Saturday 16 December 2023

Justice finally for Caroline Glachan, aged 14

Caroline was a vibrant young girl with her whole life ahead of her

When 14 year old Caroline Glachan set out one night to meet her friends in West Dunbartonshire, she wasn't to know that would be her last night alive.

She was found later face down in a burn with horrific injuries. She had at least ten head injuries and her skull was fractured in several places. It was described as a 'horrific and violent attack' by the prosecutor. Mercifully, experts think she was unconscious when she was put in the water. She drowned. 

Police investigation found that Caroline had been besotted with a boy named Robert O'Brien. He was a few years older than her and she'd gone to meet him on a bridge that fateful night. She left her home just before midnight.

She was never seen alive again. At least not by anyone who loved her. The last person to see her were her killers. 

It took 27 long, heartbreaking years but when Caroline's mum Margaret McKeich stood outside the High Court in Glasgow and announced that her daughter could finally rest in peace, it was a day she worried she would never see. 

For 27 years, her wee girl's savage killers had been free to enjoy their lives. To enjoy family events and special occasions like birthdays, weddings and Christmases. Caroline's mum couldn't even enjoy her birthday. Not when her daughter had been brutally murdered and the date on her death certificate was her 40th birthday. 

Unknown to the 3 monsters who'd killed her - all teenagers when they murdered Caroline - the clock was already ticking. It took nearly 3 decades but the countdown to them being punished for their evil crime had begun.

It was police re-interviewing witnesses in 2009 that snared Caroline's killers. 

The testimony of a 4 year old boy helped convict the evil trio. He didn't testify at the trial but there was a police recording of the captivating little boy being interviewed 27 years ago where he spoke of seeing a 'lassie get battered' and fall in the water helped convict the vile trio.

The killers had been babysitting both him and his brother when they'd taken them to the spot where they'd met Caroline. 

Robert O'Brien was 17 when he murdered 14 year old Caroline
It was a brutal, unprovoked attack.

It would end with Robert O'Brien* who was 4 years older than the dead girl, Andrew Kelly and Donna Marie Brand being found guilty by a jury of their peers. Their motives for attacking the 14 year old were never fully established.

Now that countdown is over and Caroline finally has her justice that was denied for so long.

*Thug and heroin addict O'Brien had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2006 for the attempted murder of a stranger near his home. He had a lengthy criminal record.