The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan - 1*

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'Dirty Rats' - Sunday Mail, 14 October 2007

Convicted paedophiles Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan are linked a number of times by the press to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. However, despite touring Spain, there remains no evidence they were ever in Portugal and a review of their criminal record reveals their sole intent was the predatory abuse of young boys.

This page covers the period up to June 2010 when the pair were found guilty of the murder of Allison McGarrigle, in June 1997, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The following page covers the period from 2011 when it was reported they were of interest to Scotland Yard, as part of their ongoing review of the case. To go to that page:
Click here

Horror of five boys lured by pervert pair, 19 June 1998
Horror of five boys lured by pervert pair Daily Mirror (paper edition)

Lads plied with drugs.

By Arnot McWhinnie
Jun 19, 1998


TWO evil perverts plied schoolboys with drink and drugs then played vile sex games with them.

Charles O'Neill, 35, and his cousin William Lauchlan, 21, shaved all the hair off one boy's body and threatened to gouge his mum's eyes out if he told of their sickening abuse.

At the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, they admitted a horrifying five year long catalogue of depravity involving five boys aged from 11 to 15.

The two men, who lived together in a cottage in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, committed the offences between March 1993 and January this year at rented properties in Rothesay, Largs and Skelmorlie which they used as sex dens.

Advocate depute Frances McMenamin accepted pleas of not guilty to charges involving another 10 boys aged between eight and 16.

The offences came to light when one of the victims watched a news bulletin about the case of Scott Simpson - the Aberdeen boy murdered by paedophile Steven Leisk.

The boy told his aunt: "I think it's terrible these people don't get sent away for very long."

Worried, she quizzed her nephew and the sordid story of his sex ordeal began to emerge.

The boy told how he got high on cannabis and drink, went to bed and was wakened by one of the men abusing him.

He told his aunt he said nothing before because he was terrified after the men told him they would: "Take your mum's face off and gouge her eyes out."

On one occasion the perverts laughed as they pushed the boy into a bath and cut off his pubic hair with scissors before shaving it with a razor along with hairs on his chest and stomach.

Before details of his ordeal emerged, the boy's mum became worried when his behaviour changed, he lost weight and started skipping school.

Earlier this year, while waiting for the case to come to court, he took an overdose of pills.

When the police investigated the boy's claims, they uncovered a string of other victims.

After their arrest, both O'Neill and Lauchlan were interviewed six times each and told police absolutely nothing.

Advocates Edgar Prais QC and Gary Allan, appearing for them, said they were ashamed and wished to express their regret to the boys and their families.

Judge Lord Eassie called for additional social inquiry reports on the pair and deferred sentence until July 9.

The court heard missing Largs mum Alison McGarrigle, 40, was to have been a witness if the men's case had gone to trial.

But blonde Mrs McGarrigle - said to have been in an agitated state - disappeared mysteriously just over a year ago and has not been seen since.

She didn't make any benefit claims after she vanished, fuelling fears that she may have been murdered and buried.

Police grill evil child sex duo over missing mum, 28 August 1998
Police grill evil child sex duo over missing mum Daily Mirror (paper edition)

By Arnot McWhinnie
Aug 19, 1998


TWO evil paedophiles are to be quizzed over the disappearance of a 40-year-old mum.

Sick Charles O'Neill, 35, and his cousin William Lauchlan, 21, were jailed yesterday after admitting plying young boys with drink and drugs before carrying out sick sex attacks.

And last night it emerged cops are to question the pair over the disappearance of Allison McGarrigle from Rothesay, who went missing last June after staying with O'Neill and Lauchlan in Largs, Ayrshire.

O'Neill, a former professional boxer, was jailed for eight years and Lauchlan got six years for sexual offences against six boys aged nine to 17.

One of the evil pair's victims said that when he went to bed one night, Mrs McGarrigle was there, and when he got up she had gone.

O'Neill and Lauchlan were brought to justice after another of their victims made a comment to his aunt as he watched a TV news broadcast about Aberdeen paedophile victim Scott Simpson.

Realising he too could have been abused, the aunt quizzed him, and learnt the truth.

Sentencing them, Lord Eassie said O'Neill and Lauchlan had taken advantage of the boys for their own gratification.

Afterwards the mother of one victim said: "The sentences are ridiculous. They should have got well into double figures. These men are evil."

Monsters on loose, 18 May 2003
Monsters on loose Sunday Mail (Scotland) (paper edition)

Notorious paedophile goes on run | His partner in crime is free tomorrow

EXCLUSIVE
By Norman Silvester
May 18, 2003


A NOTORIOUS paedophile has gone on the run after being ordered to return to prison.

Every force in Britain has been put on the alert for William Lauchlan, 26, who hasn't been seen for eight weeks.

Police believe he plans to join forces with his cousin and fellow paedophile Charles O'Neill, 40, who will be set free from Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow, tomorrow.

Lauchlan, of Largs, Ayrshire, was sentenced to six years in 1998 for a sadistic series of sex attacks on young boys. He was released after serving two thirds of his sentence.

But he breached parole conditions and was due to be returned to high security Glenochil Prison, Clackmannanshire, to continue his sentence.

When Lauchlan discovered he was to be sent back to jail, he went on the run.

He is understood to have told his lawyers he will not go back to prison.

O'Neill, also of Largs, was given eight years for his role in the same attacks.

Police fear he will team up with Lauchlan again this week and abuse more boys.

Both men are suspected of murdering mum-of-three Allison McGarrigle, 40, of Rothesay, in 1997 to stop her giving evidence against them.

No trace of her has been found and detectives have not ruled out foul play.

Allison's family are convinced she is dead and that her body has been dumped by both men, possibly in the Firth of Clyde.

Police carried out extensive searches of houses in Ayrshire and the island of Bute in their hunt for Allison's remains.

Lauchlan and O'Neill were questioned in 1998 over her disappearance but they have refused to co-operate with the inquiry.

O'Neill is said to have boasted to other prisoners at Peterhead Prison that Mrs McGarrigle had been "fed to the fishes".

The two perverts were moved to separate cells after their relationship became too "close" while at Peterhead.

Lauchlan was released from prison last year on condition he did not approach boys under the age of 17 or go near public parks, schools or playgrounds.

He was told to report to a social worker at least once a week. Police were also given the power to regularly check his home in Largs.

In March, an order was made to recall Lauchlan to jail after he was caught breaching most of the conditions.

The same parole conditions will apply to O'Neill when he is released tomorrow.

Both men are on the sex offenders' register.

O'Neill and Lauchlan were jailed for carrying out a five-year catalogue of depravity against six youngsters aged from 11 to 15.

Charges involving nine other children were dropped at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court heard the pair used drink and drugs to lure the boys into their sex dens in the towns of Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, Rothesay and Largs before raping and abusing them.

The two men, who shared a cottage in Skelmorlie, even shaved the hair off one boy's body.

A prison officer who guarded both men when they were inmates at Glenochil said: "They are both very disturbed individuals who are definitely a serious danger to boys of all ages.

"Even hardened offenders where sickened when O'Neill used to do drawings of boys being abused."

O'Neill had a string of convictions in Australia for armed robbery and is still wanted in connection with the attempted murder of a prison guard.

His criminal history had been known to Interpol since he returned to Scotland from Australia in 1987.

O'Neill started his abuse 11 years ago at a boxing club he ran in Ferguslie Park, Paisley. He repeatedly abused one of the club's members - an 11-year-old boy.

His brother Terry is wanted by police in Australia for involvement in an armed robbery and is also feared to have fled back to Scotland.

Last night, Strathclyde Police confirmed they were hunting William Lauchlan. A spokesman said: "We are trying to trace this man."

Perverts face life, 20 March 2005
Perverts face life Sunday Mail (Scotland) (paper edition)

Parole busters

Allison death suspects rapped for fleeing UK

By Norman Silvester
Mar 20, 2005


TWO prime suspects for the murder of Allison McGarrigle face life in prison for fleeing the country while on parole.

Paedophiles Charles O'Neill, 42, and William Lauchlan, 28, were released early after sex attacks on boys aged 11 to 15.

But the cousins, from Largs, fled to Spain. And last week they appeared in court and admitted failing to tell police they were leaving the country and breaking Sex Offenders Register rules.

They were sent back to prison to complete their sentences by Sheriff Iona McDonald - who then took the unusual step of referring them to the High Court for the breach of parole.

A sheriff can only sentence an offender for up to three years, while a High Court judge can order life.

The men will be sentenced in Edinburgh on April 4 for the parole offences.

Both men are suspects for the killing of mum Allison, who is believed to have been dumped at sea in a wheelie bin.

She vanished on June 20, 1997, before she was due to give evidence in court against the paedophiles.

Allison was last seen in the seaside town of Largs, where she lived with her teenage son, Robert.

O'Neill is said to have admitted he killed her and fed her remains 'to the fishes'.

Last month, police launched a fresh search for her body after being told where it had been dumped at sea off the Ayrshire coast.

O'Neill was originally jailed for eight years and Lauchlan for six years in 1998 for a five-year campaign of sexual abuse against six boys aged between 11 and 15 at a cottage in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire.

Lauchlan was freed on licence in February 2002 and O'Neill was released in May 2003. The Sunday Mail then revealed that they had gone on the run to Alfaz del Pi, near Benidorm, where they sold timeshares and worked in a bar.

But a prison officer who knew both men from Peterhead jail was on holiday in Benidorm, recognised O'Neill in the street and told the police.

O'Neill was arrested and extradited, while Lauchlan returned to Scotland of his own will.

In Spain both men had been quizzed about the disappearance of a 16-year-old local boy.

Last night, one senior court official said: 'These are very serious offences and the courts want to set an example. Both men are clearly a danger to the public and could get a life sentence because they fled to Spain and because of a strong risk of re-offending. 'The courts will also want to send out a clear message that the Sex Offenders Register must be complied with.'

Anyone on the Sex Offenders Register must immediately notify either the police or social work of any change of address.

They must also report to either their parole officer or local police station at least once a week.

Lauchlan and O'Neill, a former professional boxer, were first questioned about Mrs McGarrigle's disappearance in 1997.

O'Neill is said to have told inmates in Peterhead jail after his conviction in 1998 that Allison had been 'fed to the fishes'.

He has a string of convictions in Australia for armed robbery and is still wanted in connection with the attempted murder of a prison guard.

His brother, Terry, is wanted by police in Australia for involvement in an armed robbery.

He is also believed to have returned to Scotland.

A police spokesman said: 'We believe that there is a very high percentage chance of success in finding Allison, thanks to the new technology.

'We believe that her body was disposed of in the sea in some form of container and we are confident it will be found within the search area.'

Dirty rats, 14 October 2007
Dirty rats Sunday Mail (Scotland) (paper edition)

'Dirty Rats' - Sunday Mail, 14 October 2007

Child abusers linked to murder pose as cleaning experts at family holiday homes

By Billy Paterson
Oct 14 2007


TWO prime murder suspects are posing as directors of a firm that cleans family holiday homes in the island of Gran Canaria.

Paedophiles Charles O'Neill, 44, and William Lauchlan, 30, fled Scotland when they were released from prison last year.

We can reveal they now run Rainbow Cleaning Services on the Canary Island where unsuspecting parents of young children let them into their holiday homes.

O'Neill calls himself a "forensic cleaner" and a member of the British Institute of Cleaning.

Last night a spokesman for the BIC said no one with that name was registered with them.

The former boxer was jailed for eight years and his cousin, Lauchlan sentenced to six years in 1998 for abusing six boys aged between 11 and 15.

One key witnesses was to have been mum-of-three Allison McGarrigle, who once stayed with O'Neill and Lauchlan at their home in Largs, Ayrshire.

The 40-year-old, of Rothesay, Isle of Bute disappeared 10 years ago and has not been seen since.

In April 2005 both men appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court charged with her murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice by disposing of her body.

O'Neill was alleged to have boasted to fellow inmates at Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison and Peterhead jail he had killed Allison and fed her "to the fishes".

But the Crown never brought the case to court after "very careful consideration" of the evidence.

When they were released from prison for the child abuse offences O'Neill and Lauchlan broke their parole conditions by fleeing to the Spanish resort of Benidorm.

They were arrested in 2004 and returned to Scotland to serve the rest of their sentences. O'Neill was released in November last year, a month after Lauchlan.

Elizabeth Marshall, a Largs councillor, was a member of Victim Support at the time the paedophiles' offences came to light and counselled one of their victims.

She said last night: "That victim said his life was ruined by these two.

