart, 15, was attacked after a night out on March 15, and died two days later.
It's believed he was set upon after answering the door of his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire.
Detective Inspector John Bunyan of Falkirk CID has appealed for information.
He said: "We need to find out what happened after he left a taxi at 10.20pm that night and got home at 11pm."
Daily Record 12/04/1996
A mystery businessman has put up a 1000 reward to try to snare the killer of Celtic Boys' Club player Lawrence Haggart, who died after an attack at his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, last month. Lawrence was capped for Scotland Under-15s five days before he died.
Sunday Mail 21/04/1996
Tragic football starlet Lawrence Haggart was laid to rest yesterday as his heroes looked on. Celtic's entire first-team squad paid their last respects to the 15-year-old player who was cruelly cut down by brutal killers. Heart-broken Parkhead favourites Paul McStay, Peter Grant, Pat Bonner and manager Tommy Burns mingled with Lawrence's tearful schoolchums before the funeral service. Around 500 people packed St Alexander's Roman Catholic Church, in Denny, Stirlingshire, for the service. They heard Father Christopher Heenan tell the killers: "If you can live with yourselves, keep silent. But if you have any compassion come forward." A 1,000 reward has drawn a blank so far. The Celtic Boys' Club star was brutally attacked in his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. He answered the door to his killers and was dragged into the living room where he was savagely beaten while his older brother John, 17, was upstairs listening to music. Scotland under-15 player Lawrence, a great nephew of Celtic legend Neil Mochan, suffered horrific head injuries and died two days later. The funeral service was attended by his father Larry, 36, mother Janet, 37, brothers Dennis, 12, and John, 17. Celtic supremo Fergus McCann and the club's youth teams also paid their last respects. A crowd of villagers watched in silence as the coffin was taken to Hill Cemetery in Dunipace.
Sunday Mail 22/09/1996
The devastated father of murdered Celtic starlet Lawrence Haggart plans a private investigation into his son's horrific killing. Larry Haggart is furious at the lack of progress by police since the murder. Now, six months after the 15-year-old was brutally attacked in his own home, dad Larry says it's time to act alone. He told the Mail: "I plan to see my lawyer to find out what options are open to me. It is over two months since I heard from the police. "While they didn't say the case was closed, they left me believing that their investigation is over. They may come down on me like a ton of bricks for going it alone. "But I have a duty to my dead son to get some sort of conclusion." Lawrence, one of Larry's three sons, was tipped to go all the way to the Celtic first team. On March 15, he returned from a night out, to be violently beaten in his own house in Larbert, Stirlingshire. His feet were set on fire. His mum, Janet, was out at the time. Brothers John, 17, and Denis, 12, were upstairs asleep but heard nothing. Lawrence died two days later in an Edinburgh hospital. Celtic's first team was represented at his funeral. And club chief Fergus McCann and manager Tommy Burns were also there. Larry, who played with Alloa FC, added: "Everyone at Celtic has been magnificent. We've been to Parkhead as guests several times." But he claimed the investigation into Lawrence's murder suffered because it came two days after the Dunblane massacre, also in the Central Scotland Police area. He added: "Obviously resources were channelled into Dunblane. "No disrespect to the folks there, but I'm more worried about my boy's death." Detective Inspector John Bunyan said: "Six months down the road, we need to know if anyone has been speaking about the case since the initial flurry of publicity. "We know most of Lawrence's movements up to his death. We need to know what happened in the final moments."
Detectives have launched a fresh bid to solve the murder of Celtic starlet Lawrence Haggart. They're sifting through all the evidence in the hope of finding new clues as the first anniversary of the brutal killing approaches. Lawrence, 15, was found in his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, with his feet burning in a gas fire. Chief Superintendent John Ogg said the killer may have confessed to someone, and he appealed for information.
The Scotsman 15/03/1997 DONNA WHITE
THE murder of young Celtic player Lawrence Haggart a year ago this weekend, is to be featured on Crimewatch. Lawrence, 15, was savagely beaten with a blunt instrument in a late-night attack at his home on 16 March. His elder brother John, 17, found him unconscious in the living room with his badly-charred feet on the gas fire. The following day, St Patrick's Day, he died in hospital. Detectives, who say they are no nearer to catching the killer, need permission from the boy's family. Last night, Lawrence's father, Larry, 36, said he wanted them to go ahead. "I know it isn't an easy job, but I feel the police haven't been doing enough to catch whoever murdered my lad. I'd like to see this go on Crimewatch, so people might remember something that could help us catch the killer," Mr Haggart said "Somebody out there knows who did it, and how they can live with that on their conscience defeats me." Mr Haggart was speaking as family and friends made preparations for a memorial service. Hundreds are set to gather for the memorial mass on Monday at St Mungo's RC High School, Falkirk, where Lawrence was a popular and respected pupil. The tragedy last year stunned the club and the whole of the Celtic first team turned out for the funeral. Manager Tommy Burns had visited him in hospital before he died. Lawrence, whose great-uncle was the Celtic legend Neilly Mochan, had just made his debut for the Scottish international under-15s squad three days before his death. He had been due to sign professional forms with the Parkhead giants last Christmas. Yesterday, Mr Haggart said he would never get over the loss of his treasured son. "People say it gets easier, but every day is as hard as the first," he said. "Lawrence and I were particularly close. He was a best friend as well as a son and I visit his grave every day." Lawrence lived with his family in Larbert, Stirlingshire. Mr Haggart lives in nearby Dunipace, but still sees his sons Denis, 13, and John, now 18, who live with their mother in Cowdenbeath, Fife. The family moved there after the murder. Detective Superintendent Joe Holden, who recently took charge of the case, said: "It is perfectly possible Lawrence knew his attacker, since there was no forced entry."
Daily Record 15/03/1997
A memorial service will be held in Falkirk on Monday for Celtic starlet Lawrence Haggart, 15, who was beaten to death a year ago. Police have still to trace his killer.
The brothers of murdered soccer starlet Lawrence Haggart are to be questioned in a fresh bid to find his killer. Just over a year ago, Denis, 13, and 18-year-old John slept upstairs as Lawrence was bludgeoned. The 15-year-old Celtic signing was attacked in their home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. It was John who found Lawrence, with his badly-charred feet burning in the gas fire. Lawrence died in hospital later. Police found no sign of a weapon or forced entry. Detective Superintendent Joe Holden said: "We are speaking to the family about the case. "This will include speaking to the boys, who were in the house at the time of the incident. "Lawrence may have known his attacker."
Daily Record 18/10/1997
Cops are holding a known paedophile suspected of murdering Celtic starlet Lawrence Haggart almost two years ago. The man, who can't be named for legal reasons, is remanded in custody on an unconnected charge. But it's believed he followed Lawrence home hours before the 15-year- old was found dying. Lawrence was murdered in his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, 19 months ago. Police think he opened the door to his killer. He was dragged into the living- room and beaten up before being pushed on to a gas fire until his shoes ignited. The young Celtic star, who was capped for Scotland Under-15s, died in hospital two days later without ever regaining consciousness. Suspicion fell on Lawrence's brothers Denis, 13, and John, 18, who found him - but yesterday a police insider confirmed that a man is now thought to be the killer. Detectives are understood to be awaiting the go-ahead from the Crown Office to charge him. The man was jailed for five years in 1991 for assaults on adolescent boys. He is believed to live just a few miles from the scene of the sickening murder. Last night, Lawrence's dad Larry, 37, was reluctant to say too much about the breakthrough. At his home in Denny, he told the Record: "We found out about this four weeks ago and are hoping it is the right man. I couldn't let it go until I was sure it was sorted out. "The police in charge of the case now are doing a great job, but until we find out he has been charged I don't want to get my hopes up." Larry blasted the earlier implication that his sons were responsible. He said: "That was a disgrace and I will have a lot more to say about that at a later stage. It was shocking what my sons went through. "To a degree this development is a relief in that respect. Knowing the person responsible was still at large meant my family have not had the chance to grieve properly."
Paedophile quizzed over boy's murder The Scotsman 20/10/1997 MARIE SHARP
THE family of the murdered schoolboy, Lawrence Haggart, was last night waiting to hear if a convicted paedophile holds the answers to his death. Police are questioning the man in connection with the killing of Lawrence, 15, who was found dying at home. The Celtic Boys' Club star had been badly beaten and died in hospital the next day. No murder weapon was found. Since his death 18 months ago, at his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, the family has had to endure the finger of suspicion pointed at the other two sons, who were in the house at the time. It now hopes the man, who is on remand for an unconnected offence, will hold the key to Lawrence's death. The teenager's father, Larry, said the past 18 months had been a nightmare for the family - especially his other two sons -who have been regularly interviewed by police. "It was a disgrace the way our sons were treated. This development is in some ways a relief, knowing the person responsible for Lawrence's death was still at large has meant my family could not grieve properly." Lawrence died in March last year after returning home from a night out with friends. His brothers John, 18 and Denis, 13, were asleep upstairs at the time of the attack. John later found his injured brother lying on the living-room floor, his feet badly burned where they had fallen on to a gas fire. The lack of a forced entry and murder weapon left Central Scotland police baffled, and the two boys were repeatedly questioned in an attempt to find further evidence, until the man emerged as a suspect last month. It is believed the man made incriminating comments to a fellow inmate while in prison on remand. He has already served a jail sentence for indecently assaulting young boys, and is awaiting trial on further offences. After his comments about Lawrence, police began a search of the countryside where Lawrence was last seen as he made his way home on the night of the attack. Dozens of officers were drafted in to rake grasslands on the outskirts of nearby Denny. Officers used forks to turn over the grassy moorland along the boundary of the town. On the night of the attack, Lawrence had attended an under-18s disco at Ziggy's Nightclub in Denny. He and a friend later got a taxi outside the Lion and Dragon pub in Church Walk. The friend got out at Bonnybridge and Lawrence was dropped off at the lay-by outside the police station in Main Street, Camelon, near Falkirk, at around 10:30pm. Police were called to Lawrence's house at 1:30am. He died the next day in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital. Police have always believed he may have known his killer and let him into the house. Lawrence, whose great uncle was the Celtic star, Neilly Mochan, had made his debut for the Scottish international under-15s squad, three days before his death. He had been due to sign professionally with Celtic in December last year. The club's former manager, Tommy Burns, and his assistant, Billy Stark, visited him in hospital before he died. The entire Celtic squad turned out for his funeral. Mr Haggart, 36, who split from wife, Janet, three years before the death, has vowed not to rest until he knows the truth. His sons now live with their mother in Cowdenbeath, but Mr Haggart said he was in frequent contact with them. He said: "Lawrence was destined for great things, and I'll never get over what happened to him. But uncovering the truth, and getting justice for him, will go some way towards setting our minds at rest." Mr Haggart revealed police had made him aware of the new lead in the investigation four weeks ago, but he said the family was waiting for charges to be brought before allowing itself to believe the nightmare wait could be over. He said: "Until we find out the man has been charged I don't want to get my hopes up." Central Scotland police yesterday refused to comment on the investigation.
