Glasgow & West Scotland

Carstairs killer Alexander Reid wins prison transfer bid

Alexander Reid
Image caption Reid has now been given a life sentence for the killing of Angela McCabe

A killer who has been detained for 45 years has won a legal bid to be transferred to prison - paving the way for his possible release.

Alexander Reid, 62, was sent to the State Hospital at Carstairs after he admitted killing Angela McCabe in 1967.

He was diagnosed as suffering from a mental disorder but this is now classed as an untreatable personality disorder.

Appeal judges said this constituted new evidence and quashed the 1967 decision, imposing a life sentence in its place.

Reid admitted killing Ms McCabe at her home in Bishopbriggs near Glasgow.

The 26-year-old was stabbed to death as her four-week-old baby daughter lay upstairs in her crib.

Diminished responsibility

Mrs McCabe's skirt and pants were also ripped during the attack.

Reid was initially accused of murder but pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, at the High Court in Edinburgh in September 1967.

On the basis of psychiatric evidence, the court took the view that he was suffering from a mental disorder.

It ordered his detention at Carstairs and also made a further order restricting his discharge from hospital without limit of time.

Reid has since made several attempts through the courts to challenge his detention.

His latest successful attempt, was heard at the Court of Criminal Appeal, before Lady Paton, Lord Bonomy, Lord Emslie, Lord Brodie and Lady Dorrian.

The court heard that back in 1967, tests appeared to show that Reid was suffering from "a mental disorder" which would today be classed as a learning disability.

The appeal judges heard that psychiatrists now labeled Reid's problem as an untreatable dissocial personality disorder.

His legal team successfully argued that the change in diagnosis amounted to "new evidence" allowing Reid to appeal.

Giving the judges' ruling, Lady Paton said that Reid's crime was "horrific and appalling".

'Brutal attack'

She continued: "Reid, then aged 17, brutally attacked and killed a young woman, then aged 26, who had earlier given him a cup of tea after he had sharpened gardening tools for her.

"The attack happened in her own home while her husband was at work and she had the care of their young child.

"It was a terrible and senseless crime, resulting in the loss of a young wife and mother and inflicting lasting grief and suffering on her bereaved family."

The judges decided to quash the 1967 decision to send Reid to Carstairs and substitute a life sentence.

Reid will now be able to apply for parole.

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