"They spiked drinks and drugged and threatened victims saying the same fate would befall their mothers as had happened to Alison McGarrigle and that they would be fed to the fishes.

"It is very disturbing people like that are running a business where they have access to young children.

"I will alert the police here and hopefully they will pass it on to the authorities in the Canary Islands."

An advertising feature for Rainbow Cleaning Services on the Canary Islands Round Town News site states: "William and Charlie have invested a lot of time and money and recruited and personally trained their staff.

"This is a polished service (no pun intended) with a professional image to boot.

"Charlie is a former environmental health officer who trained in the UK and is a registered member of the British Institute of Cleaning Science.

"William is a forensic/industrial cleaner and the inhouse trainer of staff."

When the Sunday Mail first contacted Rainbow Cleaning Services we were told neither O'Neill or Lauchlan was available.

When we made a second call we were told they had sold the firm three weeks ago.

Last night a senior police source said that the Allison McGarrigle case remained open.

He added: "These inquiries are never closed and are pursued if any new information comes to light."

Scots Pair Probed Over Missing Boy, 28 October 2007
Scots Pair Probed Over Missing Boy Sunday Mail

By Prime Suspects
Oct 28 2007


TWO paedophile murder suspects are being investigated over the disappearance of a boy on the island of Gran Canaria.

Yeremi Vargas, seven, vanished in March from Vecinardio – where child sex abusers Charles O'Neill, 44, and William Lauchlan, 30, have set up home.

After the Sunday Mail revealed the pair had moved into the town, police have focused the Yeremi inquiry on them.

The fiends were once charged with  murdering a woman due to give evidence against them.

O'Neill and Lauchlan, who have both served jail sentences in Scotland for  prolonged abuse of young boys, run a cleaning business, Rainbow Cleaning Services, in Gran Canaria.

Our story exposed how unsuspecting parents were letting the perverts into their holiday homes.

A police source on the island said  yesterday: "These men are under investigation. It's natural that any known paedophiles would be looked at in the disappearance of a young boy."

Former boxer O'Neill was jailed for eight years and Lauchlan for six years for subjecting six boys aged between 11 and 15 to systematic abuse over five years.

The pair, formerly of Largs, Ayrshire,  were also charged with the murder of  mum-of-three Alison McGarrigle, from Rothesay, Bute, who disappeared in 1997.

She was due to give evidence against them on the child sex charges.

The murder charge was made after O'Neill allegedly boasted he had killed Alison, 40, and fed her remains "to the fishes". But the case was never brought to trial.

Expats and holidaymakers on Gran Canaria were shocked when we revealed the pair's presence on the island.

Resident Neil Phillips said: "When these two arrived, I knew something wasn't right.

"One teenage guy left their business after a few months because he wasn't comfortable with some of the suggestions they were making to him."

Another resident, Stefan Marsh, said: "Many who have read the article, including people who live here as well as holidaymakers have been alarmed."

No one was available for comment from the Yeremi Vargas inquiry team on Gran Canaria.

Strathclyde Police say the Alison McGarrigle case remains open.

Jeremy Vargas' mum tells how he vanished like Madeleine McCann, 15 February 2008
Jeremy Vargas' mum tells how he vanished like Madeleine McCann Daily Mirror

15 Feb 2008 00:00

EXCLUSIVE Jeremy Vargas vanished just eight weeks before Madeleine McCann.

Ithaisa Suarez

Abandoned in the gutter of the quiet street, the little yellow bucket could have been dropped by any small child or harassed mum.

But for Ithaisa Suarez, the toy meant something much more significant - it was the last link to her little boy. A final reminder of the moments before seven-year-old Jeremy disappeared.

He went missing just eight weeks before Madeleine McCann while he was playing outside his home in Gran Canaria.

Now police in Spain and Portugal are trying to link the cases of various missing children to that of Maddy, including Jeremy's.

His mother is convinced there must be a connection and hopes to finally get answers about her son's case, almost a year after he disappeared.

Ithaisa, 24, vividly remembers the last time she saw her son. "I came back from the shops with my mother and saw Jeremy playing alone, filling his yellow bucket with soil as he liked to do. I said 'come in because we are having lunch soon'.

"But he stayed a little longer and when we went to call him in a minute later he had gone.

"When we realised he was gone we all went screaming in the streets, we rang doorbells of neighbours to see if he was there and more people came down to join in the search until there were 100 of us.

"We found his yellow bucket in the gutter behind the house. And since then... nothing."

Portuguese police have maintained total silence on their investigations since Madeleine went missing in May 2007 from her Algarve holiday apartment in Praia de Luz.

But their Spanish counterparts - a 15-strong team from Madrid - have now confided to Jeremy's mother that they have been liaising with the Portuguese authorities on a theory that child traffickers may have targeted both children - and others.

Portuguese police have often been portrayed as unsympathetic to the McCanns because of the legal technicality whereby they remain "arguidos" by virtue of the fact they cannot be ruled above all suspicion. But this latest revelation proves police on the Algarve still take seriously the possibility that child snatchers took Maddy to sell or pass around paedophile rings.

In her first-ever full interview, Jeremy's mum spoke of the striking similarities between the cases and her belief that both children may still be alive.

She was the first mother in similar circumstances to write movingly to Gerry and Kate McCann.

They in turn included the campaign to find Jeremy - known popularly locally as "Yeremi" - in a symbolic balloon release all over Europe last July.

Ithaisa was a single parent at 16 and Jeremy's biological father was just 14 when he was born.

And she has so far been represented in the Spanish media by her older sister Milagros, 35, and her mother Herminia, 54.

Ithiasa, her left eye inflamed from sleepless tearful nights, refuses to believe her son is dead since he vanished on March 10, 2007.

Now she wants to meet the McCanns and the parents of missing Mari Luz Cortes from Huelva, Spain, to draw international attention to their plight. Ithiasa said at her home in Vecindario, 20 miles south of Las Palmas: "It is not even a year since my son went missing and already I have noticed that people in Spain are not paying so much attention to our battle to find him.

"We have printed 100,000 calendars with his picture and our number on and they have been circulated all over the Canary Islands and Spain - yet interest is still starting to fade.

"The case of Madeleine has been huge internationally but the same thing may start to happen.

"We need to make sure people understand we have not given up on our children being found - and neither should anyone else.

"When we heard about Maddy we started crying here because we knew what they would go through because we were already in the middle of it. That's why we wrote to them.

"They have been going through hell, not only losing their daughter but they have also been accused." Ithaisa has tried to get off the high-dose tranquillisers that kept her on her sofa for months inconsolable, in order to look after Jeremy's younger brother two-year-old Aidan.

The toddler still kisses the pictures of Jeremy which dot their home like a shrine.

He disappeared from the other side of the kitchen wall, a few metres from aunts and grandparents preparing Saturday lunch.

Ithaisa's eyes cloud with tears as she visits the spot she last saw her son. Candles laid there on Christmas Eve are still untouched.

She said: "Over 2,000 have since helped us search, including the army, the civil protection, looking in 400 wells. We hoped every day he would be found but instead of him reappearing, more children have disappeared.

"They are all the same, no clues, no signs, only alone for a few minutes, no remains found. They are so similar they must have been organised in the same way.

"There have always been monsters harming children but usually the remains are found after some weeks or months. These cases are a new thing like an epidemic - a complete mystery in tiny windows of time with parents nearby.

"So many coincidences, too many for them to be random happenings.

"It's easy to move to Spain and Portugal from here - they could even be the same people behind these disappearances.

"Jeremy may still be here in the town. It only takes a cellar to keep a child hidden and this town has hundreds of cellars. Perhaps they are sold to families without children or to paedophiles. Either way, I believe my son and Maddy are still alive.

"These are not typical attacks on children they are different - and yet similar to each other."

The tears fall again as the young mum holds her son's shoe and cradles the Christmas present he wrote to Santa for and which still waits for him unopened.

She says: "I felt that if I didn't buy him a present it would be like I had given up on him. We have left his bedroom just as it was - waiting for his return.

"Christmas was horrible, we all went to bed at 8pm on Christmas Day to end the tension and sadness in sleep."

But while each day of waiting for news is torture for Ithaisa, she is worried that some people are mentally closing the case on her son. Just weeks ago, Marcos Rodriguez Cabrera, 37, was arrested for trying to kidnap local girl Sandra Dominguez.

For two horrible weeks it appeared Jeremy could have been incinerated at the animal crematorium where Cabrera worked.

But forensic tests have so far ruled that out and police have now told Ithaisa they are 95 per cent sure there is no link to her son's disappearance.

Ithaisa said: "Some people even started taking down the posters of my son around here because they were so sure the case had been solved and that he had met a macabre end at the crematorium.

"But they were trying to bury my son in their minds far too early. I have to believe he is still alive or my world collapses."

Until she gets answers, Ithaisa and her family can do little but wait. she adds: "My father still gets up in the night and sits on the balcony for hours looking down the street to see if Jeremy is being brought back.

"He says he would sell everything and give it all to whoever took him.

"There would be no revenge, we would forgive anything just to have him back, just to see Jeremy again."

Unsolved: Beasts on the loose, 10 Mar 2008
Unsolved: Beasts on the loose Daily Record (paper edition)

One word and we'll feed you to the fishes..just like Allison

Evil pair's sick warning to boys aged nine to 15 they drugged and abused

By Reg McKay
Mar 10, 2008


SHE took a short stroll down familiar streets. Friends and neighbours said hello and thought no more. But,as her journey began in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute , it would be the last time they saw her alive.

The tiny blonde mother was well known and popular on the island.

No one gave it a second thought as she walked to the ferry that would sail her across the Firth of Clyde to the mainland.

It was a trip most of them made regularly. Why shouldn't she?

Allison McGarrigle, 40, had separated from her husband Robert two years before. Sad but nothing unusual for 1997.

She had returned to her home town as many people do when an important part of their lives falls apart.

There's something comforting, reassuring in being among people you know.

After the ferry docked at Wemyss Bay, most folk turned left towards Glasgow.

Not Allison. She was heading to Largs to pay two cousins a visit.

An ordinary, everyday visit? Not with these two men. They had an interesting past and an evil present.

Charles O'Neill, then 34, and William Lauchlan, 20, were brothers who shared a flat in Waterside Street in Largs' town centre.

Even in summer when tourists swelled the population hoping for a sunny day at the seaside, Largs was a quiet, almost sleepy town.

Yet even in the most idyllic settings, horrors can happen behind closed doors.

Former professional boxer O'Neill was a wanted man. Not in Scotland but in Australia.

While living there, he had committed a string of armed robberies and had skipped the country two steps in front of the cops who wanted him for the attempted murder of a prison guard.

His neighbours in Largs knew nothing of his past.

In spite of having her own small home in Prospect Terrace in Rothesay, for some reason Allison was going to stay with her two cousins for a while.

No one knew why she moved or how long she intended to stay. Her family and friends didn't even know she had gone there.

Maybe she thought it more convenient for visiting her three children who lived with their father at Kilmacolm.

Maybe. But it never became clear for they never saw their mother again.

Though separated, Allison and her husband were on good terms, keeping in touch and putting the children's needs first.

Everyone knew she was devoted to her kids and when she didn't keep in touch they knew something was badly wrong.

O'Neill and Lauchlan were saying nothing about it and with good reason. There were a few other things the brothers weren't saying either. In 1998, O'Neill and Lauchlan were arrested and charged with a string of sex offences against boys aged from nine to 15.

Only then did Allison's disappearance become known.

In February, her daughter Elizabeth made a heartbreaking public appeal for her mother to get in touch. Nothing.

Allison McGarrigle's family were now worried. Frantic.

Then the police got a phone call from a most unusual source - a prisoner at Barlinnie where the two men were on remand.

O'Neill had been talking too much about how he and Lauchlan had killed their cousin Allison and now she was "feeding the fish in Rothesay harbour".

Immediately the cops interviewed O'Neill and Lauchlan but - no surprise - they had gone silent.

A few months later, O'Neill and Lauchlan appeared in court over the sex crimes.

The first day's evidence outlined the number of boys they had abused by drugging their drinks and subjecting them to the most extreme forms of rape.

After one day's evidence, they changed their pleas to guilty on 21 counts of sex abuse.

O'Neill got eight years and Lauchlan six.

As the cops spread the network searching for Allison, O'Neill and Lauchlan got on with their sentences.

Had Allison simply decided to disappear? Or were the two men capable of murder?

The cops certainly thought so.

With the abusers safely locked up, their victims took courage and began to tell trained counsellors even more of their ordeals.