Man charged with football boy's murder The Scotsman 08/11/1997
A MAN was charged yesterday with the murder of the Celtic Boys football player, Lawrence Haggart, 15. Brian Beattie, 33, appeared on petition at Falkirk Sheriff Court. He was accused of murdering Lawrence by entering the Haggart house in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, on 15 or 16 March last year, and hitting him on the head and body with an unknown instrument, setting fire to clothing and placing his feet in the fire. Beattie, of Stenhousemuir, was remanded in custody. The young striker was tipped to go to the very top in the game he loved. Days before he died, Lawrence won his first Under-15 schoolboy cap.
I found my Celtic starlet brother with feet on fire Daily Record 17/04/1998
A teenager wept yesterday as he told how he dragged his brother from a flaming pyre in the living room of their home. Young Celtic football star Lawrence Haggart died in hospital a day after being found unconscious with his feet on fire. His 19-year-old brother, John, said he found Lawrence after being awakened in his smoke-filled bedroom. He told the High Court in Edinburgh that he went downstairs where he discovered his 15-year-old brother. He said: "Lawrence's feet were in a pile of material which had been set alight. His feet were in the fire which was flaming. He was lying still. I tried to drag him out of the living room. But he was too heavy. "So I dragged him away from the fire so that his feet were not in the flames." John said he ran for a bucket of water and poured it on the flames. Then he went upstairs and shook his 12-year-old brother Dennis, who was in bed and told him about Lawrence. John said his mother arrived home from a party within minutes and became hysterical. He said his mother was making so much noise that he had to take the phone into the bathroom to call for an ambulance and police. John broke down in tears as he relived his brother's last night at home. On trial is 33-year-old Brian Beattie who denies murdering Lawrence by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a weapon. He also denies attempting to set fire to furniture in the Haggart home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. He has lodged a special defence of incrimination, naming a boy as the killer. He has also lodged a further defence of alibi claiming he was in Stenhousemuir, Edinburgh and later at his own caravan in Denny, Stirlingshire, on the night of the alleged murder. The trial continues.
Brother admits lying after killing The Scotsman 18/04/1998 JOHN ROBERTSON Law Correspondent
THE brother of a murdered young Celtic footballer Lawrence Haggart lied to police to protect another member of their family, a jury heard yesterday. John Haggart said detectives suspected his 12-year-old brother Dennis was involved in the killing and he kept back information about clashes between the two youngsters. He thought it was possible Dennis had committed the murder, and eventually decided to speak up even if it would implicate his brother. Asked at the High Court in Edinburgh whether he had ever thought that Dennis actually was the murderer, Mr Haggart replied: "Not really." Brian Beattie, 33, a prisoner, denies murdering 15-year-old Lawrence, a Celtic schoolboy signing, on 15 or 16 March, 1996, at his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire. It is alleged he repeatedly struck the youth on the head and body, and then set fire to his body, causing injuries from which the boy later died. He is also accused of setting fire to furniture. He has lodged two special defences, one of alibi and the other of incrimination, naming Dennis Haggart, who is now 14. The court heard the three Haggart boys were at home while their mother was at a party. Dennis had come in about 10:30pm and Mr Haggart, now 19, of Braeview, Stenhousemuir, had had a go at him for "taking the mickey" by staying out so late. Mr Haggart said he was slightly frightened of Dennis, a big boy who, although several years younger, would probably win any physical confrontation. Edgar Prais, QC, for Beattie, put it to Mr Haggart that he had been so annoyed with Dennis for coming in late he had forgotten to be a bit afraid. Mr Haggart agreed that was probably the case. "He told me to f*** off," he said. Lawrence had taken his older brother's side and had received the same message from Dennis. Mr Haggart went up to his bedroom and Dennis was in his room along the landing. Lawrence remained downstairs for a while but then came up to the room he shared with Dennis. "After a few seconds I heard Dennis telling him to f*** off and Lawrence left the room." Mr Haggart said he had been dozing while watching television from his bed but thought he remembered Dennis going downstairs. He heard Lawrence say: "You are supposed to be in your bed." Later, around 1:30am, Mr Haggart woke and saw smoke in his room. He went downstairs and found Lawrence on the living room floor. A fire had been started and his feet were lying in the flames. He threw a basin of water on the fire and roused Dennis before calling the emergency services. Mr Haggart admitted he had lied when police interviewed him. "I knew where they were heading," he said. Mr Haggart agreed he had been trying to protect his brother and had considered the possibility that Dennis was responsible for Lawrence's death. Mr Haggart said he had told the police nothing untoward had happened, which was untrue. He agreed with Mr Prais that he had had a "hellish" two weeks, struggling with his conscience before changing his account. Mr Haggart accepted that, even then, he had left some things out of his statement. It was another six days before he told the police that on discovering the fire and going to alert Dennis, his brother had wakened immediately, which was unusual. Mr Prais put it to the witness that there was still more. Had he not given a further statement, almost two months after the incident, in which he said he thought he had heard someone on the landing, possibly going into his brothers' bedroom, just as he wakened and discovered the fire? Mr Haggart agreed that he had told that to police but said it was untrue. Mr Prais went on: "Although you have come clean to an extent, going the whole way and saying you heard someone on the landing is something you cannot say today, even though it is true. "It is very difficult for you, today, to accept you were honest at that time, is that not so?" Mr Haggart replied: "No. I never heard anybody on the landing. I honestly do not know what wakened me." Concluding his evidence with questions from the advocate-depute, Duncan Menzies, QC, Mr Haggart agreed it was because the police had Dennis in their sights that he considered whether his brother might have committed the murder. "Did you ever really think Dennis did do it?" asked Mr Menzies. "Not really," said Mr Haggart. "If it was just a fight or something, you could understand, but what actually happened to Lawrence a no way." The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.
Boy, 14, denies he killed his brother The Scotsman 22/04/1998 JOHN ROBERTSON Law Correspondent
A SCHOOLBOY denied yesterday that he had been jealous of his football star brother and murdered him in a fit of rage. Dennis Haggart, 14, who is being blamed for the killing by the man on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, said he had been proud, not envious, of Lawrence Haggart's success in football. He denied "losing the place" and bludgeoning his brother but agreed that in the weeks after the attack, the police had thought he was the killer. The boys' mother said she did not think it possible that one of her sons could have murdered the other. Brian Beattie, 33, a prisoner, is accused of murdering 15-year-old Lawrence, a Scottish schoolboys internationalist and a Celtic signing, on 15 or 16 March, 1996, at his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire. It is alleged Beattie repeatedly struck the youth on the head and body and set fire to his body, causing injuries from which he later died. Beattie has lodged two special defences, of alibi and incrimination, naming Dennis Haggart, who was 12 at the time. Dennis, of Braeview, Stenhousemuir, told the jury that he and Lawrence had shared a bedroom and got on well. Dennis was also keen on football and recently had reached the final trials for the Scottish schoolboys' team which Lawrence played for only days before his death. On 15 March, 1996, their mother had been at a party and Dennis arrived home about 10:30pm. His brother John, now 19, shouted at him for being so late and told him to go upstairs to bed. "I swore at him , told him to f*** off. Lawrence said, 'You just better go to bed.' I said, 'You never go when you are told'." Later, Dennis said, he was in bed listening to the radio when someone came into the room and took the duvet off Lawrence's bed. He imagined it had been Lawrence but all he had seen was a hand dragging the cover out the room. He remembered being wakened by John who said something had happened to Lawrence. He went downstairs and saw smoke coming from the living room. He saw Lawrence lying unconscious on the floor with an injury to his head. Dennis said he had given several statements to the police and was aware that, at one point, they had thought he might have murdered Lawrence. The advocate-depute, Duncan Menzies, QC, asked: "Did you, in fact, murder Lawrence?" Dennis replied: "No." The schoolboy agreed with Edgar Prais, QC, for Beattie, that a few weeks before his death, Lawrence had thrown a dart at Dennis and it pierced the skin of his leg. He denied burning Lawrence's "footballing legs" to pay him back. Dennis said his brother, John, had been wrong to say in evidence that he, Dennis, had told Lawrence to "f*** off" in their bedroom. Mr Prais: "You do not want the jury to think you were angry with Lawrence because that might put you in the frame for killing him. Is that not why you are telling lies?" The witness answered: "No." Mr Prais referred him to statements he had made to the police. In those, Dennis had said that Lawrence came into the room, switched on the light, took the cover and put off the light. Lawrence had told him to remember to turn off the radio before he went to sleep. Asked why he had given the jury "this story about just seeing a hand", Dennis said: "I forgot." Mr Prais added: "It is a terrible thing to have to admit killing your brother a maybe that is something you have also forgotten?" Dennis denied the suggestion, and that Lawrence had been sleeping downstairs because of a deep disagreement between them. Dennis disputed that he had lost the place and that the reason he had not gone into the living room after being wakened was because he knew what to expect. "You had killed him, you knew how bad it was, you knew what you had done to him," Mr Prais claimed. "You were not the same kind of star at football and that was why you burned his legs, because you were jealous and angry." Dennis replied: "No." His mother, Janet Haggart, 38, choked back tears as she told of returning from a birthday party to find Lawrence lying injured on the floor. "He was making a moaning noise. I was screaming. He just kept groaning." Mr Menzies asked: "You have known Dennis since he was born , do you consider that it was possible for him to have killed his brother?" Mrs Haggart replied: "No." The trial continues.
