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Yousaf urged to order judge-led inquiry on ‘one of worst policing scandals’

Humza Yousaf has been urged by the Scottish Conservatives to appoint a judge from outside Scotland to lead a public inquiry on why it took so long to convict Iain Packer of Emma Caldwell’s murder and attacks on more than a dozen other women.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross called it “one of Scotland’s worst policing scandals” and said it was shocking that police had launched a surveillance operation targeting journalists and whistleblowers who revealed Iain Packer was a suspect.

Speaking to the Scottish Conservatives via her lawyer Aamer Anwar, Emma Caldwell’s mother, Margaret Caldwell, said: “They knew it was Iain Packer as far back as 2006, but they gave him the freedom to carry on attacking and raping vulnerable women like my Emma”.

She added: “If Mr Yousaf genuinely cares about victims and my Emma then he has no other option but to organise an independent public inquiry.”

Douglas Ross quoted her words that: “A judge-led public inquiry that acts without fear or favour – that is the very least my Emma and the many women who spoke up deserve.”

Mrs Caldwell continued: “For far too long those in the police or crown who failed us have remained in the shadows. Only a judge-led public inquiry will reveal the corruption, the criminality and the motivation.”

In response, Humza Yousaf repeatedly refused to commit to a judge-led public inquiry but said it was an option being considered and “was not off the table”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Humza Yousaf must agree to a judge-led inquiry to uncover everything that went wrong in this appalling scandal.

“Emma Caldwell, her grieving family and Packer’s many victims were betrayed by what is one of Scotland’s worst policing scandals.

“Many questions remain about this shameful saga which can only be answered by a fearless and transparent inquiry.

“Why did it take so long to charge Packer? Why was he free to attack more women? Who was responsible for allowing him to walk free?

“An inquiry led by a judge from outside Scotland is necessary because these were not mere accidents by Police Scotland and the Crown Office. It seems evidence was deliberately ignored and suppressed.

“It is utterly shocking that the police launched a surveillance operation targeting journalists and whistleblowers. There must be consequences for those responsible.

“Surely Humza Yousaf can see this scandal demands an independent inquiry led by a judge from outside Scotland?”