It soon became apparent that O'Neill and Lauchlan had planned and targeted each victim carefully, drugged them and perpetrated the most extreme abuses.

In the months before they were arrested, they would even warn the terrified kids that, if they told anyone, the same would happen to their mothers as had happened to Allison - they'd be fed to the fishes.

O'Neill and Lauchlan were capable of sexual abuse, cruelty and terror. It was a small step from there to murder.

To those who loved her, it must have seemed that nothing was happening for years in the search for Allison McGarrigle. But the police were busy. Now convinced they were looking for a corpse, they had a hard task to deal with.

Around Largs is a wide expanse of Ayrshire countryside, woods and unused coal pits where a body could disappear forever.

Worse was its easy access to the sea. And the police believed that's where Allison had been dumped.

Some of the abused boys reported that O'Neill and Lauchlan said she had been dumped in the sea in a big plastic bucket.

When one fisherman reported pulling in a wheelie bin with his nets - a bin that was empty but smelled rank, smelled like death - they concentrated on that area, hoping to get a sample of Allison's DNA.

Then there was a scandal - the cops' two prime suspects had fled the country. It was 2004 and both paedophiles had been released from jail on parole.

For the remainder of their sentences, O'Neill and Lauchlan were to have been allowed to live in the community as long as they reported to their social workers regularly and stayed at the address they had given the authorities.

But O'Neill and Lauchlan had simply disappeared.

Two dangerous paedophiles and murder suspects were out there somewhere, living among unwary folk.

A full alert was issued with Wanted posters and the police used the media to issue descriptions of the pair.

No luck.

Then a prison warder took his family on holiday to Benidorm and spotted the now tanned fugitives.

***

WHILE in Spain, a 16-year old boy had disappeared and both men had been interviewed as suspects. Were they back to their old ways after such a short time?

They were hauled back to Scotland and thrown in jail.

If O'Neill and Lauchlan had quietly served their parole they would soon have been free of any restrictions. So, why did they abscond?

Were they terrified of being caught on murder charges?

The police now interviewed their captive suspects. Soon they were carrying out an underwater search around Millport for Allison's body and sonar searches in deeper waters. Still no joy - but the cops felt they had enough.

In April 2005, O'Neill and Lauchlan were formally charged with murdering Allison McGarrigle. Yet, a few months later, the Crown Office decided there was not enough evidence to convict the pair and the charges were dropped.

Allison McGarrigle's now grown-up children must have gone from great hope that they'd find out the truth about their mum to great despair.

The police kept working on Allison McGarrigle's case but an old problem had returned - their chief suspects were nowhere to be found.

Yet again, O'Neill and Lauchlan had disappeared in 2006, almost as soon as they had been released from prison. In 2007, they were spotted on the holiday island of Gran Canaria which is crowded with tourists and young children almost all year.

But the brothers weren't on holiday. They were on business.

They ran their own company called Rainbow Cleaning Services. Somehow, they had raised substantial funds to invest in the business and had conned local authorities about their training and qualifications.

They must have had eyes in the back of their heads. As soon as they were spotted, they sold up and disappeared again.

Where to this time? Back to Scotland? Another holiday island in the sun?

Wherever they are there will be young boys at risk and, all the while, a family in Scotland grieving for their mum.

It was obvious something had gone badly wrong when the loving mum didn't keep in contact.

Yeremi Case: Two Scottish paedophiles are suspected of the kidnapping, 11 August 2008

Charles O'Neill (left) and William Lauchlan (right)

Charles O'Neill (left) and William Lauchlan. Photograph from interviu.es - article published 11 August 2008.

The Civil Guard reinforce the Yeremi investigation with six experts from Madrid, 11 September 2008
The Civil Guard reinforce the Yeremi investigation with six experts from Madrid La Provincia

Ythaisa, mother of the child: "This is reassuring because if they are bringing in reinforcements it is because they are following a lead'

 
Ithaisa Suarez, Yeremi's mother, at her home in Vecindario, looking at newspapers and magazines on the case.

Ithaisa Suarez, Yeremi's mother, at her home in Vecindario, looking at newspapers and magazines on the case.

11 September 2008

MONTSE DE LEÓN ACUÑA - SANTA LUCÍA. The Civil Guard have reinforced their investigation into the child Yeremi Vargas, who disappeared eighteen months ago from Vecindario, with the addition of six new detectives from the Central Operations Unit (UCO) in Madrid.

The child's family say this brings to them some peace of mind, since even though the investigation is taking place in the most absolute secrecy "if they bring in reinforcements it is for something, because the ywant to follow a particular lead." Ithaisa Suarez, the mother of Yeremi, who would currently be eight years old, has not lost hope of finding her son alive despite the time elapsed. "I cannot forget what happened," she says, "because for a mother it is impossible; for me time is against me. In my case, I cannot say that time is forgotten, as I bear my son very much".

Ithaisa is still off work and receiving psychological treatment as well as some members of her family. "I know that many think we should have more help from the authorities ... I do not know ... but I cannot deny that the members of the UCO have always been very good to us and keep us informed at all times".

The family appreciates the tokens of affection and are still receiving support. "People do not forget that a child disappeared while playing outside his home like any other child and that nothing was heard from him; this story may not end well but I still think that my son may be alive."

INVESTIGATION. Yeremi's mother wants to highlight the interest and concern that the Mayor of the municipality of Santa Lucía, Silverio Matos, has always shown. "He is always in contact with us and cares about our situation; we greatlly appreciate that people don't forget Yeri, in the first months of the disappearance our street was filled; it's normal that people are not interested so much, but there should continue to be more investigations that are increasingly reinforced."

Ithaisa tries to ease the pain with the education of her other son, who was only able to enjoy his brother for just two months. Yet he can still mark out one of the many posters that are still retained in Vecindario and smile when he recognises Yeremi.

The artist's impression of a 'suspect' known as "Spotty Man", 07 May 2009

Suspect: An artist's impression of the man seen outside the McCanns' flat

Suspect: An artist's impression of the man seen outside the McCanns' flat

The artist's impression of a 'suspect' that appeared in many UK papers on 07 May 2009 and was seen by a prison officer at Barlinnie prison, who reported the image as being a likeness to Charles O'Neill (see Investigators to question Scottish suspect in McCann case, 28 June 2009 below).

Madeleine Hunt Targets Murder Suspect, 20 June 2009
Madeleine Hunt Targets Murder Suspect Sky News

11:03pm UK, Saturday June 20, 2009

Madeleine disappeared in 2007

Private detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann want to speak to a man who is currently on remand in a British jail, it has been revealed.

The man, who is accused of murder, is one of seven people the team hired by Madeleine's parents to hunt for the little girl hope to interview, a source confirmed.

Madeleine, from Rothley, Leics, was nearly four when she went missing while on holiday with her family in Portugal two years ago.

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: "A number of individuals remain as persons of interest to the Madeleine investigators.

"However, the investigators will not be naming or identifying any of those persons of interest.

"No competent investigation would be expected to do so whilst the inquiries continue."

Madeleine disappeared from Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3, 2007 while her parents Gerry and Kate McCann dined with friends nearby.

Despite a massive police investigation and huge publicity worldwide, she has not been found.

Exclusive: New key suspect in prison, 21 June 2009
Exclusive: New key suspect in prison Sunday Express

Sunday Express, 21 June 2009

By James Murray and Tracey Kandohla
Sunday June 21, 2009
 
DETECTIVES believe a man being held in a UK prison on a murder charge may hold vital information about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
They say he was in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on the day Madeleine vanished in May 2007, just before her fourth birthday.
 
The investigators working for the McCann family are now trying to build up an extensive picture of his movements in the Algarve resort at the time.
 
They are anxious to learn if he was staying near the McCanns' holiday apartment and if he had any contact with the family.
 
The astonishing development came in the wake of huge international publicity last month which included a televised reconstruction of Madeleine's disappearance and an emotional appeal for help from parents Kate and Gerry McCann.
 
The man in the spotlight cannot be identified for legal reasons because he is in jail accused of a murder which took place in this country.
 
Retired Detective Inspector Dave Edgar, who is heading the McCanns' investigation, would like to question him about his movements in Portugal but recognises that he may not get an opportunity to speak to him until after his trial.
 
The Sunday Express can reveal that he is one of seven potential suspects Mr Edgar is trying to rule in or out of his complex investigation.
 
He has recently been to Praia da Luz to try to check the alibi of a British paedophile who strongly resembles a the description of a man seen looking intently at the McCanns' apartment shortly before Madeleine disappeared.
 
The man, who lives permanently in Portugal, was interviewed by Portugese police two years ago because of his child-abuse past.
 
During intensive questioning he told detectives he was visiting the capital Lisbon when Madeleine was went missing on May 3.
 
To back up his alibi, he produced receipts showing he withdrew cash from ATM machines in Lisbon that day which he said proved he was hundreds of miles away at the relevant time.
 
However, Mr Edgar understands the man regularly stayed at an address in the Praia da Luz area during the summer and had once rented an apartment there.
 
He is trying to discover if there was any CCTV operating at the machines where the man withdrew the cash, which would conclusively prove he was in Lisbon at the time or whether someone else withdrew the money.
 
Confidential information on him was gathered by Portugese detectives who wrote several pages about him for their 14-volume dossier on the case.
 
However, their vital information on the potential prime suspect was among 100 pages withdrawn from the dossier just before it was released to the public last year.
 
He, too, cannot be identified for legal reasons, but he is said to bear close resemblance to the description of a man seen peering intently at the apartment where Madeleine was staying shortly before she vanished.
 
The news came as Kate and Gerry made a fresh appeal to travel firms and holidaymakers to help "increase the chance" of finding their daughter.
 
The doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, said yesterday: "We have recently been planning a summer campaign in the hope that holiday makers, travel companies and transport agencies will help us again in our search for Madeleine."
 
In their internet appeal Kate, 41, and Gerry, 40, wrote: "So far, things are looking promising and we will soon have 'travel packs' available via the website for anyone willing to help.
 
"We greatly appreciate the continued help and support we are receiving from the general public."
 
In Portugal a police officer who attended the kidnap scene on the night Maddie disappeared has been dramatically suspended over allegations of a suspicious 100,000 payment.
 
He and a colleague were widely criticised for failing to seal off the crime scene or keep people away, potentially destroying vital forensic clues.
 
The uniformed officer is now under investigation It is not yet known if the payment he allegedly received was in any way connected with the Madeleine investigation.

Maddie Suspect Link to Abducted Boy, 7, 25 June 2009
Maddie Suspect Link to Abducted Boy, 7 The Sun (paper edition only)
 
Tecs to quiz paedophile facing murder trial
 
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI
25 June 2009
 
A murder suspect due to be quizzed by detectives hunting Madeleine Mccann is a convicted paedophile being chased over another abduction.
 
Spanish police want to question the man over the disappearance of a boy of seven. Little Jermey Vargas vanished in 2007 just eight weeks before Maddie was snatched from her family's holiday flat in Portugal.
 
He was playing outside his home in the Canary Islands.
 
The new suspect, a middle-aged man, was living in Europe at the time under an assumed name. He is currently on remand in a British prison.
 
He is due to be tried over the alleged murder of a woman and is said to be facing other allegations linked to child abuse.
 
He was jailed for eight years in Britain in the 1990's for drugging and raping children aged between 11 and 15. But he went on the run and skipped the country after being released on parole.
 
And he was a free man when Jeremy and Maddie - age three at the time - disappeared.
 
The private detectives hunting Maddie put him on a "hit list" of suspects after learning he was being trailed by the Spanish cops.
 
A source said: The fact he is a paedophile wanted for questioning in the Vargas case makes him a "person of interest" to the Maddie team.
 
"His background and where he was living at the time Maddie vanished mean he has been identified as one of around seven suspects they feel should be urgently interviewed". Jeremy's disappearance was dubbed "Spanish Maddie" by the nation's press.
 
And the boy's mother Ithaisa Suarez, 24, revealed Spanish cops had contact with Portuguese police probing Maddie's abduction.
 
She wrote to Maddie's mum Kate of Rothley, Leics. And the two have stayed in touch.
 
Kate and husband Gerry have included information about the Jeremy case on their "Find Madeleine" website.
 
It is believed the Maddie detectives have asked bosses at the jail where the new suspect is being held if they can quiz him.

