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Man plans appeal against conviction for murdering lover and son in 1976

William MacDowell, 81, was jailed for life last week for killing Renee MacRae and their three-year-old son Andrew more than 45 years ago.

05 October 2022

An 81-year-old man jailed for life for murdering his lover and their young son more than 45 years ago intends to appeal against his conviction.

William MacDowell was sentenced to life in prison last week with a recommendation that he serves a minimum of 30 years for killing Renee and Andrew MacRae in November 1976.

Following a trial at the High Court in Inverness, he was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of their bodies and personal effects.

Police have never found the bodies of the 36-year-old mother or her three-year-old son.

Renee and Andrew MacRae missing
Renee MacRae and her son Andrew were last seen in 1976 (Police Scotland/PA)

A notice to appeal against MacDowell’s conviction and sentence has now been lodged at the appeal court in Edinburgh, a court official confirmed.

During the trial, the court heard MacDowell, of Penrith, Cumbria, killed or abducted Mrs MacRae and their son in a layby on the A9 near Dalmagarry, south of Inverness, on November 12, 1976.

Their disappearance was one of the longest unsolved murder cases in Scottish criminal history.

MacDowell had lodged two special defences – one of alibi and the other of incrimination.

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