Young Celtic football player 'was beaten to death' The Scotsman 24/04/1998 CHRIS MACKAY
A YOUNG Celtic player died from severe head injuries after being beaten, a murder trial heard yesterday. Lawrence Haggart, 15, a Scotland schoolboy international, also suffered severe burns to his legs and to the soles of his feet, the High Court in Edinburgh was told. Professor Anthony Busuttil, the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Lawrence's body, said that the boy had died despite a battle to save his life by a team of surgeons, doctors and nurses. Prof Busuttil, the regius professor of pathology at Edinburgh University, told the court that the cause of death was "blunt force trauma to the head". He said that Lawrence had died at noon on 17 March, 1996, in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital. The boy's legs were extensively burned, the soles of his feet were "black and charred", and the skin was hanging off, Professor Busuttil said. "The whole skin was burnt, exposing underlying tissue, and these injuries occurred while he was still alive." The jury was shown photographs of the injuries as Prof Busuttil gave details of the post-mortem. He said that the boy's head and forehead were badly injured and bruised, and that the cause of death was brought about by blunt force trauma from being beaten about the head with a weapon. John Haggart, 19, has told how he dragged his brother from a fire in their living room on 15 March, 1996. He said that Lawrence was lying on the floor with his feet in the flames. Earlier yesterday a fire officer told the court that two fires had been started deliberately in the room where Lawrence was found dying. Charles Collier, a divisional officer with Central Scotland fire brigade, said that he had taken part in an investigation with forensic scientists and police at Lawrence's home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert. Mr Collier said that he had examined the room on the night Lawrence was found unconscious. He found burnt clothes, including a checked shirt, a pair of jeans and boots. He also found two pieces of skin. There was a semi-circular scorch mark on the carpet. Later, during a full investigation, two seats of fire were discovered. One of those was on the living room carpet and the other was on the settee where Lawrence was said to have been last seen by his brother John, reading a newspaper after 10:30pm on 15 March. Mr Collier, who has 25 years of service with the fire brigade, said that both seats of the blaze had been started deliberately. He said he had not found any evidence of any accelerant having been used. Brian Beattie, 33, a prisoner, denies murdering Lawrence. Beattie is alleged to have repeatedly struck Lawrence with a weapon and tried to set fire to furniture in the Haggarts' home. He has lodged two special defences of alibi and incrimination. He blames Dennis Haggart, Lawrence's youngest brother, then aged 12, for the alleged murder. He claims that at the time of the alleged murder he was in his caravan in Denny, Stirlingshire. Dennis Haggart, now 14, has denied murdering his brother. The trial, before Lord Dawson, continues.
Teenager's head injuries 'terminal' The Scotsman 25/04/1998 JOHN ROBERTSON Law Correspondent
A TEENAGE footballer could never have recovered from the severe head injuries he suffered in an attack, a pathologist told a murder trial yesterday. Lawrence Haggart, 15, sustained a massive skull fracture, and although surgeons tried to save him their efforts could only have allowed him to survive slightly longer, Professor Anthony Busuttil said. Brian Beattie, 33, a prisoner, denies murdering Lawrence, a schoolboy internationalist and Celtic signing, on 15 or 16 March, 1996, at his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stir-lingshire. It is alleged he repeatedly struck Lawrence on the head and body and set fire to him, causing injuries from which he died in hospital. Beattie has lodged two special defences, of alibi and incrimination, naming Dennis Haggart, 14, Lawrence's brother, who was 12 at the time. Dennis has denied the claim. Prof Busuttil said that Lawrence had died from blunt-force trauma to the head. Because of the surgery that had been carried out, it was not possible to say how many blows had been inflicted. The injuries could be likened to those seen in road traffic accidents where a driver went through a windscreen, Prof Busuttil said. The pathologist was shown a piece of concrete slab - there had been a number lying outside the victim's house - and agreed that it could have been used by the killer. Prof Busuttil said: "There were no defensive injuries and no evidence that he (the deceased) was involved in an altercation in which, for example, punches were exchanged. It is very likely he was taken completely unawares and that the incident was short-lived." Lawrence had also suffered deep burns to his legs but had not died because of those. The trial will resume next week.
Night of sex with no names The Herald 28/04/1998 Bruce McKain Law Correspondent
THE man accused of murdering young Celtic footballer Lawrence Haggart was involved in a homosexual encounter in a gay meeting place on the night the boy was fatally injured, a court heard yesterday. Brian Beattie, 33, was interviewed by police while Lawrence was still fighting for his life and told them he was positive he had not been near the victim's house in Larbert, Stirlingshire, that night. The High Court in Edinburgh also heard how a detective had "stumbled across" a hammer in the kitchen of the boy's house four days after a specialist team had searched the house for a possible weapon but found no hammer. Mr Beattie denies murdering the teenager by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a weapon in his home at Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, on March 15 or 16, 1996. He has lodged defences of alibi and incrimination, laying the blame on Dennis Haggart, the victim's brother, who was 12 at the time of the incident. Detective Constable Gordon McGown told the court yesterday that on March 16, 1996, he had gone to the Evergreen Trailer Park in Denny where Brian Beattie had a caravan. Mr Beattie agreed to go to Falkirk police station and they tried to establish his movements for the night in question. He told them he had visited his brother in Stenhousemuir on March 15 and left about 9.30pm with the intention of going through to Edinburgh that night. He was gay but didn't want his brother to know so he went back to his caravan at first and checked that everything was all right then drove through to Edinburgh, parking in the Grassmarket, before walking to Royal Terrace which was a popular meeting place for people like himself. He got there about 11pm and stayed for about an hour-and-a-half. He met one man with whom he had oral sex and they were together for 15 minutes before they went their separate ways without exchanging names or saying where they came from. Mr Beattie told police he was back at his caravan by 2am. He was asked if he had been anywhere near Lawrence Haggart's home and replied: "I'm positive I wasn't in that area last night at all." At that stage the inquiry was into an assault on the 15-year-old, who had played for Scotland schoolboys just before his death on March 17. The court heard that on March 18 a team of police search experts were called into the Haggart family home and during a three-and-a-half hour investigation found a triangular piece of concrete slab on grass outside the house. However, scenes of crime pictures taken two days earlier showed no sign of a piece of concrete. PC Jeffrey Adams told the court that he had been part of the search team and had spent 26 minutes searching the kitchen on March 18. No hammer had been found and in his opinion they would have found a hammer had it been there. Detective Sergeant Robert Beveridge said he had called at the house four days later and come across the hammer in the kitchen. He could not recall who had instructed him to go to the house or what he was told to look for, but thought there might have been a problem with the electricity. The house had been sealed and the inquiry team had taken possession of it. He explained that he had "stumbled across" the hammer which was lying down the kitchen table. He told Mr Edgar Prais QC, defending, that he was "absolutely positive" the hammer, with a hair attached to it, was there when he went into the kitchen. On Friday, the court heard forensic evidence that a piece of concrete slab could have caused the injuries from which Lawrence Haggart died. His death was the result of blunt force trauma to the head, which caused a massive skull fracture and brain damage. The injuries were similar to those suffered by a road accident victim who had gone through the windscreen of a car. The trial continues.
Murder trial is delayed Daily Record 29/04/1998The trial of a man accused of murdering Celtic starlet Lawrence Haggart was delayed yesterday by legal debate. Brian Beattie, 33, denies killing Lawrence, 15, at the boy's home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. The jury will return to the High Court in Edinburgh tomorrow.
The Scotsman 01/05/1998 JOHN ROBERTSON Law Correspondent
A MAN confessed to murdering the young football player Lawrence Haggart and said the Dunblane massacre might have "triggered something in me", a jury was told yesterday. Brian Beattie gave a statement to police more than a year after Lawrence, 15, was bludgeoned to death in his home, the High Court in Edinburgh heard. "I keep remembering the fear in his face. I want to go to the grave to say sorry to him," Beattie allegedly told detectives. Lawrence, a Celtic signing, had won a Scottish schoolboys' cap on the day of the Dunblane atrocity in March 1996. A couple of days later, he was attacked in the living room of his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, as he watched late-night television. Beattie, 33, denies murdering Lawrence and setting fire to his body. He pleads alibi and has named Dennis Haggart, 14, Lawrence's brother who was 12 at the time, in a special defence of incrimination. The teenager has denied the claim. Detective Sergeant Gordon Munro, 41, said that in August last year, during a renewed investigation into Lawrence's murder, Beattie was interviewed over a weekend. At the first batch of interviews, he said, Beattie denied any knowledge of the crime. However, later, said Mr Munro, there was "a definite change in atmosphere , you could sense it in the room". Beattie had been crying "like a child in an adult's body." He had spoken of having urges and being disgusted with himself. At a subsequent interview, Beattie claimed it had been an accident and he began to sob uncontrollably. Beattie had said he needed help and should be in hospital. The interview was brought to an end, but during later questioning, he agreed to tell the police what had happened in the house. Mr Munro said Beattie described a party being held across the street and a taxi arriving to collect or drop off a fare. He had gone in the front door of the Haggart house and, through the glass-paned living room door, saw Lawrence on a couch covered with a blanket or a quilt. "I opened the living room door and stepped in. He got up and said something . I hit him a I can remember his face, I will never forget it," Beattie had said. "He fell back on the couch and I hit him again. I keep remembering the fear in his face. "I do not know how many times I hit him or what I hit him with. It's a blank. I know I never took nothing in with me but my hands were not sore after it so I must have used something. The next thing I remember is running back down the street." At the time of the murder, Beattie was staying in a residential caravan at the Evergreen trailer park in Denny, Stirlingshire. He allegedly said in the statement he had gone back to the caravan and had managed to fall asleep. He got up early the next morning and burned his clothes at a lay-by. Mr Munro said Beattie continued: "I have heard that the boy's brothers were getting the blame for it. I felt guilty because I knew they never done it. "You will maybe find it hard to believe, but I wanted to go and say to the brothers and to his mum and dad that I was sorry for it. "I also wanted to go to the grave to say sorry to him as if he would hear me. I wanted to tell his mum and dad who done it so they would know he was at peace now. Beattie had added: "It was just after Dunblane and I do not know if it was that that triggered something in me. We [Beattie and some of his family] went up there and took flowers." Beattie had said he did not recall starting a fire. He wanted to be hypnotised as that might help him remember. Mr Munro told the jury Beattie had refused to sign the statement and had also refused to be interviewed on tape. Some of the earlier interviews had been taped at the insistence of the detectives as Beattie had made allegations of evidence being planted against him, added the witness. The trial continues.