Investigators to question Scottish suspect in McCann case, 28 June 2009
Investigators to question Scottish suspect in McCann case DeadlineScotland

By Oliver Farrimond
28 June 2009


DETECTIVES are to question a Scottish suspect over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Private investigators working for the McCanns have confirmed that they want to question the man, who is currently awaiting trial for murder and child sex offences in Barlinnie prison in Glasgow.

Already wanted by Spanish police in connection with the disappearance of a German boy, the man was spotted by a prison officer at Barlinnie due to his likeness to a pencil sketch of the chief Maddie suspect.

The insider said: "This man looks like the Maddie suspect drawing that has been in the papers.

"He is also well known to have spent a lot of time in the Spanish region – staff at the prison want the investigation team to speak to him."

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, operated a cleaning firm for Spanish holiday homes when Maddie vanished in May 2007.

He is currently accused of murdering a 40-year-old woman from Ayrshire with an accomplice, reportedly because the pair feared she would report them for child sex abuse.

The woman went missing from Largs more than a decade ago, and the body has never been found.

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, confirmed that investigators were trying to contact the man.

He said: "The investigators currently searching for Madeleine are aware of this man and they do want to speak to him.

"Any credible information they receive is, of course, followed up as top priority."

Both men face further charges of sex abuse against children, child pornography and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Charged for a second time after the initial evidence was ruled insufficient, both lived in the Canary Islands and in Costa Blanca until being charged again last year.

Trial over missing Rothesay woman murder, 17 May 2010
Trial over missing Rothesay woman murder BBC News

Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 17:09 UK

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

Two men have gone on trial accused of killing a woman whose body has never been discovered.

William Lauchlan and Charles O'Neill deny killing Allison McGarrigle in Largs or elsewhere in June 1997 and dumping her remains in the sea.

It is alleged they abducted the 39-year-old over fears she would report them for abusing a young boy.

The trial before Judge Lord Pentland at the High Court in Glasgow is expected to last about five weeks.

It is alleged that Mr Lauchlan, 33, and Mr O'Neill, 47, murdered Mrs McGarrigle, of Rothesay, Isle of Bute, on 21 June 1997 at their flat in Waterside Street, Largs, or elsewhere.

'Concealing body'

They are said to have abducted her and detained her against her will before seizing hold of her neck and compressing her throat.

It is claimed they did so because Mrs McGarrigle was aware of "criminal sexual activity" they were involved in with a young boy and that they believed she was going to report it to the authorities.

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill also face an allegation of attempting to defeat the ends of justice between 21 June and 1 September 1997.

The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

They are accused of removing the mother-of-three's body to Largs Beach and concealing it under rocks.

It is said they later put her body in a bin and took it on a boat before throwing it into the sea.

Mr O'Neill has lodged a special defence incriminating Robert McGarrigle senior, the alleged victim's husband, as being responsible for her death.

Mr O'Neill also denies an allegation that he assaulted Elaine Mullan on 15 August 1996 in Rothesay.

It is claimed he repeatedly overtook a car that she and Mrs McGarrigle were in and repeatedly stopped in front of the vehicle causing Miss Mullan to take evasive action to avoid being struck.

He faces an alternative charge of culpable and reckless conduct in connection with the allegation.

The trial continues.

Husband's claim over missing Rothesay woman murder, 18 May 2010
Husband's claim over missing Rothesay woman murder BBC News

Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:47 UK

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

The husband of a woman allegedly killed by two men has claimed she would still be alive if they had not split up.

Robert McGarrigle told the High Court in Glasgow he "fell out of love" with wife Alison and they separated in 1994.

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan deny killing Mrs McGarrigle in Largs or elsewhere in 1997 and dumping her remains in the sea.

It is alleged they abducted the 39-year-old over fears she would report them for abusing a young boy.

Mr McGarrigle, 52, told the court his wife was a "very happy-go-lucky person" who never let anything get her down.

After they separated, Mrs McGarrigle later moved to Rothesay, Isle of Bute, while he remained in Glasgow.

Declared dead

The trial heard how she was reported missing by her estranged husband in February 1998.

Mrs McGarrigle's body has never been recovered and she was declared dead around 2005.

Mr McGarrigle was asked how he felt with regards what may have happened to her.

He told the jury: "If I had not left then my wife would be alive."

The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

He later admitted that he had been violent towards Mrs McGarrigle, but that she would "fight back" and throw things at him.

Mr McGarrigle denied being possessive, but claimed he had been "a wee bit controlling".

The trial also heard about a young boy that the McGarrigles knew.

Mr Lauchlan, 33, and Mr O'Neill, 47, are said to have been involved in "criminal sexual activity" with him.

Mr McGarrigle said he was aware the child had known men called Charlie and Willie.

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC asked him to "form an opinion what he (the boy) thought of them?"

Threat claim

Mr McGarrigle replied: "He actually thought they were good. He looked up to them."

Miss Bain also asked: "Concerned about the relationship?"

Mr McGarrigle answered: "I phoned but I don't recall when. I said that if I found something was wrong, I would phone the police."

The court later heard claims that Mr McGarrigle had threatened to kill one of the men.

The boy went missing for about three months in 1997 and was eventually discovered at a property in Largs, Ayrshire.

Mr McGarrigle said he was found "in a cupboard or something".

Miss Bain asked when he saw the boy if he opened up to Mr McGarrigle.

He replied: "No, he did not want to speak about anything."

Referring to Mr O'Neill's special defence incriminating him for the murder, Mr McGarrigle said: "I did not kill my wife at all."

The trial later heard that the boy allegedly abused by the accused regularly stayed with them and viewed the pair as "father figures".

The McGarrigle's daughter Elizabeth, who also knew the youngster, said he told her that Lauchlan and O'Neill had given him money.

Miss McGarrigle told the jury: "I heard Willie Lauchlan say that he was taking him into the room. I did not want that - he was only a wee boy. He did not say what he was going to do. I never saw anything sexual."

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of Mrs McGarrigle's body at sea.

Mr O'Neill also denies a charge of assault and an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

Murdered Rothesay woman 'feared' two men, 19 May 2010
Murdered Rothesay woman 'feared' two men BBC News

Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 15:07 UK

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

A woman presumed to have been killed before her body was dumped at sea was scared of two men called "Willie" and "Charlie", a court has heard.

Social worker Elaine Mullan told the High Court in Glasgow that Allison McGarrigle made the claim less than a year before she disappeared.

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan deny killing Mrs McGarrigle in 1997.

It is alleged they abducted the 39-year-old over fears she would report them for abusing a young boy.

The court heard that the alleged victim met with Ms Mullan in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, on 15 August 1996.

The social worker said Mrs McGarrigle was distressed and that it was "hard to grasp what she was saying".

She told the court that Mrs McGarrigle claimed she was in fear of two men and gave their names as "Willie" and "Charlie".

She later went that day in Ms Mullan's car to attend a meeting in Lochgilphead, Argyllshire.

The social worker told the jury: "Allison was very agitated. She then said that we were being followed by Charlie and Willie.

"The car was then very close to us as if trying to overtake. I was getting agitated while trying to drive."

Ms Mullan said at one point the other vehicle was "practically at my bumper".

She went on: "I was very concerned at what was happening. I saw the two men in my mirror. I was thinking 'why was this happening?'."

Special defence

Ms Mullan eventually drove to a local police station and reported what had happened.

She said "Charlie and Willie" also appeared and an inspector went out to speak to them.

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of Mrs McGarrigle's body at sea.

Mr O'Neill also denies a charge of assault and an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

He has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband Robert as being responsible for her death.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

Body disposal claim at Rothesay woman murder trial, 20 May 2010
Body disposal claim at Rothesay woman murder trial BBC News

Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:22 UK

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

One of two men accused of murdering a woman and dumping her body at sea inquired how long it would take for a body to come ashore, a court has heard.

Linda Buckley told the High Court in Glasgow that Charles O'Neill made the comment to her former boyfriend John Hutton, a merchant seaman.

Mr Hutton was said to be the uncle of Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan.

They deny killing Allison McGarrigle in 1997 to prevent her from reporting the abuse of a young boy.

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

The court heard how both accused were visited by John Hutton, said to be their uncle, at the flat they lived at in Wilson Street, Largs in 1997.

'Odd' question

Mr Hutton was accompanied by his then girlfriend Linda Buckley.

Ms Buckley, 51, claimed Mr O'Neill once made a comment which "seemed odd".

She told the court: "He said 'if you drop a body at sea, how long would it take for it to come to the shore'.

"I laughed and said 'I am not that bad, am I?'. It seemed to be made in a serious way. It was me that was trying to make a joke of it."

The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

Mr O'Neill's lawyer John Carroll suggested a comment stemmed from Mr Hutton claiming Ms Buckley had been nagging him and that he had spoken about throwing her overboard.

But Ms Buckley replied: "I had not been nagging John."

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain later asked if Mr O'Neill's comment was serious.

Ms Buckley said: "I could not see his face. It did not sound funny."

The trial also heard how police searched the flat in Wilson Street in September 1997 during a hunt for a missing boy.

Other charges

Mr O'Neill and Mr Lauchlan are said to have "engaged in criminal sexual activity" with the youngster.

Officers found the boy within a cupboard at the property.

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Mr O'Neill has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband, Robert, as being responsible for her death.

He also faces a charge of assault or an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

'Fed to fishes' claim at Rothesay woman's murder trial, 21 May 2010
'Fed to fishes' claim at Rothesay woman's murder trial BBC News

Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 15:20 UK

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

One of two men accused of murdering a woman and dumping her body at sea claimed she had been "fed to the fishes", a court has heard.

A man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the High Court in Glasgow that the comment from Charles O'Neill left him "chilled to the bone".

Mr O'Neill and William Lauchlan deny killing Allison McGarrigle in 1997.

It is alleged they abducted the 39-year-old to prevent her reporting the abuse of a young boy.

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

The male witness giving evidence on Friday told the court how he had been introduced to both accused through a friend and visited their cottage in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire.

The witness, now aged 27, said he was about 14 at the time.

He told prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC of a remark made at the property which he said was "a surreal moment".

The man said: "Charles O'Neill made the comment that 'she is feeding the fishes down there'. I will not forget that it chilled me to the bone."

The witness said the Firth of Clyde was near the cottage.

Ms Bain then asked: "Did you move from thinking that [the comment] was not true to having a different opinion?"

He replied: "My understanding was that Allison McGarrigle had been murdered and her body had been disposed of in the water."

The witness claimed Mr O'Neill later said to him that if there was no body "you don't have a crime".

'Disgusting' comments

Mr O'Neill also allegedly made "disgusting" comments about Mrs McGarrigle and Mr Lauchlan would find them "amusing".

The witness agreed with a suggestion that Mr O'Neill and Mr Lauchlan had been in a relationship.

The jury again heard about a boy that the pair were said to have "criminal sexual activity" with.

The witness said he had met the youngster, who he believed was aged 13 or 14, at the cottage.

He claimed Mr O'Neill had told him that he and the boy were in a relationship.

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Mr O'Neill has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband Robert as being responsible for her death.

He also faces a charge of assault or an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

The trial, before judge Lord Pentland, continues.

Murder accused spoke of 'cutting up' Allison McGarrigle, 25 May 2010
Murder accused spoke of 'cutting up' Allison McGarrigle BBC News

25 May 2010 Last updated at 16:49

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

Two men accused of killing a woman and dumping the body at sea spoke about "cutting her up" following a row, a court has heard.

The claim was made at the High Court in Glasgow by a man who was abused as a boy by Charles O'Neill, 47, and 33-year-old William Lauchlan.

Both men deny killing Allison McGarrigle in 1997.

It is alleged they abducted the 39-year-old to prevent her reporting the abuse of a young boy.

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

The court heard for a second day from a man who was abused by O'Neill and Lauchlan as a boy.

Police concern

The court earlier heard how he moved in with the pair at their flat in Waterside Street, Largs, in 1997 and was joined by Mrs McGarrigle.

The witness, now 26, said he grew to "love" both accused and that they would often buy him gifts.

He said that there was once an argument at the flat and Lauchlan pushed Mrs McGarrigle onto a chair. She started crying and then went into a bedroom.

O'Neill allegedly said they had to get rid of her as she was "going to go to the police".

The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC asked: "What did they say they were going to do?"

The witness replied: "They were talking about cutting her up."

Miss Bain said: "Willie and Charlie?"

The man replied: "Yes."

The witness said he awoke the next morning and both accused were already up. Mrs McGarrigle was not in the flat.

The man claimed he was told she had gone and that they did not know where she was.

He added: "I believed most of it. I did not think at the time something had happened."

