The trial date for a man accused of murdering Inverness mum Renee MacRae and her son Andrew in 1976 has been delayed once again.
A hearing was scheduled for the High Court in Inverness today when it was hoped it would be announced when and where 79-year-old William MacDowell, now of Penrith, would stand trial.
However it didn’t call as the hearing was “administratively discharged”, a High Court spokesman said.
It has now been fixed for the High Court in Livingston for November 23 before Lord Armstrong.
The two murder charges claim MacDowell assaulted 36-year-old Renee – known on court papers as Christina – and three-year-old Andrew “by means unknown” on 12 November 1976.
The case has previously been delayed on several occasions for procedural reasons and investigations into whether MacDowell is fit enough to sit through a trial.
Last month it was anticipated a final decision would be made, however MacDowell fell off a wall, injuring his neck, and he was hospitalised for treatment.
Mr McAra told the judge last month: “He was sitting on a wall at the house he is living in and for some reason came off the wall, whether he lost consciousness or fell asleep.
“He fractured a vertebrae on his neck and remains in hospital.
“I spoke to him yesterday and he isn’t being operated on but is in a neck brace and requires to wear a collar for six weeks.”
A Crown Office spokesman refused to elaborate on why today’s hearing was re-scheduled.
Pensioner denies double murder
MacDowell has denied the murder charges.
Mr MacDowell faces a separate charge of then attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
This includes a claim Mr MacDowell – then aged 35 – disposed of the bodies and personal effects.
It is also alleged he set fire to a BMW car, got rid of a boot hatch from a Volvo car and a pushchair.
This was allegedly all done to conceal the murders in a bid to avoid arrest and prosecution.