Detective denies beating murder suspect The Herald 02/05/1998
A DETECTIVE has denied that a man accused of murdering a Celtic schoolboy signing was beaten up in police custody, and maintained that he made a genuine confession to the killing. Detective Sergeant Gordon Munro was questioned at the High Court in Edinburgh over whether he or his colleagues had laid hands on murder suspect Brian Beattie in August last year. The policeman told Mr Edgar Prais QC, defending Mr Beattie: "Quite certainly not." The defence counsel asked: "Wasn't he slapped on the head and punched in the stomach?" The detective replied: "That is complete nonsense. It is not true." Mr Munro said he believed that the police were fair with Mr Beattie, 33, during a series of interviews with him over a weekend at the Central force's headquarters in Stirling. He denied that a senior officer told Mr Beattie that if he admitted the crime he could go to a psychiatric hospital. He also denied that the suspect was told that if he went to a psychiatric hospital he could be out in a year or so. Mr Munro denied a further allegation that Mr Beattie was informed that if he did not admit the killing he faced being imprisoned for 25 years. Mr Prais suggested to the policeman in cross-examination that Mr Beattie made no confession at all. But the officer replied: "I can assure you that Brian Beattie made that confession - that confession is genuine." Mr Beattie, unemployed, of Ewing Drive, Falkirk, has denied murdering 15-year-old Lawrence Haggart at his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, on March 15-16 in 1996. It is alleged that he repeatedly struck the schoolboy on the head and body with an instrument and set fire to him. The teenager died from his injuries in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital on March 17. Mr Beattie has also denied attempting to set fire to furniture at the boy's home in Larbert. He has lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Lawrence's younger brother, Dennis, who was then aged 12, for the murder. He has also lodged a further defence of alibi. The court earlier heard from Mr Munro that Mr Beattie refused to be recorded during a final interview in August last year, but indicated he wished to make a statement. He is alleged to have described how he went into the Haggart home and saw Lawrence lying on a couch and that the boy got up and said something. Mr Beattie is alleged to have stated: "I hit him on the head, but I honestly can't remember what with. When I hit him the first time he fell back on the couch and I hit him again. I keep remembering the fear on his face. I don't know how many times I hit him or what I hit him with." The court heard that Mr Beattie denied making the alleged confession when he later appeared before a sheriff at Falkirk for a judicial examination. He told the sheriff: "I didn't make any of these confessions at all." Mr Prais said to Mr Munro that that was the truth of the matter, but the detective said: "It is completely untrue. These confessions are genuine and were written at the time he made them." The trial continues.
Officer denies he invented Haggart murder confession The Herald 06/05/1998
A senior police officer yesterday denied he chose "foul means'' to solve the murder of teenage Celtic star Lawrence Haggart. Detective Superintendent Joseph Holden denied that as the "new broom" appointed to clear up the mystery he had "invented" a murder confession. Mr Holden, of Central Scotland Police, also denied a defence allegation that police had battered murder-accused Brian Beattie, 33, into making a false confession to killing the 15-year-old Scottish schoolboy internationalist who was found dying in flames in his family home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, on March 15, 1996. Mr Holden, 44, told the High Court in Edinburgh that Mr Beattie broke down and confessed to killing Lawrence Haggart during an interview at Stirling police station in August 1997. Mr Holden told the court: "You could see his body beginning to shake . . . he started crying loudly, making a wailing noise. Mucous was coming from his nose as well as tears from his eyes." Mr Holden said he asked Mr Beattie: "Did you kill Lawrence Haggart?" Mr Holden said at that point Beattie nodded his head vigorously at least half a dozen times". Mr Holden said he then inquired: "Does that mean yes, Brian?" He said Mr Beattie replied: "Aye . . . I want to talk to Willie about it." Mr Holden said police then took Mr Beattie's brother William to Stirling police station. But when they met, Mr Beattie told his brother he had not committed the murder. Mr Holden said Mr Beattie's alleged confession to the murder was not tape-recorded. But a police officer had noted the statement of confession. Mr Holden said he had been asked to review the evidence of the unsolved murder in November 1996. He said Mr Beattie "confessed" to the murder of Lawrence Haggart in August 1997 but was not charged with murder until three months later. Mr Holden said that was a decision taken by the procurator-fiscal. Mr Edgar Prais QC, defence counsel, asked Mr Holden if, as "the new broom" appointed to take over the fresh investigation, he was determined to solve the murder at any cost. Mr Holden replied: "I have nothing to prove. I have 18 years' service in the CID and have been a chief investigating officer for 12 years." Mr Prais added: "My suggestion is that this was a crime you were going to solve by foul means or fair means. And you chose foul." Mr Holden denied the allegation. He said that he had reviewed all the evidence and denied that police officers assaulted Mr Beattie before the "confession" was made. He said he had not threatened Mr Beattie that if he did not confess his family would be left unprotected while in fear of having their home firebombed because of local outrage. Mr Beattie, unemployed, of Ewing Drive, Falkirk, denies murdering Lawrence Haggart by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a weapon and setting fire to his body so that he died at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital on March 17, 1996. The alleged offence was said to have taken place at the Haggart family home at Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, on March 15 or 16, 1996, after Mr Beattie was said to have entered the house uninvited. Mr Beattie further denies he culpably and recklessly attempted to set fire to furniture in the home. In a special defence of incrimination, Mr Beattie blamed Dennis Haggart, now 14, for the murder of his brother, Lawrence. In court, Dennis denied the allegation. The trial continues.
Haggart case told of porn videos The Herald 08/05/1998
VIDEOS featuring the abduction and torture of youths for sexual pleasure were found by police during a search of the home of a man accused of murdering Celtic youth star Lawrence Haggart, a court heard yesterday. Detective Constable Forrest Sloan, 39, told the High Court in Edinburgh the pornographic material was in a chest of drawers at the home of Brian Beattie, 33, in Ewing Drive, Falkirk. Mr Sloan said he was part of a team investigating the death of Lawrence, 15, who was found dying in his home in Larbert on March 15-16, 1996. Mr Sloan said the search of Mr Beattie's home was carried out on August 23, 1997, when two pornographic videos were found in a front bedroom. He told the court the videos appeared to have been recorded from a satellite German channel. He said the videos were titled Redemption - The Abduction Series Part 3. He explained that the whole theme of the videos was about the abduction of handsome young men for sexual pleasure. Mr Sloan said some of the video scenes showed young men taking part in homosexual acts. He told the court: "There were other scenes of young boys being whipped and tortured and tied together with cloth." Mr Beattie denies murdering Lawrence Haggart at his home at Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, by striking him on the head and body with an unknown weapon and setting fire to him so that he died at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital on March 17, 1996. Mr Duncan Menzies, QC, prosecuting, said he did not intend to call any more witnesses because the Crown case had been completed. The trial continues.
Accused denies gay abduction fantasies The Scotsman 09/05/1998 JOHN ROBERTSON Law Correspondent
A MAN accused of murdering a top schoolboy footballer denied yesterday that he had sexual fantasies about abducting young men. Brian Beattie agreed that a pornographic video featuring kidnap scenes had been found in his home but said he had watched only the first few minutes and "did not like it". He claimed that police had lied to a jury when they said he had admitted killing Lawrence Haggart during a series of interviews almost 18 months after the teenager's death. He alleged detectives had assaulted him repeatedly in custody and had warned that his family would receive no protection if he refused to confess. Beattie broke down in tears as he gave evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh and when asked why he was crying, replied: "Because I am accused of this murder ... I am not guilty." It is alleged that Beattie, 33, repeatedly struck Lawrence, 15, a Celtic signing, over the head and body with an unknown weapon and set fire to his body at his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, on 15 or 16 March, 1996. Beattie says in an alibi defence that he was in Edinburgh that night looking for sex. He has blamed the murder on Dennis Haggart, 14, Lawrence's brother, who was 12 at the time. Dennis denies the claim. The jury has heard that Beattie was first interviewed within hours of the attack, before Lawrence had died in hospital, and gave an account of going to Edinburgh from his home in Denny, Stirlingshire, and having oral sex with a man. He was questioned over a weekend last August during a renewed investigation into the murder. Police said that, after initially denying involvement, he had confessed to having urges and feeling disgusted with himself. He also allegedly described attacking Lawrence, stating: "I keep remembering the fear in his face." Giving evidence yesterday, Beattie said he had gone voluntarily to a police station to give the first statement in March 1996. It was the truth and he had signed the statement. At the interviews last year, he had wanted a tape recorder to be used but the police had said they would decide when the machine was switched on or left off. "I asked for the tapes because it would stop them hitting me ... because they would not be able to go on saying the things they were saying," Beattie said. He claimed detectives had assaulted him in an attempt to get him to admit to a murder he had not committed. He had been told that he could do himself a favour by confessing. He would go to a mental hospital if he admitted it, otherwise he would get 25 years in prison. Beattie said he was close to his brother, William, and had often looked after his four young nephews. "The police said if I did not admit to this murder they were going to get the children taken into care and examined to say I was trying to molest them." Beattie said he had refused to sign the alleged confession, which had been written down by the police during an off-tape interview. His QC, Edgar Prais, asked: "Did you confess to this murder?" Beattie replied: "No". He agreed that police had found a gay pornographic video, Redemption, the Abduction Series, Part Three, in a house in Ewing Drive, Falkirk, where he had lived last year. Beattie said he had borrowed it from a friend but watched only the first five to 15 minutes. "I did not like it." The advocate-depute, Duncan Menzies, QC, put it to Beattie that he had fantasies of abducting and using violence towards young men. Beattie rejected the suggestion. Mr Menzies asked: "Were these not the sort of urges you were talking about when you were giving answers to the police?" Beattie said: "No". The trial will resume next week.
Confession is lies, murder trial is told The Herald 13/05/1998
A police chief was so determined to solve the murder of a young Celtic footballer that he and two colleagues fabricated a confession from the accused, it was claimed at the High Court in Edinburgh, yesterday. It had been decided that Lawrence Haggart's had been a homosexual murder and Mr Brian Beattie was responsible, the jury was told during summing up. Mr Edgar Prais, QC, for Mr Beattie, said Detective Superintendent Joseph Holden, area commander of Central Scotland CID and in charge of the fresh inquiry into the murder, had his distinguished reputation to protect, and the world was "looking on". He said: "I suggest to you that the police were determined to get their man. They made up their mind they were going to solve this crime. If police could not solve the murder fairly then they would do it unfairly. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the defence calls the police liars." Mr Beattie, formerly of Ewing Drive, Falkirk, denies murdering Lawrence Haggart by striking him on the head and body with an unknown weapon and setting fire to him. He also denies attempting to set fire to furniture in the Haggart family home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, on March 15 or 16, 1996. In a special defence of incrimination, Mr Beattie blamed the murder on Dennis Haggart, now 14, who denied the allegation in court. Mr Beattie also claimed a defence of alibi, saying he was in Edinburgh and Denny on the night of the murder. Of an alleged confession made by Mr Beattie, his counsel said it was strange that when it was supposedly made the police did not tape record it. When the tape was switched off, police recorded a handwritten confession. He said his client was sobbing hysterically and uncontrollably because he was accused of a murder he had not committed. Mr Prais said: "Police had tried to fit-up the alleged confession with details from the medical evidence within their knowledge. Forensic tests were carried out in Scotland and by the FBI Bureau in Washington on behalf of the defence. In all tests, Mr Beattie was eliminated from any connection with the murder scene. Earlier, Mr Duncan Menzies, QC, prosecuting, said that if police had made up the murder confessions they were worthy of being members of the Royal Shakespeare Company or winners of the Booker Prize. He suggested the reason why Mr Beattie had broken down during police questioning was that he was "haunted" by his guilt. The jury will retire to consider their verdict today, after Lord Dawson completes his charge.