Loyalty claim

He told the trial that it was around a week after arriving at the flat that Mrs McGarrigle was no longer there.

The man also recalled being traced by police months later at the pair's new home in Largs after he was reported missing.

He said O'Neill told him that if they asked about Mrs McGarrigle to say she "is away for a paper".

The witness agreed with Miss Bain that he had once been "loyal" to Lauchlan and O'Neill, but now felt "gutted".

The trial later heard how O'Neill allegedly confessed to a fellow inmate at Barlinnie Prison that Mrs McGarrigle had been "done away with".

John Molseed said he was in prison in 1998 when O'Neill told him Lauchlan had been with a little boy and "she found out and was going to go to the police".

Prosecutor Miss Bain asked the 45 year-old: "Did he go on to say something more about Allison McGarrigle?"

Molseed replied: "That something happened and she got hit. Whatever else happened after that and she was done away with. She was guzzled."

Body claim

Miss Bain then asked: "Did he say what happened to the woman's body?"

The witness said: "Put somewhere down Largs Beach and down a sewer pipe."

Molseed, who was jailed for three years for drink driving, later admitted he had been asked by a police officer to get information from O'Neill.

However, he denied a suggestion that by doing so he had been looking for an "advantage" for himself.

Lauchlan and O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

O'Neill has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband Robert as being responsible for her death.

He also faces a a charge of assault or an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

Confusion over Allison McGarrigle sighting, 27 May 2010
Confusion over Allison McGarrigle sighting BBC News

27 May 2010 Last updated at 15:23

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

A woman who claimed she saw a murder victim weeks after she was allegedly killed and dumped at sea has said she may have confused the dates.

Jean Menzies originally told police she spotted Allison McGarrigle in Weymss Bay, Inverclyde, on 4 July 1997.

But at the High Court in Glasgow she admitted it could have been 27 June.

Charles O'Neill, 47, and William Lauchlan, 33, deny killing 39-year-old Allison McGarrigle to prevent her reporting the abuse of a young boy.

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

The court heard that Jean Menzies, 63, gave a statement to police that she was in Weymss Bay on 4 July 1997.

She added: "I don't know what made me look back, but, when I did, I saw Allison going into the chippy. It was definitely Allison."

Special defence

Mrs Menzies then spoke to police again and said it could have instead been 27 June when she saw Mrs McGarrigle.

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC asked her: "On 4 July, on that day, police found out the chip shop was closed at that time because there had been a fire.

"You then say 27 June, but I think what you are saying today is that it could be another day altogether?"

Mrs Menzies replied: "It could have been. It is hard it is that long ago."

Lauchlan and O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

O'Neill has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband Robert as being responsible for her death.

He also faces a a charge of assault or an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

The trial, before judge Lord Pentland, continues.

Accused 'hopes' missing Allison McGarrigle is alive, 02 June 2010
Accused 'hopes' missing Allison McGarrigle is alive BBC News

2 June 2010 Last updated at 17:19

Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

A man accused of helping to kill a woman and dumping her body at sea has said he "likes to think she is still alive".

William Lauchlan told the High Court in Glasgow that he "hoped" Allison McGarrigle was not dead.

Mr Lauchlan, 33, and Charles O'Neill, 47, are charged with murdering Mrs McGarrigle in June 1997 to stop her reporting the abuse of a young boy.

They are also accused of putting her body in a bin and dropping it in water.

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Mr Lauchlan said the last he saw Mrs McGarrigle was when she went to bed at the flat in Largs, Ayrshire, where she was staying with both accused and a young boy.

'No sense'

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC asked: "You are suggesting that she might be alive?"

Mr Lauchlan replied: "I like to think so, but I have no idea."

Miss Bain then claimed that it made "no sense" Mrs McGarrigle would run off. She said the lack of any contact since made it "perfectly plain" she was dead.

The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

Lauchlan replied: "I would certainly hope not, but certainly after this time, who knows?"

Earlier, Mr Lauchlan told the court how he and Mr O'Neill had been a couple who had known each other for many years.

He also agreed how a relationship developed between him and a young boy who he and O'Neill are said to have "engaged in criminal sexual activity with".

Under questioning Lauchlan denied that Mrs McGarrigle knew what was going on with the boy and said there was "no reason" to silence her.

He also denied claims made earlier in the trial that there had been talk about "getting rid" of Mrs McGarrigle or "chopping her up".

Charge withdrawn

He also said he did not hear a conversation about the woman being "fed to the fishes".

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Mr O'Neill has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband Robert as being responsible for her death.

A charge that Mr O'Neill assaulted another woman, Elaine Mullan, or an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct was withdrawn by prosecutors.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

Sentencing Statements: HMA v WILLIAM HUGH LAUCHLAN & CHARLES BERNARD O'NEILL, 10 June 2010
Sentencing Statements Judiciary of Scotland

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Sentencing statement Judiciary of Scotland

HMA v WILLIAM HUGH LAUCHLAN & CHARLES BERNARD O'NEILL

Today at the High Court in Glasgow Lord Pentland sentenced William Lauchlan and Charles O'Neill to life imprisonment after they were found guilty of the murder of Allison McGarrigle in June 1997 at Largs. The punishment parts were fixed at 26 years and 30 years respectively.

"William Hugh Lauchlan and Charles Bernard O'Neill, you now stand convicted by the jury of the despicable murder of Mrs. Alison McGarrigle and of disposing of her body at sea. You have previously been convicted by a different jury of other serious charges on the same indictment, involving the sexual abuse of young men and the grooming of a 6 year old boy with the intention of sexually abusing him.

It is clear that you are both dangerous and determined predatory paedophiles and that you represent a high risk to the safety of the public, particularly young men and boys (especially those suffering from some form of vulnerability).

When you became aware that Mrs. McGarrigle intended to report you to the authorities for sexually abusing her son, you conceived a callous and depraved plan to murder her and to dispose of her body. You then put this plan into effect with chilling composure. You went to great lengths to cover your tracks. You must have thought, for some time, that you had succeeded in escaping detection since to this day Mrs. McGarrigle's body has (tragically) not been recovered. It took determined work by the police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service as well as the courage of a number of witnesses, including members of Mrs. McGarrigle's own family, to bring you both eventually to justice.

The consistent theme which permeated the evidence in both trials was your calculating and devious manipulation of vulnerable individuals in order to further your appetites for sexually abusing young men and boys.

You have each already served lengthy sentences of imprisonment imposed in this court for offences of child abuse, but this has evidently not deflected you from further predatory criminality. In the whole circumstances, I must sentence you on the footing that you are highly ruthless and unrepentant individuals with no respect for the law or the values of a civilised society.

In your case Lauchlan I sentence you to imprisonment for life on charge 2.

The law requires me to set a minimum period that you must serve in prison as the punishment part of your life sentence. In fixing this period I take account of the aggravating features of the case. I can identify no mitigating considerations. In the circumstances, I consider that you must serve at least 26 years in prison as punishment before the possibility of release on licence may even be considered. I emphasise that the period of 26 years is only a minimum which I am required by law to set at this stage. You will not necessarily be released after 26 years and may indeed never be released. I shall backdate that sentence to 25 March 2008, when you first appeared in court in relation to these matters.

On charge 3 I sentence you to 8 years imprisonment.

On charge 7 I sentence you to 10 years imprisonment.

On charge 10 I sentence you to 10 years imprisonment.

All these sentences will run concurrently with the sentence on charge 2.

In your case O'Neill, I again impose a sentence of life imprisonment on charge 2. You are older than your co-accused and you were the more dominant personality. In addition, you have been convicted of charge 5 (another charge involving sexual abuse of a minor, of which Lauchlan was not accused). You, like your co-accused, are a relentless and murderous paedophile. In the circumstances, the punishment part in your case must, in my view, be higher. I consider that you must serve a minimum period of 30 years in custody, backdated to 25 March 2008.

On charge 3 I sentence you to 8 years imprisonment.

On charge 5 I sentence you to 10 years imprisonment.

On charge 7 I sentence you to 10 years imprisonment.

On charge 10 I sentence you to 10 years imprisonment.

All these sentences will run concurrently with the sentence on charge 2.

You will both continue to be registered sex offenders for an indefinite period of time.

Finally, I will recommend to the Scottish Ministers that your names be added to the list of persons considered unsuitable to work with children.

Well ladies and gentlemen; it remains only for me to express to you my thanks on behalf of the Court for the most important public service you have performed as jurors in this distressing and anxious case. If I may say so ladies and gentlemen, it has been very clear to me that throughout the trial you have fulfilled your responsibilities in this matter with conspicuous care, diligence and attention. I commend you for that. The administration of justice in this country depends, to a considerable degree, on the contribution which citizens make as jury members. In view of the nature and duration of the trial, I consider that it is appropriate for me to recognise the importance of your contribution by discharging you from further service as jurors for a period of 10 years.

Thank you and good afternoon".

'Evil, determined and manipulative paedophiles': William Lauchlan and Charles O'Neill, 10 June 2010
'Evil, determined and manipulative paedophiles': William Lauchlan and Charles O'Neill STV

Killers of Allison McGarrigle had been convicted of a string of sex offences against children.

By Graham Fraser
10 June 2010 10:47 GMT

Convicted paedophiles: Charles O'Neill (l) and William Lauchlan
Convicted paedophiles: Charles O'Neill (l) and William Lauchlan

"Evil, determined and manipulative paedophiles of the worst sort." That is how Allison's McGarrigle's killers were described earlier this year by trial judge Lord Pentland after they were convicted for a string of sex offences against children.

In 1998, William Lauchlan and Charles O'Neill were convicted of 31 charges of indecent assault and drug offences. O'Neill, a former professional boxer, was sentenced to eight years in jail while Lauchlan was told he had to spend six years behind bars.

They had lured children aged between nine and 15 to a house in Skelmorlie in Ayrshire, where they fed them drugs and alcohol before molesting them.

They were released from prison, early, in 2002.

Lauchlan went to Spain following his release while O'Neill stayed in Scotland. O'Neill became friendly with the Irvine family of a 14-year-old boy. Once he gained their trust, he sexually abused the teenager in the summer of 2003.

O'Neill then left Scotland to join up with Lauchlan – his lover and cousin. The evil duo set up Rainbow Cleaners, a window cleaning business.

One day, they got chatting with a family of a 15-year-old boy at the Rachel's karaoke bar in Alfaz del Pi, in Benidorm.

In April 2004, they enticed the English youth and his 18-year-old brother to join them in their van for a camping trip on the pretext of giving the youths a job.

Once the older brother left Lauchlan and O'Neill with the 15-year-old, they abducted him for three days, attempted to drug him and attempted to sexually assault him.

The paedophiles were arrested and initially put in a Spanish jail but they were not prosecuted. They were deported and returned to jail in Scotland for breaching their parole.

Once they got out, the evil cousins took to the road again. They set up home in Blackpool and had to register as sex offenders with Lancashire Police.

Detectives in England were so worried about the possibility of Lauchlan and O'Neill re-offending they put them under round-the-clock surveillance and bugged their van.

A phone call between the pair and a six-year-old boy was intercepted. The cousins contacted the boy and his mother around 2000 times. They eventually met up with the mother and her son and they all stayed together in a hotel in Falkirk.

When officers from Central Scotland Police searched the bedside cabinet of a hotel room, they found a pair of the boy's underpants with semen stains on them. Two autobiographical stories of sexual abuse - 'Tears at Bedtime' and 'Our Little Secret' - were also found.

In May, Lauchlan and O'Neill were convicted of grooming the six-year-old for sex. They were also convicted of the horrific abduction of the English boy in Spain in 2004 and O'Neill was found guilty of sexually abusing the boy in Irvine in 2003. Due to a contempt of court order, the case has not been reported until now.

Paedophile murderers had history of depravity, 10 June 2010
Paedophile murderers had history of depravity BBC News

By Brian Ponsonby, BBC Scotland news website reporter
Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Thursday, 10 June 2010 14:46 UK

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan abused boys in both the UK and abroad
Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan abused boys in both the UK and abroad

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan are not unknown in the Scottish courts and were once described by a judge as "evil, determined and manipulative".

They are not only killers, but predatory paedophiles who have convictions dating back 12 years.

These include crimes such as serious sexual assault and raping children.

As the pair begin life sentences for killing Allison McGarrigle their previous dealings with the Scottish legal system can be revealed.

O'Neill and Lauchlan, who were partners, killed Mrs McGarrigle in 1997 to stop her reporting the abuse of a young boy.

They then put the 39-year-old's body in a bin and disposed of it at sea.

