The man convicted of the double murders of his lover and their young son has failed to lodge an appeal against his conviction.
Renee MacRae and her three-year-old son Andrew disappeared in November 1976. The Inverness housewife’s car was spotted ablaze on the A9.
In September, almost 46 years on, Bill MacDowell, now 81, was found guilty of their murders and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Almost immediately after the pensioner was sentenced, we revealed that his counsel Murray Macara intended to appeal.
But now, both the courts service and Mr Macara have confirmed that there will be no appeal after a crucial deadline passed this week.
How did we get here?
In September, a case that felt like it was in the DNA of Inverness finally went to trial.
A jury heard how the mother and son went missing on a November day in 1976, never to be seen again.
A case was patiently built by the prosecution of how an affair with the boss’s wife led MacDowell to murder.
Lord Armstrong handed MacDowell a life sentence for the murders, with a minimum term of 30 years.
Why no appeal?
In the days following the verdict, MacDowell’s counsel Murray Macara confirmed his team would appeal the conviction.
But now, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has confirmed there has been no further movement.
A spokesman said: “William Macdowell does not have a live appeal as of December 7, 2022.
“The appeal was deemed abandoned as no Note of Appeal was lodged timeously.”
Mr Macara confirmed that he had not lodged any note of appeal against conviction for his client.
What happens now?
We know that MacDowell is ill and has recently been moved from prison in Inverness to Glenochil jail in Clackmannanshire.
This was due to “concerns for his failing health”.
It is understood MacDowell, who had lived in London and latterly Penrith after leaving Inverness, could still seek an appeal through the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.
What is not known at this stage is how likely he would be to do so.
One thing MacDowell could still do is answer one last question and reveal what he did with the bodies.
More on the Renee MacRae case:
- Guilty: Pensioner murdered secret lover Renee MacRae and their toddler son Andrew, jury decides
- Agitated, dizzy and ‘probably’ telling the truth: The point the Renee and Andrew MacRae murder trial turned
- Long read: Four decades on, the many twists and turns of the Renee and Andrew MacRae case
- The moment of justice: Cries of relief from Renee MacRae’s family while her killer sits emotionless in the dock
- Renee and Andrew MacRae trial: The 15 images that led to Bill MacDowell’s conviction