Inquiry into handling of Celtic murder case The Scotsman 14/05/1998 JOHN SMITH and JOHN ROBERTSON
AN INDEPENDENT inquiry was ordered last night into the way in which a police force investigated the murder of a Celtic youth player, whose killer was jailed for life yesterday. Central Scotland Police announced the investigation at the end of the trial of Brian Beattie, who was found guilty of murdering 14-year-old Lawrence Haggart. The trial judge described Beattie's attack on the boy as brutal and ferocious. Lawrence was bludgeoned and mutilated at his home in March 1996. Officers investigating the assault initially believed the teenager's younger brother was the killer, and that his elder brother might have also been involved. Beattie had been questioned by police within hours of the attack on Lawrence, a rising member of Celtic Boys' Club and one of Scotland's brightest footballing prospects. Beattie told them he had been in Edinburgh looking for sex with other men and it was another 18 months before he was interviewed extensively. He initially stuck to his denial, but eventually confessed. Yesterday's verdict was greeted with cheers from the public benches at the High Court in Edinburgh. Beattie, 33, was told that he would serve a minimum of 15 years. The dead teenager's father, Larry, said he was delighted at the conviction, but angry that it had taken more than two years to bring him to justice. Mr Haggart, 37, accused Central Scotland Police of a "balls up" in the initial investigation, when officers regarded Lawrence's brother, Dennis, who was 12, as the main suspect. "How anybody could believe that a boy of that age could do that to his brother a they must be sick in the head," he said. Central's chief constable, William Wilson, said yesterday that the independent inquiry will be carried out by James Mackay, the assistant chief constable of Tayside Police. "If there are lessons to be learned as a result of this review, then we will take them on board," Mr Wilson said. Police interviewed Lawrence's brothers on a number of occasions. Once, Dennis was held for six hours and interviewed on tape. A report was sent to the Crown Office saying there was circumstantial evidence to link him, and perhaps his elder brother John, to the attack. Mr Haggart said that he had been told at one point by Det Sgt Alan Stewart at Falkirk that he had evidence that Dennis committed the crime. "Stewart even told me to go home and get Dennis to own up to it. Twice he asked me ," said Mr Haggart. Beattie had denied bludgeoning Lawrence on the head and setting fire to his body in the boy's home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. He claimed detectives had fabricated confessions. Lawrence, a Celtic signing who two days earlier had won a Scottish schoolboys' cap, was lying on a couch in the living room when Beattie struck after entering the house through an unlocked door. Lawrence's two brothers, John, now 19, and Dennis, 14, were in their bedrooms upstairs. Their mother, separated from her husband, was at a party. Beattie has a long criminal record, including sexual attacks on youths in their homes and the abduction of a teenager. After the jury returned a majority guilty verdict on the charge of murdering Lawrence, the trial judge, Lord Dawson, told Beattie: "This was a most brutal and ferocious attack." Police had found a pornographic video, depicting the abduction of young men by other men for sexual pleasure, in Beattie's home at Ewing Drive, Falkirk. The judge said that he regarded possession of the film, Redemption, the Abduction Series, Part Three, as extremely sinister in light of the accused's record. Imposing the mandatory life sentence for murder, Lord Dawson said: "In view of the circumstances surrounding this vicious crime, I regard you as an extreme danger to the public and I recommend that a period of 15 years should elapse before you are considered for release on licence." Speaking outside court, Lawrence's father praised Det Supt Joe Holden and his team for the way they had undertaken a renewed investigation about a year after the murder. However, he condemned the initial inquiry which had been led by the then head of Central Scotland CID, Det Chief Insp James Winning, who is currently on extended sick leave "The first investigation tried to blame Dennis and I think it is a bloody disgrace that Beattie picked up on that and blamed Dennis during the trial." Asked where he thought the first investigation had gone wrong, Mr Haggart said: "They did not check Beattie's alibi for starters, is that not enough?"
Family's long fight for truth The Scotsman 14/05/1998 JOHN SMITH and DAVID MONTGOMERY
WHEN Lawrence Haggart arrived home from a disco on 15 March, 1996, he had every reason to be happy. The popular youngster had made his footballing debut for Scotland schoolboys in a match against Belgium two days before. Later that year Lawrence, 15, was to have signed professional player forms for Celtic. But within hours of arriving home on that Friday night, Lawrence had fallen victim to a murderous attack which cast suspicion on his brothers and led to bitter accusations of a bungled police investigation. On saying goodbye to his friends outside his house, Lawrence had gone in to find his brother, John, 17, watching television. They were soon joined by their youngest brother, Dennis, well after the time he had been told to be home. The boys stayed with their mother, Janet - their parents had separated - and that night she was at a relative's party near the family's home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert. John, as the eldest, had been left in charge and he rebuked Dennis, 12, before sending him upstairs to his bedroom. Lawrence sided with John and told his young brother to do as he was told. The two younger boys shared a room and later, when Lawrence went up, Dennis was heard telling him to "f*** off". Lawrence returned to the living room to sleep on the couch. Dennis later went down to the kitchen for some sweets and crisps and was promptly reminded by Lawrence: "You are supposed to be in your bed". At about 1:30am, John woke and saw smoke in his room. He went downstairs and found Lawrence on the living room floor, his legs lying in the flames of a fire. A pile of his clothes had been set alight. Lawrence was suffering from catastrophic head injuries and his shoulder had been bizarrely mutilated. He was taken to Falkirk Royal Infirmary then transferred to the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, where he died on the Sunday. The death, four days after the Dunblane massacre, sent shockwaves through Larbert. Fellow pupils at St Mungo's High School, Falkirk, where Lawrence was a popular pupil, were devastated. Within hours of the attack, detectives questioned Brian Beattie because the case matched his previous behaviour so exactly. They listened to his alibi - that at the time he had been in Edinburgh and picked up a man for sex. Then they let him go. It was to take a change of police staff before Beattie was again to become the central suspect. The initial inquiry team, led by Det Supt Jim Winning, head of Central Scotland CID, did not return to Beattie to question him further over the teenager's murder. Instead, even before Law-rence's parents decided to allow their son's life support system to be switched off, detectives began to suspect Dennis. In the months to come they continued with their theory that it was Dennis who had bludgeoned his brother to death. Permission was given to detain him under the terms of the Criminal Justice Act and he was interviewed on tape. A report, based on circumstantial evidence, was sent to the Crown Office suggesting that Dennis was the culprit and that John could have played a part. Dennis seemed to become the prime suspect for his brother's murder when no trace of a break-in was found. John and Dennis were interviewed repeatedly in the weeks after the killing and John told the jury he had been less than frank with the police to try to protect Dennis. "I knew where they were heading," he said. But after initially claiming that nothing untoward had happened between the brothers that night, John revealed the clashes between Lawrence and Dennis. Later, during the trial, Dennis denied he had been jealous of Lawrence's footballing success and had killed him in a fit of rage after their row that night. It was only towards the end of 1996, when Supt Joe Holden replaced Mr Winning as head of CID, that a review of the Haggart case was ordered. At about the first anniversary of the murder, Supt Holden and his number two on the inquiry decided there were three poss-ibilities. One was that someone in the household had carried out the attack, another that the culprit was Beattie, or a third line of inquiry - that someone else still at large had been capable of carrying out such a bizarre crime. Supt Holden went to see the Haggarts and told them of his three theories. It was to be the first of regular weekly meetings with the couple and their sons. Mr Haggart, a painter and decorator, recalled that the detective's attitude had been "completely different" from that which they had encountered from the previous investigating team. "Here, at last, was someone who cared about my family and was determined to find out who killed my boy." The father, who is intent on suing Central Scotland police, claimed that detectives involved in the first investigation had not kept an open mind. Claiming that Central Scotland police had made a "terrible botch-up" in the first investigation, he said that he had drawn up a list of complaints and sent them to the procurator-fiscal. Further evidence showing the police in a dim light centred on photographs taken at the house soon after the attack which showed nothing on the front lawn. However, when a search team returned two days later, with a remit to look for anything that might have been used to bludgeon Lawrence, a piece of concrete slab was found on the grass. Four days later, a detective, who said he had been sent to collect clothing for the family or to check in case a power card was needed for the electricity, found a hammer "down the side of the kitchen table". For Supt Holden and his inquiry team, the likelihood that Lawrence had been killed by one or other of his brothers began to appear increasingly unlikely as they stepped up their investigation. "We had nothing in black and white that we could hang our hat on in regard to Dennis being involved, or John," Supt Holden said. "We just had a gut feeling that the circumstances of the crime, the mutilation of Lawrence's shoulder, the motive that we felt was either sadistic or sexual, could not be laid at the feet of Dennis, who was 12 at the time, or John. No brother could have done what was done to Lawrence, then tortured him before going upstairs to his bedroom to sleep." Separate attempts were made by the attacker to set fire to the couch in the living room and the carpet. Lawrence was found with his feet badly burned amid some of his clothing which had been set alight. His feet were also hard up against the lit gas fire. By this time, with the help of the National Crime Facility think-tank at Bramshill Police College, no criminal, apart from Beattie, was identified as fitting the pattern of the crime. The net then began to tighten round Beattie. His house in Larbert was put under surveillance by detectives and his movements were monitored. The fresh inquiry team knew that, in the absence of witnesses to say they had seen Beattie near the Haggart family home, forensic evidence could be crucial. But both the scorched couch and the badly burned carpet had been disposed of soon after the murder, with the agreement of the police. They had been gone over inch by inch, but had not been subjected to any detailed forensic examination. Supt Holden's team was left with a series of photographs and a hair found in Lawrence Haggart's underpants suspected of belonging to Beattie. Forensic tests in Scotland and at the FBI laboratory in Washington showed it came from the victim. Despite this, police attention continued to be focused firmly on Beattie. A warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of fire-raising in Stenhousemuir in February last year and on Friday, 22 August, he was arrested. He was then interviewed a number of times over the weekend - not about the fire-raising, but over the death of Lawrence. Both Supt Holden and his depute, Det Sgt Gordon Munro, were to deny a defence claim they had made up the murder confession obtained from Beattie that weekend, or that they had assaulted him. Beattie told police that after he disturbed Lawrence, the youngster had got up and said something to him. He then hit him on the head but could not recall what he weapon was. "When I hit him the first time he fell back on the couch and I hit him again. I keep remembering the fear in his face. I do not remember how many times I hit him." But though they had their confession, the police had no explanation from Beattie which would have solved the most bizarre element of an unusual case. The dying boy's palms each bore the number 110 written in ink, and photographs showed the same number gouged in his shoulder, apparently using a mortice key. Whether what was in the killer's mind when he gouged Lawrence's skin ever emerges, Supt Holden is in no doubt about one thing: "He is a psychopath who gets his kicks preying on young men and boys in the safety of their own homes."