Timeline - O'Neill and Lauchlan

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

Although it would be 13 years between the murder and O'Neill and Lauchlan being found guilty, the pair were convicted of other offences in between.

In 1998, O'Neill and Lauchlan were jailed for eight years and six years respectively for 31 charges of sexually abusing children.

They lured five young boys between the ages of nine and 15 to a house in Skelmorlie, North Ayrshire, where they fed them drugs and alcohol before molesting them.

The pair were released early in 2002. Lauchlan went to Spain and was joined there in 2003 by O'Neill.

While he was still in Scotland following release from prison, O'Neill befriended a family in Irvine and earned their trust before sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.

After committing this offence in June 2003, O'Neill joined Lauchlan in Spain where they set up a window cleaning business.

They then befriended a family in a karaoke bar near Benidorm and lured two English brothers, aged 15 and 18, on a camping trip under the pretext of giving them a job.

When the older brother left, O'Neill and Lauchlan abducted the 15-year-old for three nights in April 2004 and attempted to drug and sexually assault him.

They were arrested but not prosecuted for the attack and were later deported to Scotland where they were returned to jail for breaching parole.

The pair were first charged with Mrs McGarrigle's murder in April 2005 - the year she was declared dead - but were not indicted after prosecutors considered the evidence.

Mobile phone

On release from prison in 2007, they set up home in Blackpool and had to register with police as convicted sex offenders.

Lancashire Police were so concerned about the risk they posed that they ordered around-the-clock surveillance and obtained consent to place covert surveillance devices in the pair's van.

An intercepted call alerted police that O'Neill and Lauchlan were grooming a six-year-old boy in Scotland.

Over a six-week period they texted the child and his mother about 2,000 times and even bought the boy a mobile phone.

Central Scotland Police took over the surveillance operation when they travelled to Falkirk with the boy and his mother to stay at a hotel in 2008.

When officers searched the bedside cabinet they found a pair of the child's underpants and autobiographical stories of sexual abuse.

After O'Neill and Lauchlan were arrested, it emerged that they were planning to buy a camper van and take the mother and son to Spain under the promise of work.

They had also persuaded the woman to become a surrogate mother and give them a child.

While they were in custody earlier this year, prosecutors decided to charge O'Neill and Lauchlan with Mrs McGarrigle's murder.

Before the case came to trial, the pair were convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of the abuse charges relating to the 14-year-old boy in Irvine, the 15-year-old boy in Spain and of grooming the six-year-old in Scotland.

Trial judge Lord Pentland described the pair as: "Evil, determined and manipulative paedophiles of the worst sort".

These convictions could not be mentioned until now due to reporting restrictions imposed during the McGarrigle case.

Even now investigators are unable to determine whether they have traced all of O'Neill and Lauchlan's victims.

In Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, the pair are known to have babysat for mothers who were heavy drinkers, allowing them access to their sons.

Among their friends at this time was Mrs McGarrigle.

She had been due to give evidence against them at an upcoming trial when she went missing in June 1997 after separating from her husband.

For months her benefits book lay unused. It was later found at the flat in Rothesay where she had moved with a young boy only a week before she disappeared.

Police believe she argued with O'Neill and Lauchlan because they knew she was due to testify against them.

It is thought they strangled her, hid her body on Largs beach before disposing of it in the Clyde.

The murder went unpunished for 13 years until police and prosecutors finally caught up with O'Neill and Lauchlan.

Paedophile Pair Found Guilty Of Killing Woman, 10 June 2010

Paedophile Pair Found Guilty Of Killing Woman Sky News

James Matthews, Scotland correspondent
5:51pm UK, Thursday June 10, 2010


Two of the country's most dangerous paedophiles have been found guilty of killing a woman who was going to report their abuse of a young boy.

Charles O'Neill, 47, and William Lauchlan, 33, strangled 39-year-old Alison McGarrigle before dumping her body in the sea off Largs in Ayrshire.

Police initially believed that she had simply gone missing when she disappeared in 1998. In 2005, however, they declared her dead.

The breakthrough in the hunt for her killers came when they boasted about the murder.

Both Lauchlan and O'Neill had a history of abusing young boys. In 1998, they were jailed for abusing five youngsters.

Following their release, their child sex crimes continued - in Scotland and in Benidorm, where they had set up a cleaning business.

It was while they were abusing a boy in Ayrshire that Alison McGarrigle found out and threatened to tell the police.

Convicted paedophiles Charles O'Neill (left) and William Lauchlan
Convicted paedophiles Charles O'Neill (left) and William Lauchlan

Detectives believe they strangled her in their flat, which she was sharing at the time, and then hid her body under rocks on Largs beach before putting it in a wheelie bin and dumping it at sea.

Despite repeated appeals for information and an extensive search of the seabed off Largs, no trace of Alison was ever found.

Police suspicions surrounding Lauchlan and O'Neill were never brought to court due to a lack of strong evidence.

Over the years, however, different witnesses heard them boast about having killed the single mother.

One man told the High Court in Glasgow how O'Neill said to him "she's feeding the fishes down there," and nodded towards the Firth of Clyde.

In Spain they told a man they knew that Ms McGarrigle had been "got rid of" and repeated she had been "fed to the fishes."

Allison McGarrigle, killed by two paedophiles she threatened to expose

In prison, O'Neill had told a fellow prisoner she had been "done away with."

Just weeks prior to their murder conviction, the pair were found guilty in a separate trial of grooming a six year-old boy for sex.

In the same trial, they were also convicted of abducting and sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in Spain and O'Neill was convicted of drugging a 14-year-old boy and abusing him.

The judge in the murder trial, Lord Pentland, described the pair, who were lovers, as "evil, determined and manipulative paedophiles of the worst sort."

Both were given life sentences, with O'Neill to serve a minium of 30 years and Lauchlan a minimum of 26 years.

They were also jailed for 10 years each for the recent sexual abuse convictions.

Sentencing the pair, Lord Pentland said: "It is clear that you are both dangerous and determined predatory paedophiles and that you now represent a high risk to the safety of the public."

56 years: Allison's killers guilty, 11 June 2010
56 years: Allison's killers guilty Daily Record (paper edition)

By Tom Hamilton
Jun 11, 2010


THE two worst child sex perverts in Scotland were jailed for a total of 56 years yesterday for murdering a mum who tried to expose them.

Serial paedophiles Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan strangled Allison McGarrigle nearly 13 years ago and dumped her at sea in a wheelie bin. Her body was never found.

O'Neill got at least 30 years. Lauchlan, his gay lover, was jailed for a minimum of 26 years.

As the killers began their life terms, a senior detective told the Record: "I don't know of any more dangerous people in this country - perhaps in the whole UK.

"They are enormously bad people." Rapists O'Neill, 47, and Lauchlan, 33, had already been destroying the lives of young boys for years when they killed Allison, 39, in June 1997.

And when she bravely confronted them in a bid to save another of their victims, she paid for her courage with her life.

The perverts befriended mum-of-three Allison, described in court as "vulnerable", after she left her husband, and she eventually became a lodger at their flat in Largs, Ayrshire.

But while Allison was there, she found out O'Neill and Lauchlan were molesting a young boy, who cannot be named, at the flat.

And after an angry row on June 20, she shouted at the pair: "I know what you're up to and I'll make sure I see what's coming to you!" Allison then went to bed, in tears.

Frightened

The boy the perverts had been abusing told their trial what happened next.

As the frightened youngster listened, O'Neill told Lauchlan they had to "get rid" of Allison to stop her going to police.

The witness added: "They were talking about cutting her up."

Next morning, Allison's bed was empty. She was never seen again.

The court heard Allison was killed by "seizing the neck and compressing the throat".

O'Neill, a former boxer, and Lauchlan then hid her body under rocks at Largs beach before stuffing it into a wheelie bin, taking it out in a boat and dumping it in the Firth of Clyde.

Despite massive searches in the years that followed, no trace of her was ever recovered.

A year after the murder, O'Neill and Lauchlan were found guilty of THIRTY-ONE child abuse charges.

They had preyed on six boys, aged 11 to 15, at a house in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, and elsewhere, plying them with drink and drugs before raping and abusing them.

The boys' ordeal went on for five years. O'Neill was jailed for eight years and Lauchlan for six.

Both beasts were freed early, in 2002, and O'Neill was soon terrorising children again. He drugged and molested a boy of 14 in Irvine, Ayrshire, after worming his way into the trust of the lad's family.

The following year, when O'Neill and Lauchlan were living in Spain, they abducted a 15-year-old English boy in Benidorm and subjected him to three days of horrendous abuse.

Grooming

The Spaniards deported them and they were sent back to jail in Scotland for breaking their parole.

But in 2007, the authorities again put O'Neill and Lauchlan back on the streets. And in 2008, police surveillance of their phones suggested they were grooming another child.

This time, the lad was only six. The perverts, who posed as cousins to fool the families of their victims, had hatched a plot to take the boy and his mother to Spain. But they were arrested before they could put it into action.

O'Neill and Lauchlan were convicted last month of abusing the boy in Benidorm and grooming the six-year-old.

O'Neill was also found guilty of molesting the boy in Irvine.

The case could not be reported until the end of the pair's trial for killing Allison. Police fear O'Neill and Lauchlan abused dozens more children who have not been found.

The perverts were quickly identified as the prime suspects for Allison's murder but it took years to nail them.

Prosecutors decided not to take the case to trial after police charged them with the crime in 2005.

But O'Neill and Lauchlan were charged with the murder again after their 2008 arrest. This time, Crown lawyers decided to go ahead with the prosecution.

And in the end, the killers were brought to justice by their sick boasts about what they had done.

O'Neill could not resist bragging about his crime. Shortly after the murder, he nodded towards the Firth of Clyde and told one of the boys he was molesting in Skelmorlie that Allison was "feeding the fishes down there".

The killer added later that if police couldn't find a body, "you don't have a crime".

The boy, now 27, told the jury: "I will not forget it. It chilled me to the bone."

He added that O'Neill had made "disgusting" comments about Allison, which Lauchlan had found "amusing".

O'Neill also told a fellow-prisoner at Barlinnie in 1998 that Allison had been "done away with". And Lauchlan made similar boasts in 2004 to a man he met in Spain.

Another witness, a child rapist who recently committed suicide, revealed under police interrogation that O'Neill and Lauchlan had access to a boat at the time of the murder.

Despite the evidence against them, amassed in a huge police investigation involving several forces, the two paedophiles said they were innocent.

Coward O'Neill tried to blame Allison's husband for the murder. But following a three-week trial and more than seven hours of deliberation, the jury at the High Court in Glasgow convicted both men by majority.

Sentencing, Lord Pentland told them they had committed a "despicable murder". And he branded them "determined and dangerous predatory paedophiles, with no respect for the law or the values of a civilised society".

The judge said O'Neill and Lauchlan used "calculated and devious manipulation of vulnerable individuals" to satisfy their sexual appetites.

He added: "When you became aware Mrs McGarrigle intended to report you to the authorities, you conceived a callous and depraved plan to murder her and dispose of her body.

"You then put this plan into effect with chilling composure.

"You went to great lengths to cover your tracks. You must have thought for some time that you had succeeded in escaping detection."

Lord Pentland said O'Neill deserved the longer sentence because he was "the more dominant" of the pair. And he warned both killers: "It may be that you will never be released."

The judge also sentenced the perverts to 10 years each for the sex abuse they were convicted of in May.

O'Neill and Lauchlan had treated their trial with contempt, often laughing and joking in the dock.

But they were stone-faced as they were led to the cells. One of Allison's relatives on the public benches shouted: "Who's laughing now?" Allison's son Robert, 26, said outside court: "Lauchlan and O'Neill have taken away the best mum in the world.

"Allison McGarrigle was a bubbly, happy-go-lucky woman with a heart of gold. She loved children and was taken away from us trying to protect a young boy from abuse.

"For many years, we have had to live with not knowing what had happened to her, but we knew she was not missing.

"If she was still alive, she would not have left her three kids and missed out on watching her four grandchildren growing up. We miss her terribly and we wish we could lay her to rest."

Robert, right, was flanked by dad Robert snr, brother William, 32, and sister Elizabeth, 30. He said he was "over the moon" with the sentences and Elizabeth said she "could not be happier". The Record's police source said: "O'Neill and Lauchlan are in jail at last - hopefully forever.

"They are exceptionally clever, which makes them doubly dangerous. But children in Scotland are now beyond their reach.

"I send my thoughts to the McGarrigle family. I hope they can find some closure from this verdict."

