Killer named... but search goes on for body of tragic schoolgirl Moira

THE search for the body of schoolgirl Moira Anderson will continue despite a dead man being named as her killer.

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  • The search for Moira's body will go on
    The search for Moira's body will go on
  • The search for Moira's body will go on

The revelation comes two years after detectives launched a detailed cold case review in a fresh bid to solve one of the country's longest murder mysteries.

Last night Police Scotland confirmed that dedicated ­officers will not give up trying to locate the remains of the 11-year-old who vanished almost 57 years ago after she was last seen on a bus on ­February 23, 1957.

In a brief statement a ­police spokeswoman said: "The team are still actively looking for her body."

For decades her distraught family and detectives feared the little girl was abducted and then slain after popping out of her granny's home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, to a Co-op for some margarine.

It was a cold, winter's day and she never returned.

There was no trace of her whereabouts and both her heartbroken parents died without knowing what happened to their daughter.

Two years ago Strathclyde Police - now replaced by ­Police Scotland - put together a cold case team in a bid to solve the mystery.

Detectives were tasked with not only identifying the killer but finding Moira's remains.

Their new investigation led them to Old Monkland Cemetery in Moira's home town where a high-profile ­exhumation took place a year ago amid fears she had been buried in a grave underneath a coffin.

Nothing suspicious was found but the exhumation rekindled claims that the schoolgirl's remains could be hidden in disused mineshafts under a local housing estate.

The possibility was ruled out after an earlier police investigation had been triggered years before by a television documentary.

But detectives yesterday fulfilled one of their main objectives when convicted rapist and paedophile Alexander Gartshore was named by the Crown Office as her likely killer.

The retired bus driver was never questioned by the ­police in the 1950s.

But he was quizzed by ­detectives in 1992 when he was accused of being the killer by his own daugher.

However, there was no evidence to back the claim.

Gartshore died in 2006 and took with him to the grave any secrets he might have about Moira.

It's now left to the cold case detectives to bring ­closure to the family and the community of Coatbridge by finding the remains of a schoolgirl who would have been a mature woman of 58 this year had she been left to live her life.

gordon.thomson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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