Emma Caldwell murder trial hears accused raped woman at sauna

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Emma Caldwell’s body was found in a remote part of South Lanarkshire five weeks after she went missing

The Emma Caldwell murder trial has been told the man accused of killing her raped a woman at a Glasgow sauna.

The woman alleges she was gripped by her wrists and throat by Iain Packer, 51, while she was a sex worker at the sauna in the city’s west end between 1998 and 2006.

Mr Packer denies killing Ms Caldwell and charges against 27 other women.

Ms Caldwell, a sex worker from Glasgow, disappeared in April 2005. Her body was found later in South Lanarkshire woods.

The trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard from a witness who said Mr Packer would visit the Aquarius Sauna twice a week during the eight years she worked there.

The woman recalled him being “disgusting” and “dripping in sweat”, and that he pinned her down, pulled her hair and grabbed her throat.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard KC asked: “Any doubt in your mind that you wanted him off?”

Defence KC Ronnie Renucci suggested that the man involved was not Mr Packer.

But Mr Goddard added: “Any doubt that this client of the Aquarius Sauna was Iain Packer?”

The woman said: “That is him, and he knows who I am.”

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Ian Packer is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow

The trial also heard that Mr Packer had a “fascination with prostitutes”.

A man, now in his 40s, told jurors he was a teenager when Mr Packer took him on “creepy” drives around Glasgow’s red-light area in the 1990s

Packer was said to have “pointed out prostitutes” and “commented on them”.

The witness stated: “At the time I was probably too naïve to realise, but he had a fascination with prostitutes, I would say.”

Then man also claimed that he was punched by Mr Packer in a row during a game of cards.

Mr Packer faces a total of 46 charge against multiple women, three men and a teenage boy, between 1990 and 2016.

The jury also heard from other sex workers who knew Emma Caldwell and had “business” with Mr Packer.

One was a fellow resident at the Inglefield Hostel in Govanhill, where Emma had been staying before her death.

She alleged she was indecently assaulted by Mr Packer on various occasions between July 2000 and April 2005.

She recalled being taken by him to various places including the city’s Pollok Park and “further out”.

In a statement given to police in 2006, she said: “I do not know how he knew these places.

“They were always in the middle of nowhere. One night he took me so far away I was out with him for two hours.

“It was the main motorway towards England. I remember dirt tracks and wooded lanes.”

Iain Packer denies strangling 27-year-old Emma Caldwell in the remote Limefield Woods near Biggar in 2005 and concealing her body.

The murder charge alleges Mr Packer assaulted Ms Caldwell by restraining her, grabbing her wrists and strangling her with his hands and a cable.

He is then said to have dumped her naked body in the woods as well as disposing of her clothes, phone and other personal belongings.

He is alleged to have cleaned a car to “avoid detection, arrest and prosecution”.

The trial before judge Lord Beckett continues.

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