Footballer's killer jailed. ;Judge recommends murderer of rising star serve at least 15 years for 'ferocious crime' The Herald 14/05/1998 Bruce McKain, Law Correspondent and Ian Smith
THE killer of young Celtic football star Lawrence Haggart was jailed for life yesterday with a recommendation he serves at least 15 years for his "brutal and ferocious" crime. Cheers erupted from the public benches at the High Court in Edinburgh as a jury returned a majority guilty verdict against 33-year-old Brian Beattie, described by trial judge Lord Dawson as an extremely dangerous man with a formidable criminal record. Central Scotland Police announced last night it was to hold an independent inquiry into the conduct of its officers during the first year of the investigation into Lawrence's murder. The move followed severe criticism by the dead boy's father, following yesterday's verdict, of the police handling of the initial stages of the investigation. Although Beattie was interviewed by police within hours of the attack on the 15-year-old footballer, who had just won a Scotland schoolboy cap, he was not charged until about 20 months later. In the meantime, suspicion fell on the victim's 12-year-old brother, Dennis, who was also blamed for the murder by Beattie in a special defence of incrimination. Passing sentence yesterday, Lord Dawson's words echoed those of Advocate-depute Paul Cullen (later to become Solicitor General for Scotland), when Beattie appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh in January 1992, on a charge of abducting a 16-year-old boy from his bedroom. Mr Cullen told the court: "It does indicate that Mr Beattie represents a serious danger to the public." Lord Dawson told Beattie: "This was a most brutal and ferocious attack, completely unprovoked, upon a young 15-year-old boy in his own home. "Having inflicted horrific and patently lethal injuries upon him, you then set fire to him by setting alight the clothing upon which his inert body lay in the living room of his own home in which his two brothers lay asleep and unawares upstairs. "You have a very serious criminal record indeed. In 1984, you were sentenced to seven years for breaking into premises and for arson. You have been convicted twice in this court. On the latter occasion, you were sentenced to five years for crimes which included assault and abduction." In that case, the 16-year-old victim woke at 3am to find Beattie, who had been released from jail four days earlier, standing over his bed. He covered the boy's face with a blanket and, after warning him that he had a knife, tied his wrists with a shirt and wire. The half-dressed boy was forced from his home with a T-shirt over his head but Beattie fled after his victim managed to pull the shirt off and saw his attacker. Lord Dawson yesterday referred to evidence that police had found a homosexual pornographic video - Redemption: The Abduction Series Part Three - in the bedroom of Beattie's home in Ewing Drive, Falkirk. Its theme was the abduction of young men from their homes for sexual pleasure. Lord Dawson continued: "I consider your possession of the video tape as extremely sinister. In view of the circumstances surrounding this vicious crime, I regard you as an extreme danger to the public." Beattie was also convicted of setting fire to Lawrence's body and the judge said: "I also regard the fire-raising charge as extremely serious. You were heedless of the fact people might well be asleep upstairs whose very lives would have been put in severe jeopardy. It was only by fortune that the fire did not develop into a conflagration." The fire-raising charge is to run concurrently with the life sentence. In a statement issued last night, Central Police Chief Constable William Wilson said: "I have invited Mr James Mackay, Assistant Chief Constable of Tayside Police, to initiate a full and independent review of how we handled the inquiry. "And, if there are any lessons to be learned as a result, we will take them on board. Until Mr Mackay's findings are made available to us, I feel it would be inappropriate to comment further." Beattie had denied murdering Lawrence, who won a Scottish schoolboy cap on the day of the Dunblane massacre in March 1996. Two days later, Lawrence was left with severe head wounds inflicted during a savage attack as he lay on the settee of his home in Glenbervie Drive, Larbert, Stirlingshire, watching late-night television. He died later in hospital. The murder ended what promised to be a successful football career for the young Celtic player. Last night, former Celtic assistant manager Billy Stark said Lawrence had shown the potential to go right to the top of the sport. "He was a level-headed youngster who loved his football and was very dedicated. Lawrence had all the attributes, not only the ability but the temperament and attitude to work hard that would have taken him right to the top."
Judge missed chance to jail killer Beattie 14 years ago Daily Record 14/05/1998 Stephen Rafferty
The man who murdered Lawrence Haggart was almost jailed for life 14 years ago. Brian Beattie was only 19 when judge Myrella Cohen QC branded him a "fire risk" and a danger to the public. She thought about sending him away for life - but imposed a seven-year sentence instead. If the life term had been imposed, Beattie would have been under close scrutiny by the authorities when he got out. Seven young men may have been spared horrific sex attacks - and promising Celtic star Lawrence would still be alive. Beattie, 33, was brought up in Airth, Stirlingshire, the youngest of Thomas and Margaret Beattie's four sons. He was a problem child and began his criminal life at the tender age of 11. He spent his formative years in a succession of List- D schools and institutions. His parents' marriage ended when his mum ran off with another man and set up home in Redcar, Teesside. She got a job as a bus conductress and her youngest son soon moved south to join her. He began travelling the same bus routes as his mum to check on vulnerable pensioners' movements so he could rob their houses. In all, he broke into four homes belonging to elderly widows, stole valuables and set fire to their houses. He appeared at Teesside Crown Court in March 1984 and admitted four charges of burglary and two of arson. While in custody, Beattie set fire to his prison cell and attempted suicide by setting fire to himself. Judge Cohen told him: "You are a danger to the public at large and you are also a danger to yourself." After his release in 1988, Beattie's life of crime took a sinister new twist. He moved back to Airth and in November that year started a series of depraved attacks. Beattie would sneak into houses in the middle of the night after watching for signs that young males lived there. His first victim was a 14-year-old Stenhousemuir boy, but he struggled free and Beattie ran off. In August 1990, a 17-year-old youth sleeping in his home at Falkirk woke to find Beattie holding a pair of scissors at his stomach. The terrified youngster was ordered to lie face down, his head was covered with a pillow and duvet and he was warned: "If you look at my face I'll kill you." Beattie carried out a number of sickening sexual assaults on his victim, who's now 25. Yesterday, his victim said he remembered Beattie as being "calm, controlled and relaxed". Three weeks later, Beattie carried out a similar attack on 21-year-old Lawrence Kane while his parents and older brother slept in other rooms in their Stenhousemuir home. Yesterday, Lawrence, now a dad of one, said: "I can remember waking up and he had his hand over my privates and a knife in my belly. He said if I moved he would slash me. "I managed to push him off me and chased him out of the room. My room was never the same again after that." Lawrence has suffered with depression since the attack. He said: "It still really annoys me that I could not get my own back on him. He is always in the back of my mind. I feel inadequate because I did not get my hands on him." The pervert struck again in October - with two attacks in five days. He sneaked into a house in Larbert and threatened to kill an 18-year- old boy with a screwdriver before sexually assaulting him. Then he struck at the home of a former Scotland football star and attacked his 14-year-old son. Yesterday, that victim said: "Basically he had a strict routine with all the attacks and the last time he went a step further and ended up killing this boy. I was one of the lucky ones." Beattie was eventually arrested in connection with some of the incidents and was released on bail at Falkirk Sheriff Court. But just six days later, he carried out another assault on a 20-year- old Falkirk man. In February 1991, he was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh to 18 months for the assaults but served only eight months and was released that October. And just three days after being released from prison he was at it again. He abducted a boy of 16 from his Stenhousemuir home after threatening him with a knife. Beattie was jailed for five years and sent to Peterhead Prison. He was released on licence in September 1994 and for the next few months lived in Edinburgh before moving back to the Falkirk area. It was only a matter of time before he struck again - and, tragically, his target was Lawrence Haggart. DIARY OF LAWRENCE'S MURDER FRIDAY March 15, 1996: Lawrence Haggart attends an under-18 disco in Denny with pals. 10.30pm: He returns home to Glenbervie Drive, Larbert. He settles down for a night in lounge after a row with brother Denis. 1.30am Saturday March 16: John Haggart awakes when he smells smoke and finds Lawrence badly injured and on fire. Sunday March 17: Lawrence dies. Convicted paedophile and arsonist Brian Beattie is quizzed but police fail to check his uncorroborated alibi. Monday March 18: Police search Haggart home for murder weapon. Nothing found. Friday March 22: Detective finds hammer in the kitchen which search team say was not there on previous visit. Saturday April 20: Lawrence's funeral at St Alexander RC Church, Denny. Service is attended by 500 people including Celtic first team squad, manager Tommy Burns and chairman Fergus McCann. November 1996. Det Supt Joe Holden orders fresh probe into the death. Friday August 22-24, 1997: Brian Beattie - in custody on unrelated charge - quizzed and confesses to killing Lawrence. Wednesday 13 May, 1998: Jury at High Court in Edinburgh returns guilty verdict. Beattie gets life, with minimum 15 years.
Footballer's murder inquiry report goes to police chief The Scotsman 11/08/1998 JOHN SMITH
AN INDEPENDENT report into the way police handled the murder inquiry of a 15-year-old Celtic youth player, Lawrence Haggart, was yesterday given to the Central Scotland Chief Constable, William Wilson. But its contents are not yet being made public. Mr Wilson disclosed that the report's author, James Mackay, assistant chief constable of Tayside Police, had advised him that it contained issues that had to be addressed by the regional procurator-fiscal at Dundee, and Central Police's Deputy Chief Constable, Mike Currie. "I appreciate the strong interest of the Haggart family, the public and the media in the report, and I am sorry that for legal reasons I am constrained from making its contents known," Mr Wilson said. "In the meantime, until I have had an opportunity to read and fully consider the contents of the report, and thereafter forward a copy to the regional procurator-fiscal, it would be inappropriate to comment further." Last night, Lawrence Haggart's father, Larry, from Dunipace near Falkirk, said: "The fact that it is to go to the regional procurator-fiscal indicates just how serious the matter is, both in the way the inquiry was handled and the things that were done towards the family." He said he accepted that, because of the report's size, the range of matters to be considered and the fact it was going to the regional fiscal, it could not be made public right away. "But if there is any thought of not making it public eventually, I will make sure it is." Mr Haggart predicted that several officers involved in the initial inquiry would have to leave the force as a result of the report. In May a convicted paedophile, Brian Beattie, was given a life sentence, with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 15 years, for murdering Lawrence. The dead teenager's family was fiercely critical of the way in which the murder inquiry was handled, with suspicion falling on Lawrence's brother, Dennis, then 12, and also on his older brother, John, 17. Mr Haggart said the first inquiry, led by Det Supt Jim Winning, was a "terrible botch-up". Beattie was pulled in for questioning within hours of Lawrence being attacked. But he was released after claiming he had been in Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, and had picked up a man for sex before returning to his caravan at Denny. He was not questioned again until a year later. The Haggart family is suing Central Scotland Police for insisting that Dennis, and possibly John, had attacked Lawrence in their home.