The killers are expected to appeal.

Timeline

JUNE 20, 1997 Allison McGarrigle disappears, just a week after moving into flat in Largs with O'Neill and Lauchlan.

FEBRUARY 16, 1998 Her estranged husband, Robert, reports her missing.

AUGUST 1998 O'Neill and Lauchlan are jailed for a five-year catalogue of depravity against six youngsters aged 11 to 15. They lured boys to sex dens in Ayrshire and Bute before raping and abusing them.

JUNE 2001 On the fourth anniversary of her disappearance, Allison's family appeal to the public to help find her.

JUNE 2003 O'Neill, freed from jail, drugs and abuses a boy of 14 in Irvine.

APRIL 2004 The perverts subject a 15-year-old English boy to a harrowing sex attack after abducting him for three nights in Benidorm. They are arrested by Spanish cops, but not prosecuted.

APRIL 2005 O'Neill and Lauchlan are charged with Allison's murder but prosecutors drop case.

DECEMBER 2005 Robert McGarrigle applies to have his wife declared legally dead.

DECEMBER 2007 O'Neill and Lauchlan make contact with mother and six-year-old son in Falkirk.

MARCH 2008 Police set up a Scotland-wide taskforce to map the movements of O'Neill and Lauchlan since Allison vanished. Cops meet mum of Falkirk six-year-old and the perverts are arrested 24 hours later.

MAY 2010 O'Neill and Lauchlan found guilty of grooming Falkirk boy and abusing boy in Spain. O'Neill convicted of Irvine sex attack.

JUNE 2010 Perverts found guilty of murdering Allison.

How Daily Record helped save young boy from clutches of evil paedophiles jailed for murder, 11 June 2010
How Daily Record helped save young boy from clutches of evil paedophiles jailed for murder Daily Record

By Paul O'Hare
Jun 11 2010


A HORRIFIED mum read of Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan's evil past in the Daily Record - and saved her young son from them.

The single mum was chilled when she saw the smiling faces of the men who had befriended her and her six-year-old son under the heading "Beasts On The Loose".

She had known them as a kind-hearted pair who took her and her son on days out and who she trusted enough to allow them to babysit him.

But our article, part of a series by the late crime writer Reg McKay, referred to them as men with "an interesting past and an evil present", as well as the prime suspects in Allison McGarrigle's murder.

The stunned mum, from Falkirk, who had agreed to start a new life in Spain with O'Neill and Lauchlan, immediately spoke to police.

Central Scotland officers had already been working with her after discovering the pair's involvement with the little boy as they monitored them.

And last month, in a trial which can only be reported now the pair have been convicted of murdering Allison, O'Neill and Lauchlan were convicted of grooming the six-year-old for sex.

During the three months they knew the little boy, the predators bombarded the schoolboy with presents including Playstation games and a mobile phone.

It was used to contact the boy and his mum, by phone or text, a staggering 2000 times in just six weeks.

And they were heading to Falkirk to bring Easter eggs for their prey when the mum called them under police supervision to say she wanted nothing more to do with them.

Within 24 hours, the pair were arrested in their bedsit in Blackpool. Detective Superintendent David Wilson said: "They embarked on a determined campaign to access the boy through his mother.

"They persuaded her to leave the child in their care. One night when this happened, they took semi-naked pictures of the boy.

"He was only wearing underpants and they photographed him licking a lollipop in a suggestive manner."

After the pair were arrested, a search of their bedsit uncovered a pair of children's pants with O'Neill's DNA on them.

Inquiries linked them to the little boy and the forensic breakthrough proved to be a critical pillar of the prosecution case at the grooming trial.

At the same trial, ONeill and Lauchlan were also convicted of abducting a 15-year-old boy in Spain. And O'Neill was convicted of drugging a 14-year-old boy in Irvine, Ayrshire.

Both teenagers were sexually abused.

The harrowing case at the High Court in Glasgow was subject to a reporting ban so as not to prejudice the pending murder trial.

But it was lifted yesterday as the sick lovers were convicted of killing Allison McGarrigle in 1997 and disposing of her body.

The family of the six-year-old boy said last night they hoped lessons could be learned from the case.

A statement said: "Lauchlan and O'Neill befriended us through a third party and they seemed like a genuine couple. When they showered us with gifts, we began to suspect their motives and we contemplated phoning the police.

"We decided not to, a decision we regretted after finding out who they really were. We'd like to urge any family who suspects anyone who has contact with children to get in touch with the police."

At the end of the sex abuse trial, Lord Pentland described the cunning lovers as "evil, determined and manipulative paedophiles of the worst sort".

Their record for abusing children and young teenagers dated back at least to the early 1990s. In 1998, they were convicted of 31 charges of indecent assault and drug offences.

O'Neill, a former pro boxer, was sentenced to eight years in jail and Lauchlan to six for offences dating back to 1993.

The High Court in Glasgow heard they lured children aged between nine and 15 to a house in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, where they fed them drugs and alcohol and then molested them.

In 2002, they were released early but it was not long before the perverts were violating their parole, which forbade them from approaching boys under 17.

The following year, O'Neill targeted a 14-year-old boy in Irvine after befriending his family.

And once he had earned their trust he drugged the unsuspecting teenager and sexually abused him.

O'Neill then joined his partner in crime in Benidorm and they began searching for a new victim.

In the spring of 2004, they abducted a 15-year-old English boy after befriending his family in a karaoke bar and put him through a three-day abuse ordeal.

In April 2005, they appeared before Kilmarnock Sheriff Court charged with the murder of Allison McGarrigle.

But after "very careful consideration of the evidence" the case was not indicted. The following year, the beasts again fled the country in search of new victims.

They have been linked to the unsolved disappearance of Yeremi Vargas, seven, from the island of Gran Canaria, where they ran a cleaning firm.

When the beasts returned to the UK in November 2007, they set up home in Blackpool and had to register with the police as convicted sex offenders.

But when it emerged they had failed to declare they had a van, alarm bells started to ring.

Lancashire Police were so concerned, they set in motion a round-the-clock surveillance operation.

They also got permission to bug their van and install a hidden camera.

And Central Scotland Police came into the inquiry after Lancashire cops intercepted a phone call from the pair to the six-year-old boy in Falkirk.

A 20-strong inquiry team was set up to work on the Falkirk case and a Fife Police-led taskforce, Operation Aspen, was set up to examine O'Neill and Lauchlan's activities.

Aspen used analysts to compile a timeline of the beasts' movements in Scotland, England and Europe.

This work unearthed the horrific abuse of the English teenager in Spain.

And, in a unique move, the Spanish authorities gave the green light for the men to be tried in a Scottish court.

Crucially, the inquiry also brought new leads in Allison's murder, because of comments they made about her death.

It also emerged in court that the pair had planned to buy a camper van and take the Falkirk mother and child to Spain.

The monsters had also persuaded the woman to agree to become a surrogate mother and give them a child.

Had the police not intercepted the killers when they did, there is every chance they would have fled the country with the boy and his mother, putting the little boy at grave risk.

Asked if there are any outstanding cases linked to O'Neill and Lauchlan, Detective Chief Superintendent John Mitchell said: "There is nothing I can specifically speak about. But at this point, who knows?

"They are very, very dangerous predatory paedophiles."

PARTNERS IN CRIME

Charles O'Neill met William Lauchlan when he returned to Scotland after a troubled stay in Australia.

O'Neill emigrated with his family when he was two and grew up in Sydney and Perth.

But his childhood was marred by sex abuse at the hands of his own relatives. In his teens, he was jailed for armed robbery.

In 1986, he attacked a prison officer and left the man in a permanent vegetative state. As he would do in later life, he went on the run and returned to Scotland.

O'Neill set up home in Ferguslie Park, Paisley, in the same street as the Lauchlan family.

Within no time, he befriended Lauchlan, who was 14 years his junior.

The relationship gradually developed into a love affair which has left a trail of misery in its wake.

O'Neill and Lauchlan have often masqueraded as cousins but police have confirmed they are not related.

RecordView: Far too long to wait for justice, 11 June 2010
RecordView: Far too long to wait for justice Daily Record (paper edition)

Jun 11, 2010

THE streets of Scotland, Britain and Europe are safer this morning after paedophile killers Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan were put behind bars for their atrocious crimes.

The perverted lovers, who masqueraded as cousins and respectable people, may have preyed on dozens of young boys.

They groomed them into their sordid world then killed a woman who knew too much.

The body of Allison McGarrigle - dumped at sea and in the killers' words "fed to the fishes" - has never been found.

Her family can take some comfort from the fact that justice has been done - 13 years after she disappeared.

But it has taken too long to bring this pair of child rapists before the courts.

Five years ago, a murder trial against them did not go ahead after the Crown Office decided there wasn't enough evidence.

Yet the case presented in court in recent weeks contained little new evidence.

The main difference was the dogged determination of the current Crown prosecutors to see justice was done.

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, Principal Advocate Depute Dorothy Bain and Derek Ogg, head of the National Sexual Crimes Unit, have put two of the most dangerous criminals Scotland has ever produced behind bars.

O'Neill will serve a minimum of 30 years, while Lauchlan will serve 26 years before he is eligible for parole.

But the pair - branded "evil, determined and manipulative" by judge Lord Pentland - must never be allowed to walk our streets again.

They were freed in the past only to commit more heinous crimes - and they would do the same again.

For O'Neill and Lauchlan, 56 years is not enough. Life must really mean life.

Life for murder paedo wanted by Maddie tecs, 11 June 2010
Life for murder paedo wanted by Maddie tecs The Sun

Keeping quiet ... O'Neill is taken to court in handcuffs

By ANTONELLA LAZZERI
Published: Today (11 June 2010)

A SERIAL paedophile linked to the Madeleine McCann case was yesterday jailed for life for murder.

Charles O'Neill has repeatedly refused to be quizzed by detectives working for Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry.

But the private eyes will now try again. O'Neill, 47, is believed to have been in Portugal when Maddie, then three, vanished from an apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve in May 2007.

Yesterday he was sentenced for killing mum-of-three Allison McGarrigle who threatened to reveal he and gay lover William Lauchlan were abusing a child.

Ex-boxer O'Neill and Lauchlan, 33, strangled Allison 13 years ago in Largs, Ayrshire.

They dumped her body at sea and it has never been found.

The High Court in Glasgow ordered O'Neill to serve a minimum of 30 years and Lauchlan, a minimum of 26 years.

Missing ... Jeremy - Murdered ... Allison

In April 2004 they abducted, drugged and abused a 15-year-old English boy in Spain.

O'Neill was still there three years later when seven-year-old Spanish Jeremy Vargus vanished from Gran Canaria.

Two months later Maddie went missing - and O'Neill was thought to be on the Algarve at the time.

Jeremy's mother Ithaisa Suarez, 24, and Kate, 41, from Rothley, Leics, have written to each other regularly.

Kate and Gerry have also included information about the Jeremy case on their website.

Last night the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirmed: "Investigators have been fully aware of O'Neill and his background but have not been able to take him any further forward as an active line of investigation."

'Ruthless' paedophiles jailed for murder, 11 June 2010
'Ruthless' paedophiles jailed for murder Western Mail (Wales) (paper edition)

Jun 11, 2010

TWO "ruthless and unrepentant" paedophiles were jailed for life yesterday for the murder of a woman they believed intended to tell authorities about their abuse of a boy.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Charles O'Neill, 47, was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years and William Lauchlan, 33, a minimum of 26 years, for murdering Allison McGarrigle and dumping her body at sea in 1997.

They were also jailed for 10 years each for the sexual abuse of boys, aged six and 14, of which they were found guilty last month at the same court.

The jury took nine hours to find the pair guilty of murder and defeating the ends of justice, both by majority, after a trial of almost four weeks.

There were whispers of "yes" from the public gallery as the verdicts were read out and calls of "beasts" as the pair were led to the cells.

Mrs McGarrigle's son Robert was "over the moon" with the sentences.

Lauchlan and O'Neill murdered the mother-of-three at Waterside Street in Largs, Ayrshire, on June 21, 1997, by seizing hold of her neck and compressing her throat.

Mum reveals fears evil Scottish predators murdered her snatched son, 13 June 2010
Mum reveals fears evil Scottish predators murdered her snatched son Sunday Mail

By Steve Smith
Jun 13 2010


THE heartbroken mum of a missing schoolboy broke her silence last night after two Scots sex killers were caged and wept: "I'm convinced those monsters took my little boy."

