Police today were beginning a detailed forensic search of woodland in Roberton, near Biggar, in a bid to recover anything belonging to Emma Caldwell, 12 years after her body was found there.
The detective leading the investigation into 27-year-old Emma’s murder underlined the force’s commitment to finding the person or people responsible for her death.
Detective Superintendent David McLaren was joined by Emma’s mother, Margaret Caldwell and her solicitor Aamer Anwar on the anniversary of the day Emma was last seen alive 12 years ago, to outline the progress of the inquiry into her murder.
A team of detectives has been working on this inquiry since June 2015. Officers have been collecting and reviewing information, statements and forensic opportunities to identify any new leads or fresh information.
Emma, originally from Erskine and part of a loving family, had dreams of becoming a riding instructor. But after the death of her older sister she turned to heroin and worked as a prostitute to feed her habit.
The hunt for her killer took in Carluke at one point, when a friend reported that they had gone to the town and met three men. Four men were arrested in 2007, but the case against them collapsed. In May 2015 the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland instructed Police Scotland to open a new investigation into the murder.
The forensic search at Roberton will focus on specific areas that are of interest as a result of witness evidence and advice from national search experts.
Emma’s clothing and the belongings she had with her on the night she went missing have never been found and the new search aims to recover any of those items, which also bring clear forensic opportunities that could assist the inquiry.
Officers are keen to speak to anyone who uses this area, perhaps walkers, joggers, dog walkers or courting couples.
Detective Superintendent David McLaren said: "Finding the person or people responsible for Emma’s murder is a priority for us.It is important that her mother, Margaret finds peace after all this time.
“We have been working tirelessly to find that vital piece of evidence that will allow us to put the person that killed Emma behind bars and I firmly believe that there are people out there who can assist.
“The area where Emma was found is crucial in this investigation.
"I’m particularly keen to hear from anyone who has been involved in prostitution and who may have been taken to the woods near Roberton.
"It’s a remote location and would take around 40 minutes to travel there from Glasgow city centre on the M74. Even if you can’t be sure if it’s the same location you were taken to, please get in touch.
“I understand that some people are reluctant to come forward but we are not looking to cast judgements on people, I am only interested in finding information that could help us.
Detective Superintendent McLaren also unveiled a potential new sighting of Emma in Glasgow on the last day she was seen alive.
From the extensive enquiries, detectives now believe Emma may have been seen at the bottom of Argyle Street in Glasgow on the night she went missing, Monday April 4 2005.
Previously, the last recorded sighting of Emma was on Butterbiggins Road in the south-side of Glasgow. Detectives have established that Emma may have been seen getting into a black saloon style vehicle/car, similar to a BMW and that it may have originated from the Dumfries area.
Detective Superintendent McLaren continued: “We are determined to do everything possible to find Emma’s killer; if you knew, or had an association with Emma or have any information that would assist, please contact us.
"My focus is not the activities you were involved in at the time; I just want to find out what you know and I’m asking you to get in touch with us. Perhaps there is something, which at the time, you never disclosed. However, 12 years have passed with no justice for Emma or her family.
"Please, if you have any piece of information which you think could be of interest to us, get in touch.
“I’d like to finally appeal directly to those closest to Emma’s killer and who have suspicions. You may be parent, a brother, a sister or partner of the person who took Emma from this world. I’d ask you to look in the mirror and ask yourself how you would feel if Emma was your daughter or sister. I need you to do the right thing and get in touch.”
Emma's mother, Margaret Caldwell, said: “We have come here today on the anniversary of my daughter Emma’s disappearance to thank and support the police for all their hard work and persistence in trying to find the person who took her life 12 years ago.
"Today is always a difficult day for my family, as we are usually at home thinking of Emma, each in our own way.
"Every day I think of Emma, every day I grieve for her; as a mother I know my pain will never end.
"But I am here to make a direct appeal to those who know or suspect who the killer is: please do the right thing. As long as the killer is still out there another life could be in danger.
"If you are the one who took Emma’s life then I ask you to come forward, living with the guilt of taking her life must be dreadful.
"But if you have no conscience, then be aware my family and I will never give up on fighting for justice on Emma’s behalf. We can do no less for we love and miss her every day, not just today.”
Aamer Anwar, Solicitor for the Caldwell family, added: “Today is a heart breaking day for Emma’s mother Margaret. She has lived through 12 terrible years of grief and sadness but still has a hope.
"If the killer is reading or watching he should know there will never be a time limit on justice for Emma Caldwell. This appeal today is not only for Emma, but also to the women who will have been hurt by this man or the friends or family who were too scared to speak out 12 years ago.
"If you know anything, saw anything or can help in any way then please have the courage to come forward and speak to the police in total confidence.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be given anonymously.