Murder trial begins of accused pair

Two men have gone on trial accused of murdering a woman who they feared was going to report them for allegedly sexually abusing a boy.

William Lauchlan, 33, and Charles O’Neill, 47, are alleged to have strangled Allison McGarrigle in Largs, Ayrshire, more than 12 years ago and dumped her body in the sea.

A jury was sworn in at the High Court in Glasgow where the pair denied abducting and murdering the 40-year-old on June 21 1997.

The charge against the men alleges they engaged in criminal sexual activity with a boy for four years previously and they killed Ms McGarrigle “believing that she intended to report such activity to the authorities”.

The Crown alleges the men seized Ms McGarrigle’s neck, compressed her throat and then took her body to Largs beach, put it into a container and dumped it from a boat at sea.

The men deny both charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

O’Neill has lodged a special defence of incrimination, saying that if a murder was committed, it was carried out by another man.

O’Neill is also charged with assaulting motorist Elaine Mullan on August 15 1996, and repeatedly stopping in front of the car she was driving with Ms McGarrigle or, alternatively, of culpably and recklessly driving a car and stopping in front of Ms Mullan on the same date.

He denies the charge. The case is being heard by Lord Pentland.

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