Detective in botched murder inquiry suspended Scotland on Sunday 16/08/1998 By Colin Macfarlane
A POLICE officer has been suspended from duty after an internal investigation by Central Scotland Police into the handling of the murder of schoolboy footballer Lawrence Haggart. The suspension was announced just days after it emerged that a report on the inquiry had been completed and was being studied by prosecution officials. The inquiry was ordered after Brian Beattie, 33, was jailed for life in May for the murder of 15-year-old Celtic footballer Lawrence Haggart at the youngster's home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. Beattie murdered the youngster in March 1996. He was interviewed early on in an initial police investigation, but was ruled out as a suspect. The focus then fell on Lawrence's 12-year-old brother Dennis. It was only after a second investigation that Beattie was charged. In a statement yesterday, deputy chief constable Mike Currie confirmed that an officer had been suspended from duty, adding: "It would be inappropriate to either identify the officer concerned or make any further comment at this time." Last week, Central Scotland's chief constable William Wilson said the review of the case, which had been requested by Tayside assistant chief constable James MacKay, had been completed. He said: "Mr MacKay has advised me that his report contains issues which will require to be addressed by the regional procurator-fiscal and the deputy chief constable. He acknowledged the "strong interest" of the dead boy's family and the public in the report and went on: "I am sorry that for legal reasons I am constrained from making its contents known." After Beattie was jailed Lawrence's family started legal action against the force for defamation and for the stress the case had caused. The court The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Beattie, a convicted paedophile, broke into the Haggarts' house while Lawrence was sleeping on a couch in the living room and attacked him. After the attack, Lawrence was found in the room with his legs in the flames of a fire set by his killer. He had catastrophic head injuries and his shoulder had been bizarrely mutilated. Beattie was arrested within hours of the murder, but gave an alibi saying he had been in Edinburgh to meet a man for sex and had returned straight to his caravan in Denny. He was released and not questioned again by the team led by Detective Superintendent Jim Winning. It was only when the case was reviewed by a fresh team, led by Winning's replacement, Joe Holden, that attention again focused on Beattie. Holden's team ruled out the possibility that Dennis or his elder brother John might have attacked Lawrence. Beattie was taken in for further questioning and eventually admitted the murder.
Father calls for police sackings The Herald 17/08/1998 THE father of murdered teenager Lawrence Haggart yesterday called for police chiefs to sack all the senior officers involved in the original inquiry into his son's death. The call by Mr Larry Haggart, 38, came a day after Central Scotland Police suspended a senior officer for his role in the first investigation which allowed killer Brian Beattie, 33, to walk free just hours after the murder. Detective Inspector John Bunyan was part of the inquiry team which failed to connect Beattie to the death of Lawrence Haggart,15, at his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, in March 1996. The officer, who has been with the force for 29 years, was suspended after it was revealed a report commissioned by Tayside assistant chief constable James Mackay into the inquiry would be examined by prosecutors. And speaking yesterday from his home in Dunipace, near Falkirk, the dead boy's father said he would never forgive the police for their handling of the first investigation. Mr Haggart explained his son Denis ,14, was harassed for more than a year as the main suspect for the murder before Beattie was eventually caught. He said he believed there were four officers at fault during the inquiry which was led by Detective Superintendent Jim Winning. He said: "I'm looking for four officers who did not do their job properly to be kicked out of the force. The first inquiry team was shocking, it was a disgrace." The report into the handling of the case, which was handed over to Central Scotland Chief Constable William Wilson last week, is believed to be highly critical of a number of senior officers involved in the original inquiry. Officers in charge allowed Brian Beattie, who was jailed for the murder in May, to walk free after interviewing him within hours of the murder in 1996. And it was not until after a fresh team was appointed that Beattie was eventually tracked down and convicted of the murder. Four police officers were believed to be facing suspension after the contents of the report were studied at the force headquarters in Stirling. But a terse statement from Central Scotland Police revealed only one officer had been suspended. Deputy chief constable Mike Currie said yesterday: "Having considered the contents of assistant chief constable Mackay's report into the handling of the Lawrence Haggart murder investigation, I have now suspended one serving Central Scotland Police officer from duty." Beattie, a known paedophile, was jailed for life for the murder of Lawrence Haggart, who was a young Celtic and Scotland footballer.
Police may halt officer's retirement The Scotsman 21/08/1998 JOHN SMITH
A POLICE force is trying to prevent a senior officer retiring early on health grounds following criticism in an independent inquiry over the way he conducted a murder investigation. The Scotsman has learned that a further three officers from Central Scotland Police are to face disciplinary proceedings over their involvement in the hunt for the killer of Lawrence Haggart, the 15-year-old Celtic youth player. The move follows the weekend suspension of the second in command of the initial investigation, Inspector John Bunyan, following delivery of the inquiry report, compiled by James Mackay, deputy chief constable of Tayside Police. Mike Currie, the deputy chief constable of the Central, is understood to be taking legal advice over the case of Chief Inspector Jim Winning, who led the initial murder inquiry. Chief Insp Winning, who is in his late 40s, has been advised by both his GP and the force's own medical officer that he should retire immediately on health grounds. Mr Currie is seeking to block this until any disciplinary proceedings have been completed. Last week Scottish Office ministers promised to close a loophole that allows charges against police officers facing disciplinary proceedings to be dropped if they are pensioned off early on health grounds. A spokesman for the Scottish Office added: "Ministers recognise and share public concern about a any case where a police officer can retire on the grounds of ill-health before disciplinary proceedings are completed." Chief Insp Winning has been on sick leave since before the High Court case in May in which Brian Beattie was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment for the murder of Lawrence Haggart at his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. The officer was excused giving evidence on medical grounds. The officer was in charge of the initial investigation that saw Beattie, a convicted paedophile who previously had sexually assaulted a number of young males in their own homes as their families slept, brought in for questioning within hours of the savage attack. Beattie was released after he gave an alibi that he had been in Royal Terrace in Edinburgh, and had picked up a man for sex before returning straight to his caravan at Denny. Suspicion then fell on Lawrence's younger brother Dennis, then 12, and his older brother John, 17. The family is now suing the force for defamation and stress. Beattie was subsequently charged, more than a year later and following a fresh investigation by a different team of detectives, led by Detective Chief Inspector Joe Holden. After Beattie's conviction, William Wilson, the Chief Constable of the Central Police, ordered the independent inquiry into his force's handling of the murder investigation. Lawrence's father, Larry Haggart, claimed at the time that the first inquiry had been a "terrible botch-up", and said the initial inquiry team had made the family's life a misery by insisting that Dennis, and possibly John, had attacked their brother. After Mr Mackay handed over his report two weeks ago, Mr Wilson disclosed that it contained "certain issues" which would needed to be addressed by the regional procurator-fiscal at Dundee The report has now been passed to the Crown Office for consideration by counsel over whether it contains anything of a criminal nature. When he announced he had received Mr Mackay's bulky report, Mr Wilson said that while he appreciated the strong interest from the Haggart family, the public and the media, he was constrained "for legal reasons" from making its contents known. During his investigation, Mr Mackay spoke to officers involved in both inquiries, and also to the Haggart family. It is known that he looked at the issue of resources allocated to the first inquiry which began three days after the Dunblane massacre at a time when the resources of Scotland's second smallest force were severely stretched. Mr Haggart said yesterday that as far as he was concerned, four officers involved in the initial inquiry should be required to leave the force. He said that if Chief Insp Winning, of whom he has been particularly critical, was able to escape possible disciplinary proceedings through early retirement on health grounds, he would be "very unhappy". Mr Haggart added: "For the trouble, heartache and stress both Winning and Buyan caused my family, and particularly Dennis, they should both be sacked." Last night a spokeswoman for Central Scotland Police said it would be "inappropriate" to comment at present in the case of Chief Insp Winning. She confirmed that a further three officers were to face disciplinary proceedings. None had been suspended.
Haggart case detectives back in uniform The Scotsman 22/08/1998 JOHN SMITH
TWO detective sergeants from Central Scotland involved in the heavily criticised investigation into the murder of the Celtic youth player Lawrence Haggart have been returned to uniformed duties. Alan Stewart, who is stationed at Falkirk, and Bob Beveridge, at Grangemouth, along with another officer, face disciplinary proceedings in the wake of an independent inquiry into the way the murder hunt was handled. The Scotsman disclosed yesterday that Mike Currie, the Deputy Chief Constable, had decided to take action against the three detectives, none of whom has been suspended. It was disclosed that Mr Currie was taking legal advice to see if the detective chief inspector who led the initial investigation, Jim Winning, now a superintendent, could be prevented from retiring early on health grounds prior to any disciplinary proceedings. At the weekend, the second-in-command of the inquiry, Inspector John Bunyan, was suspended. The independent inquiry is now being studied by the Crown Office. The initial inquiry team questioned convicted paedophile Brian Beattie over 15-year-old Lawrence Haggart's murder, then released him after he gave an alibi that he had been in Edinburgh and had sex with a man he picked up. Beattie was detained over a year later, and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years at the High Court in Edinburgh in May.
