Murdered Aberdeen scientist’s sister accepts killer will never be caught

Brenda Page
Brenda Page

The sister of a murdered north-east scientist has revealed she has given up hope that her killer will ever be caught.

Rita Lang said last night she had accepted the person who battered Dr Brenda Page to death would probably never be brought to justice.

The 32-year-old was discovered dead in a bloodstained bedroom at her north-east home nearly 40 years ago.

Earlier this year police announced they were reopening the murder investigation.

Last night, officers refused to comment on what progress has been made in the case other than to say that inquiries were “ongoing”.

Brenda Page's home at 13 Allan Street
Brenda Page’s home at 13 Allan Street

But Dr Page’s 80-year-old sister said she was not optimistic that reopening the investigation would provide answers to the questions she has been asking for decades.

Speaking to the Press and Journal from her home at Ipswich, the pensioner said that if detectives had not brought her sister’s killer to justice by now, it was unlikely they ever would

“Now, I have more or less given up hope. It seems so long ago,” she said.

The horrific murder of Dr Page rocked Aberdeen in the 1970s and remains the source of rumour and speculation 37 years on.

Popular, beautiful and intelligent, the 32-year-old was a gifted scientist with everything to live for.

She had been working at Aberdeen University’s department of genetics, where she had just been promoted, and was involved in important research work.

She was battered to death in her home in the city’s Allan Street on July 14, 1978.

Her bloodied body was discovered by a neighbour who let herself in when the scientist failed to turn up for work.

At the time of the murder, Dr Page was living alone, having divorced her husband, Dr Christopher ‘Kit’ Harrisson – who worked in the biochemistry department at Aberdeen University – six months earlier.

When it transpired that the attractive divorcee had been discreetly accompanying wealthy businessmen on dinner dates to supplement her income, the rumour-mongers thought they had found their motive.

A still shot taken from a TV reconstruction of the murder
A still shot taken from a TV reconstruction of the murder

But despite sensational headlines and one of the biggest murder hunts of its time, her killer has never been brought to justice.

In February, Scotland’s chief legal officer, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, instructed cold case detectives to launch another probe into the doctor’s death.

He said that since 1978 there had been “significant progress” in forensic techniques which could point detectives in a new direction.

Ms Lang had said she was hopeful that a new investigation could put an end to decades of unanswered questions.

She said police would update her when and if any breakthroughs were made, and that she was sure there was “lots going on behind the scenes”.

But she accepted that there will probably be no positive outcome – and that it is likely she will never know who killed her sister.

“The police came to see me when they announced the case was being reopened, and there is a liaison officer who keeps in touch,” she said.

“They said that they were working on it and that they were hoping that something comes from it and that they would let me know.

“But nothing has happened. Nothing has changed.

“I am not expecting much at all.”