Mary McLaren, 2010

City Centre, February 2010

Failing to return home from a night out in the city centre of Dundee in February 2010, the relatives of Mary McLaren began to worry.  With no clues whatsoever as to the whereabouts of Mary, the rumour-mills were abound with gossip.  Had Mary secretly left Dundee, without saying goodbye, or was something altogether more sinister afoot?  As the search for her intensified, events took a dark turn when police officers located her body covered by ivy close to the city’s Ladywell roundabout.  Sgt Scott Findlayson, the officer who first made the grim discovery said “I found a pair of feet and I knew right away there was a body there.”  By the time of her discovery, Mary had been missing for 2 weeks.

Further examinations revealed that Mary had been brutally raped and murdered.  This was no accident.  Panic gripped the city, with many women fearful to go out as the news spread like wildfire throughout the city.  Police enquiries and CCTV footage built up the hours prior to Mary’s disappearance, and police became very anxious to speak with a man who they believed was the last person to see her alive.

41-year old Patrick Rae had been out drinking with an acquaintance before deciding to continue alone throughout the evening.  After leaving Fat Sam’s nightclub in the city centre, Mary was seen walking with Rae, through the centre and along Rattray’s Close before arriving at the area close to Ladywell roundabout.  Footage of Rae walking to a garage about 2 hours later to this, along with eyewitness evidence provided by the garage clerk, made Rae the prime suspect in Mary’s horrific murder.  Despite previous convictions including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and assault (which were not made available until after the trial), Rae protested his innocence.

His futile attempts to pervert the course of justice, however, fell flat, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his disgusting crimes after a four week trial.  The jury heard how, after an evening of partying with her sister, an inebriated Mary randomly met Rae, who had also been drinking, and the two had walked together through the centre of Dundee.  At the crime scene, Rae stabbed his helpless and trusting victim, before strangling her, forcing her clothes off, beating her and raping her.  They learned that Mary died under the barrage or evil Rae’s vicious assault.

Mary’s family, whilst deeply upset and heartbroken by this devastating tragedy, attended court during the trial and sentencing.  Showing commendable strength of character, a very diplomatic statement was released after sentencing had been passed, stating “She loved us.  We love her still and cannot believe that she is no longer with us…Patrick Rae has robbed us of a much-loved and loving daughter, wife and mother…He also denied Mary the chance of holding a grandchild that she was so looking forward to welcoming into the world.”

In the following weeks, a major inquiry was launched into the circumstances that allowed Rae, a registered Sex Offender in Ireland, licence to travel to Scotland.  Although blame was not the purpose of the inquiry, concerns were raised as to how Rae had managed to move to Scotland whilst having an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and without alerting the proper authorities regarding not only his change of address, but also the re-spelling of his birth-surname of “Rea” to “Rae”.

Unsurprisingly, the monster’s submission of appeal against his sentence was refused, and he remains incarcerated for his hatefully wicked crimes against a loving and caring woman.

– DD Tours operates walking tours in Dundee city, covering dark local history such as wars, battles, murders, diseases, riots, disasters and executions. Walk with us for an unforgettable storytelling experience.


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