Seven-year-old Yeremi Vargas disappeared three years ago as he played near the family home on Gran Canaria.

And in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mail, Yeremi's mother Ithaisa Suarez told how she fears paedophile predators Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan snatched the youngster.

The evil pair ran a cleaning business in the small Canarian town of Vecindario, where Yeremi, lived and were on the island when he vanished in March 2007.

Lauchlan and O'Neill were jailed for a total of 56 years on Thursday for the murder of Allison McGarrigle, who threatened to expose their child abuse.

They had previously been convicted of abusing a six year-old boy in Benidorm, Spain, and in Scotland last month.

Staring coldly at a photograph of the grinning sex killers yesterday, Ithaisa, 27, said: "I am pleased that these men are going to be in jail for a very long time because they are obviously evil beyond words.

"Maybe in prison they will sit and think about their crimes and talk to the police about what they know.

"If they took Yeremi then I would beg them to speak with detectives in Scotland.

"They make me feel sick. I still pray every day that Yeremi will be found but I can't hide my dark thoughts any more - I believe they took him.

"It is terrifying to think that these men were in our town so close to where Yeremi was playing when he vanished.

"When I see what they are capable of, what mother would not think they took their child?

"They have killed and abused on Gran Canaria, England and Scotland - they are evil beyond words and I am terrified now that they are keeping secret what happened to Yeremi.

"Yeremi was a happy little schoolboy playing on waste ground just outside my front door, then he vanished without a trace.

"The police on Gran Canaria have not told me much about these men but I know that they are talking to the Scottish police. I am now more scared than ever that they have taken Yeremi and his body will never be found.

"I will never stop looking for my boy but if these men know what happened to him then I pray they will speak to the police so Yeremi can be at peace.

"Surely if they are going to spend the rest of their lives in jail they could give a heartbroken family some comfort. All I ask is that they please tell the police anything they know."

We revealed in 2007, just a few months after Yeremi's disappearance, how Lauchlan and O'Neill were running Rainbow Cleaning Services on Gran Canaria.

Unsuspecting parents were allowing the pair, who have a long history of sex abuse, in to clean their holiday homes - unaware of their twisted past.

Detectives on the island have been reluctant to speak about the pair but Ithaisa said the inquiry team based in the Spanish capital Madrid, have been in close contact with Scots detectives.

She added: "I meet with the police regularly but there has been nothing at all and it's now over three years since Yeremi disappeared.

"The case has torn my family, the island and the whole of Spain apart - he is our Madeleine McCann and there has been huge publicity.

"We keep checking the fields and beaches and we will never give up looking.

"Every week my father goes out in his car looking and calling Yeremi's name.

"I keep hoping that maybe he is in a house somewhere off the island and being looked after, but I have been thinking the worst now because it has been so long without any information."

Ithaisa's life has been shattered at the loss of her only child. She is still on medication and has regular psychiatric treatment.

Yeremi's room remains untouched since the moment he walked out the front door of their two-bedroom flat in the centre of Vecindario to play football on waste ground round the corner.

His favourite Winnie the Pooh bedspread is perfectly folded and his Spider-Man teddies and toy cars neatly arranged on shelves.

Ithaisa added: "I am keeping his room for the moment when he will hopefully come back to us. I could never change it. It may never happen but I have to keep hoping."

Photos of the youngster are on every wall in the house as Ithaisa struggles to keep her hopes alive.

She said: "This is all I have now - just photos - and that is heartbreaking for my family.

"He was such a beautiful friendly boy who was loved by everybody.

"We haven't seen his smile for three years, heard him laugh or watch him play. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to carry on but I cannot stop looking, handing out posters and asking around for help."

O'Neill and Lauchlan strangled Allison nearly 13 years ago and dumped her at sea in a wheelie bin. Her body was never found.

The perverts befriended mum-of-three Allison after she left her husband, and she eventually became a lodger at their flat in Largs, Ayrshire.

But she found out O'Neill and Lauchlan were molesting a young boy at the flat. She confronted the pair - and was never seen again.

A year after the murder, the sick pair were found guilty of 31 child abuse charges.

O'Neill was jailed for eight years and Lauchlan for six. Both beasts were freed early - and within weeks, they moved to Vecindario.

It is understood the paedophiles fled Britain on false passports to avoid notifying police of their whereabouts as registered sex offenders.

A police source said: "They are not opportunistic paedophiles - this pair are quite possibly among the worst predatory sex attackers in Britain.

"They spend a great deal of time pinpointing targets and gaining the trust of the children and their parents before the abuse takes place.

"Gran Canaria was no doubt chosen because of the large gay community and they would simply blend into a holiday island."

'Jailed killer holds Maddie hunt key', 14 June 2010
'Jailed killer holds Maddie hunt key' The Sun

Missing child ... Jeremy and mum Ithaisa

By ANTONELLA LAZZERI
Published: Today (14 June 2010)

A MUM yesterday urged cops to quiz a jailed killer she believes has the key to finding her son and Madeleine McCann.

Charles O'Neill is said to have been in Portugal when Maddie, three, was snatched in 2007.

Two months earlier he was in Gran Canaria, in Spain's Canary Islands, when Jeremy Vargus, seven, vanished.

Jeremy's mum Ithaisa Suarez, 27, said: "I believe he might know where they are, or what happened to them.

"They're identical cases. Children who vanished in minutes, leaving no trace. He's a vile monster and should be questioned again." O'Neill, 47, and his gay lover William Lauchlan were jailed for life last Thursday for murdering mum-of-three Allison McGarrigle in Largs, Ayrshire - to stop her exposing them for child abuse.

The pair had earlier done time for drugging and abusing youngsters. O'Neill has refused to meet detectives working for Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

Ithaisa said: "He was interviewed by police looking for Jeremy. They found no evidence. But if he didn't do it, he may know who did."

She said Spanish police told her they believe Maddie and Jeremy may have been targets of the same gang.

Ithaisa is in regular contact with Kate, of Rothley, Leics. She said: "Like Kate I will never give up looking."

30 Scots sex beasts on the run abroad, 20 June 2010
30 Scots sex beasts on the run abroad News of the World (Scottish)

News of the World (Scottish), 20 June 2010

COPS ADMITS WHEREABOUTS OF MANY ARE UNKNOWN

By Jacqueline McGhie
20/06/2010


Cops admit the whereabouts of many of the pervs - including paedophiles and rapists - are "unknown".

Yet all of them have been convicted of sex crimes here.

And last night the shocking figures were BLASTED by campaigning mum Margaret Ann Cummings, 33.

Speaking almost six years after her eight-year-old son Mark was murdered by evil Stuart Leggate, 34, she asked: "Why should 30 sex offenders, who committed crimes in Scotland be free to go where they please? They are dangerous and manipulative men.

"It is hard enough to track the monsters who live here, never mind when they have scattered abroad."

News of the sickos' exodus comes after it emerged last week that a killer paedophile was in Portugal in 2007 when three-year-old tot Madeleine McCann was snatched.

Twisted Charles O'Neil, 47, has refused to meet detectives working for Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

The monster and his gay lover William Lauchlan, 33, were jailed for life earlier this month for murdering Allison McGarrigle, 39, in Largs, Ayrshire, to stop her exposing their abuse of a child.

Latest police figures show there are 3107 registered sex offenders living in Scotland.

But 30 of them are listed as "whereabouts unknown" or "living abroad". This means they have left the country without permission - or their application to move has been accepted by cops.

Last night a police insider told us: "If they have done things by the book, we can monitor them through passport control and local police.

"We try to do the same when offenders flee unlawfully - but it is difficult."

Strathclyde Police revealed eight convicted sex offenders are now abroad, while Tayside say six beasts are overseas while one is missing.

Central Scotland have six classified as "whereabouts unknown", while the figure for Lothian and Borders is three.

One Fife sex offender is out of the UK, three from Northern Constabulary and two from Dumfries and Galloway. But no offenders from Grampian have been reported to be abroad in the past three months.

But Margaret Ann, of Glasgow, added: "Police need more powers to help them keep tabs on offenders like Lauchlan - they should not be allowed out of our sight."

A spokesman for Scotland's police chiefs said: "Offenders who have left the country continue to be monitored."

Fiends raped me then said they would murder my mum if I told, 20 June 2010
Fiends raped me then said they would murder my mum if I told Sunday Mail (Scotland) (paper edition)

Terrified Chris still fears revenge at hands of killer paedophiles

EXCLUSIVE
By Norman Silvester
Jun 20, 2010


A VICTIM of killer paedophiles Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan yesterday told how the pair threatened to murder his mum if he told about his rape ordeal.

Chris Hunter bravely waived his right to anonymity to expose how the evil pair secured his silence after sexually abusing him for five years.

Chris, now 29, was just 12 when he was held captive in a small cupboard by the fiends who took turns to rape him.

His torture at the hands of Allison McGarrigle's killers began in 1993, when O'Neill himself was still a teenager.

It continued until 1998 when the pair were imprisoned for a combined total of 14 years for abusing Chris and three other boys.

But when they were released, they targeted Chris again and kept him prisoner for more than nine months in Spain.

Chris - who contracted deadly Hepatitis B as a result of the abuse - told police about their activities after he escaped in 2005.

It started a chain of events which led to them being sentenced to a total of 56 years for the murder of would-be whistleblower Allison McGarrigle.

Chris, originally from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, said: "When I was 12 they told me they would kill my mother and the rest of my family and make me watch, if I ever told them or the police.

"I knew then, even as a young innocent boy, that they would carry out the threat.

"What they did to Allison McGarrigle proved that they are capable of murder. They killed her because they thought she was about to expose them.

"I am sure they would have issued the same threat to all the other boys they abused and who would have been just as scared as me.

"That's why they got away with what they did for so many years.

"Over the years, they repeated the threats to me about my mother and family but I never forgot the first time they said they would kill them and make me watch.

"It was a terrible thing for a 12-year-old to hear.

"Even now I am still terrified they will come after me for revenge and do what they promised to do all those years ago.

"Though they are doing life in prison, they have people on the outside who will do things for them.

"In prison they will be the king of the beasts and run the show in the protection wings. They will be among the few sex offenders who could go into prison and not fear anyone.

"They are also both very intelligent and manipulative which makes them even more terrifying.

"I don't think that I will ever feel safe from them."

O'Neill and Lauchlan were convicted last month of sexual abuse charges relating to a 15-year-old boy in Spain and a six-year-old boy in Scotland.

O'Neill was also convicted of abusing a boy aged 14 in Irvine.

After the pair were convicted of killing Allison, 39, and dumping her body at sea, O'Neill, 47, was told that he must serve at least 30 years in prison. Lauchlan, 33, was given a minimum of 26 years.

Chris, who now lives in Ayrshire, was first introduced to Lauchlan by a school friend.

He said: "I went to their flat in Rothesay at lunchtime and they would prepare me a meal.

"But when I went to their flat at night, they would lock me in a small cupboard and take turns to abuse me. A lot of the time I think I was drugged up.

"If anyone called at the flat when they were abusing me they would tell me to stay in the cupboard."

Chris says the pair often targeted children of respectable parents who they befriended under the guise of running boxing and football clubs.

He felt he was getting his life back together in 2004 but was then contacted by O'Neill - by then released from prison. He made Chris drive him to Spain - a trip lasting three days - where he was reunited with Lauchlan.

Chris said: "I did it because I was so scared of O'Neill. Again, he threatened me with violence against my family if I did not do what he said.

"They kept me locked in a mobile home - a revamped bus - and only let me out when it suited them.

"They both found work in local bars in the Calle De Londres district of Benidorm.

"One of the bars was opposite the mobile home, so they could always keep an eye on me.

"The only food I ever ate was what they kept on the bus. They held me prisoner for about nine months and I only escaped when I managed to steal back my passport which they had confiscated and kept in a safe on the bus.

"I then sold a pair of trainers and my watch to buy a ticket back to Britain.

"They sexually abused me while in Spain but they were never charged because it was only my word.

"Once I returned to Britain, I told the police that they were in Spain.

"Both had gone there without telling the authorities.

"That started the chain of events that led to them being extradited back to Britain and eventually being convicted last week.

"Neither of my parents could believe what had happened to me."

Chris's dad - PR consultant Norrie - said: "Neither his mother nor I had any inkling what was happening to our son and the threats these people had made about us.

"However, the fact that they murdered Allison McGarrigle for threatening to go to the police proved they were as good as their word. They were not empty threats.

"There is no doubt in my mind that had Chris told the police when the abuse started, they would have killed him."

Continue reading: Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan - 2

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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