Scottish police contacted gardai informing them of the whereabouts of serial sex offender Patrick Rae little more than a month before the County Longford native brutally raped and murdered mother of three Mary McLaren, the Leader has learned.
New and potentially startling information obtained by the Leader this week confirmed investigators told Dublin-based detectives the 41-year-old labourer was residing at an address in Aberdeen, barely four weeks after Mrs McLaren was first reported missing.
According to correspondence received by the gardai’s special Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit (DVSAIU) located at Garda headquarters in Harcourt Street, Dublin, Rae was discovered residing at Kinellar, Clinterty Park, Aberdeen, Scotland.
In a further revelation, it has emerged Rae was living with his ‘fiancee’ at the popular caravan site, information which was disclosed to gardai on January 12 2010.
Evidence of Rae’s location forwarded to gardai looks certain to throw new light on why Mr Rae was free to roam at a time when he was a wanted man back in Ireland.
In April 2008, Rae was charged with an alleged sexual assault on a woman in Portmarnock, Dublin, but later skipped bail, prompting gardai to issue a bench warrant for his arrest in November. Crucially, however, no European wide arrest warrant was applied for, effectively meaning Rae could continue living undetected in Scotland.
As it was claimed at the time, there was no way Scottish Police knew of Rae’s criminal past, he was picked up at least 10 times in connection with a litany of minor offences.
Following Rae’s conviction and subsequent life sentence handed down to him by Lord Tyre at Edinburgh High Court last month, Scottish authorities launched a review into how Rae managed to avoid detection for almost two years.
Speaking at the time, Lothian and Borders Police Assistant Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone admitted the inquiry could take several weeks to finalise.
“One of the issues that has been looked at is whether all the information held by police in Ireland was passed on to police in Scotland,” he said.
But it is this latesst twist and the fact Scottish Police knew of Rae’s precise location in the weeks leading up to Mrs McLaren’s murder which is sure to generate plenty of debate over the coming days on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Asked why Scottish Police failed to intervene and why there was no decisive attempt made by either Gardai or Scottish Police to follow up on their initial investigations, Mr Livingstone declined to comment.
“We are assessing communication between forces in Scotland and Ireland as part of the review but cannot comment further until we have completed the review,” he said.
“As part of the review we are looking at how the offender was managed by forces, the communication between forces and the exchange of information. The review is still ongoing and once complete the outcome will be made public. We will then take steps to address any issues or gaps identified.”
Rae was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of thirty-four year old Mrs McLaren, after the mother of three’s body was found hidden in undergrowth on March 10 last year at Dundee’s Ladywell Roundabout.
The court was told Mrs McLaren met Rae in a Dundee nightclub almost two weeks earlier. She had been badly beaten and strangled.