Haggart inquiry leader escapes censure after retiring The Scotsman 26/08/1998 JOHN SMITH
A SENIOR police officer who was criticised in an independent inquiry into a murder investigation will escape disciplinary action by taking early retirement on health grounds. In an unprecedented move by a Scottish force, Central Scotland Police had sought ways of preventing Superintendent Jim Winning leaving before he faces disciplinary proceedings. But yesterday, Mike Currie, the Deputy Chief Constable, was legally advised this was not possible. Last night, Larry Haggart, the father of the murdered 15-year-old Celtic youth star Lawrence Haggart, said he was very angry Mr Winning would not be called to account for the way in which he handled the original inquiry into the murder. Mr Haggart said: "He shouldn't be allowed to sneak away without answering any questions. If it comes to it, I would be prepared to bring a private prosecution against Supt Winning if the Crown Office decides not to take any action." An independent inquiry by James Mackay, the Assistant Chief Constable of Tayside Police, was ordered by William Wilson, the Chief Constable of Central, into the handling of the first murder investigation. Mr Wilson said it contained "certain issues" which needed to be addressed by the regional procurator-fiscal at Dundee. The report is now with the Crown Office. Late yesterday, Mr Currie issued a terse statement, which read: "I can confirm that Supt James Winning is to retire from Central Scotland Police." Mr Currie has been locked in talks with legal advisers for several days to see if anything could be done to prevent Supt Winning taking early retirement on medical grounds, as recommended by both his own GP and the force's medical officer. It is understood both Mr Currie and Mr Wilson are deeply unhappy Mr Winning has been able to escape any form of censure over his handling of the murder investigation , which was taken over by a fresh team. Earlier this month, Scottish Office ministers promised to close a loophole that allows charges against police officers facing disciplinary proceedings to be dropped if they are pensioned off early on health grounds. A Scottish Office spokesman said: "Ministers recognise and share public concern about a any case where a police officer can retire on health grounds before disciplinary proceedings are completed." The second-in-command in the initial murder investigation , Inspector John Bunyan, was suspended ten days ago following Mr Mackay's independent inquiry . On Friday, the force announced that disciplinary proceedings had begun against a further three detectives involved in the heavily criticised first operation to track down Lawrence's murderer. It is understood that two of the detectives, Sergeant Alan Stewart, who is stationed at Falkirk, and Sergeant Bob Beveridge at Grangemouth, have already been moved from plain clothes to uniformed duties. Within hours of the assault in March 1996 on Lawrence in his home at Larbert, Stirlingshire, Mr Winning's inquiry team questioned a convicted paedophile, Brian Beattie. Beattie, who had a record of sexually motivated attacks on a number of young males while they slept in their homes in the Falkirk area, was released after he gave an alibi that he had been in Royal Terrace in Edinburgh, and had picked up a man for sex, before returning to his caravan at Denny. Suspicion then fell on Lawrence's younger brother, Dennis, then 12, and his older brother John, 17. The family is now suing Central Scotland Police for defamation and stress. More than a year later, Beattie was charged after the fresh investigating team was brought in. At the High Court in Edinburgh in May, Beattie was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years for the murder. Mr Winning, who is in his late forties, went off sick a short while before the trial, and was excused from giving evidence on medical grounds. He has since been on sick leave .
Family of murder victim get apology The Scotsman 09/10/1998 JOHN SMITH
A SENIOR policeman apologised to the family of the murdered teenager Lawrence Haggart yesterday for mistakes made by his force in their investigation. Mike Currie, depute chief constable of Central Scotland police, said that the Haggart family expected, and should have received, a much better performance from the force after Lawrence, 15, a Celtic youth player, was murdered in March 1996. The initial inquiry team focused their attention on Lawrence's brothers Dennis, then 12, and John, 17, after turning their attention away from a convicted paedophile, Brian Beattie. Beattie gave an alibi that he had been in Edinburgh and had picked up a man for sex and had then returned to his caravan at Denny in Stirlingshire. He was charged 18 months later after a fresh inquiry, and in May at the High Court in Edinburgh he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years for the murder of Lawrence in his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire. Mr Currie met Lawrence's mother Janet, 39, and her two sons yesterday, and then met Mrs Haggart's estranged husband Larry, 38. He said he had explained what action he had taken in line with recommendations in the report into the force's handling of the murder hunt by James Mackay, Tayside's assistant chief constable. He had also addressed the family's individual concerns over how the investigation was conducted. Mr Currie said he had apologised to the family, on behalf of the force, "for the actions of any of our officers who heightened their distress at what can only be described as an inconceivably tragic time of their lives. "Lessons have been learned by the force and steps have been taken to ensure that the mistakes which were made in this case are not repeated." After a half-hour meeting with Mr Currie, Mr Haggart said he was "very happy" with the apology, but pledged to continue the family's legal action against the force for stress and defamation. Mrs Haggart, John and Dennis left police headquarters in Stirling without commenting. In August, The Scotsman disclosed that Mr Currie, who is responsible for all disciplinary matters in the force, had taken legal advice over the possibility of preventing Jim Winning, the detective superintendent who led the initial inquiry, from retiring early on health grounds. He was told he could not stop Mr Winning's retirement, which ensured that the officer escaped any disciplinary action. Only days earlier the Scottish Office promised to close a loophole that allowed charges against police officers facing disciplinary proceedings to be dropped if they are pensioned off early on health grounds. The second-in-command in the initial Haggart murder inquiry, Det Inspector John Bunyan, was suspended in August after Mr Mackay's report, and three other sergeants disciplined. Two of them were detectives and have been transferred to uniformed duties. After he received Mr Mackay's report, Central's chief constable William Wilson disclosed that it contained "certain issues" which would need to be addressed by the regional procurator-fiscal at Dundee. The report was then passed to the Crown Office for consideration by counsel over whether it contained anything of a criminal nature. A Crown Office spokesman said that the report was still being considered by Crown Counsel. Mr Haggart said last night that Mr Currie had done "a great job" but he felt the apology should have been made by the officers who made the mistakes. He called for them to be sacked for the agony they had put the family through. The apology by the force to the Haggart family is the latest by police to wronged parties. In August, John Orr, Strathclyde's chief constable, apologised to a former officer, Lawrence Ramadas, who was the victim of racism. Mr Ramadas has rejoined the force. In June the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, apologised to the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. He admitted that the force could not justify errors made in their investigation.
Paedophile appeals over murder of young footballer The Herald 12/01/1999
THE paedophile serving a life sentence for the murder of young football hopeful Lawrence Haggart yesterday appealed against his conviction. Brian Beattie alleges that his trial judge Lord Dawson made crucial mistakes in his handling of the case in the High Court in Edinburgh in May last year. Beattie, 34, of Falkirk, who is currently in Peterhead Prison, claims the judge allowed certain evidence that was inadmissible. He also claims Lord Dawson misdirected the jury in his summing-up at the end of the four-week trial. His grounds for appeal were lodged at the High Court by his legal team led by solicitor Mr Paul Telford. The Falkirk-based lawyer said the grounds for appeal included "information that was brought to our attention after the trial". The appeal will be heard in due course by three High Court judges. When he sentenced Beattie to life, Lord Dawson recommended that he served at least 15 years for his "brutal and ferocious" crime. He told Beattie: "I regard you as an extreme danger to the public." Beattie had previous convictions for sex offences against teenage males. Celtic youth footballer Lawrence Haggart was 15 when he was murdered at his home in Larbert, Stirlingshire, almost three years ago. The original investigation by Central Scotland Police's CID team allowed Beattie to walk free just hours after the killing. It then focused on the footballer's brother, Denis, 12, for more than a year. After a new CID squad brought Beattie to justice the force apologised to the Haggart family. Lawrence's father Mr Larry Haggart, a painter and decorator of Dunipace, said he would never rest until every officer in the first investigation was sacked. The man who led the first inquiry, Detective Superintendent Jim Winning, retired on ill health grounds with a full pension. Two Detective Sergeants in his squad - Alan Stewart and Bob Beveridge - were disciplined and demoted to uniform duties. Winning's number two, Detective Inspector John Bunyon, now faces a disciplinary hearing into his part in the original inquiry. Mr Bunyon was suspended last August after Tayside Police investigated the first inquiry.
Anger at Haggart inquiry secrecy Daily Record 09/04/1999
POLICE are to keep secret the findings of a disciplinary hearing into a senior officer involved in the botched Lawrence Haggart murder inquiry. The Celtic starlet's angry father Larry said: "We will not be told the outcome, which is shocking. "It's all cloak and dagger stuff. They don't want us to know what went on." Central Scotland Police Inspector John Bunyan was second-in-command of the investigation into the attack that killed Lawrence, 15, at his home in Larbert, Stirling-shire in March, 1996. Detectives arrested the killer, Brian Beattie, within hours. But they released him, and made Lawrence's younger brother Denis a prime suspect. Beattie, 34, was only rearrested more than a year later after different detectives took over the case. Detective Superintendent Jim Winning, who led the original hunt, escaped punishment by retiring on health grounds. Mr Bunyan was suspended last August, and is appearing before a hearing chaired by Lothian and Borders Chief Constable Roy Cameron. Police say the results will not be made public, as it is an internal inquiry.
Killer's murder appeal rejected BBC News 04/11/2003
A man jailed for killing a 15-year-old budding football star has lost his appeal against the conviction. Appeal court judges in Edinburgh said they were satisfied that Brian Beattie had not suffered a miscarriage of justice at his trial. Beattie was jailed for life for the murder in 1996 of Celtic Boys' Club member Lawrence Haggart. After the judges announced their verdict the teenager's father, Larry, said he was "delighted" at the outcome. "We have been waiting seven years for this. We have been on tenterhooks. We were always on edge he would get out," he said. "I hope he stays where he is as long as possible and he is kept off the streets. We can now get on and grieve for Lawrence in peace," he said. Beattie was found guilty of the murder at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1998. He attacked the teenager in his own home in Larbert, in Stirlingshire, in March 1996 and bludgeoned him with an unknown weapon, seriously fracturing his skull, before setting fire to the body. Beattie, 39, had a criminal record which included sexual attacks on youths in their homes and the abduction of a teenager. Defence counsel Donald Findlay QC argued the critical questions in the trial were whether Beattie was the perpetrator and whether the direction of judge Lord Dawson to the jury was correct. The case against Beattie depended on whether the jury accepted the police evidence over what he allegedly said to them but which was not recorded on tape. The Lord Justice General, Lord Cullen, who heard the appeal with Lord Hamilton and Lady Cosgrove, said they had reservations over Lord Dawson's treatment of the police evidence and particularly the way he referred to the experience and seniority of certain officers. But the judges said that when they considered all the criticisms made they were not persuaded that the terms in which the trial judge directed the jury gave rise to a miscarriage of justice. Lord Cullen said the main issue was whether a statement of Beattie's was a true account of what he said or a complete fabrication. The senior judge said: "It is clear that this issue was put to the jury."
THE dad of a murdered soccer starlet believes police are still denying him vital information about the inquiry into his son's death. Lawrence Haggart was just 15 when he was killed in his Larbert home in March 1996. More than two years later, paedophile Brian Beattie was jailed for life for the horrific murder. But allegations that Central Scotland Police had badly handled the initial investigations into Lawrence's death, including focusing on his brothers Denis and John, who were aged 12 and 16, led to an inquiry by the then assistant chief constable of Tayside Police, James Mackay. Details of his report were never made public but this week, under the Freedom of Information Act, dad Larry Haggart (45) finally obtained a copy of the document. It contains a catalogue of blunders made by investigating officers, including: Faking entries in an official diary of the murder inquiry. Contaminating the crime scene and destroying evidence. Losing a possible murder weapon and ignoring another in the killer's car. However, sections of the report dealing with an alleged criminal probe against murder squad officers has not been released and Mr Haggart has made another request for this under the new act. Speaking from his Dunipace home, he said: "I've waited seven years for this. Now I know how Central Scotland Police messed up, but there are still questions to be answered. "I'm finding out things that I never knew. I always knew that they had mucked up but never that it was so severe.''
Larry (Lawrence's Father) Testimonial programme and Celtic side who played that day.
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