Moira Anderson search: No remains found in canal

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Items recovered by police divers were examined by forensic experts

No human remains have been found in the search of a canal for a schoolgirl who disappeared 60 years ago, police have said.

Police divers had been searching Monkland Canal in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, in an effort to locate the remains of 11-year-old Moira Anderson.

Moira left her grandmother’s house in Coatbridge on 23 February 1957 to go to the shops but never returned.

Convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore is suspected of her murder.

Police Scotland said the search operation at Carnbroe, which covered five distinct areas, was now complete.

Items retrieved by police divers were examined by scientists from the University of Dundee, including soil forensic expert Prof Lorna Dawson and forensic anthropologist Prof Sue Black.

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Moira Anderson was last seen by her family on 23 February 1957

Det Sup Pat Campbell, who led the operation, said: “Over the past five days a significant number of bones were recovered from the areas of interest which, following expert examination, were found to be animal remains.

“The search at this conclusion has been extensive and thorough and no human remains have been recovered.

“I have been in contact with Moira’s sisters and made them aware of the outcome of the search and although they are naturally disappointed, they remain positive that this continues to be a live investigation.”

Bus driver and convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore, who died in 2006, is suspected of murdering Moira and disposing of her body.

When she left her grandmother’s house during a heavy snowstorm, she boarded a Baxter’s bus that was driven by Gartshore.

Later that year, he was jailed for raping a 17-year-old babysitter.

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Police have spent two weeks searching the canal

In 1999, convicted child abuser James Gallogley named his former friend Gartshore as Moira’s murderer.

Gartshore’s own daughter Sandra Brown was convinced he was the killer and campaigned to have him charged.

In 2014, prosecutors announced that Gartshore would have faced prosecution for the schoolgirl’s murder if he were still alive.

A previous search has focused on the theory that he may have buried her body in Monkland Cemetery, in the family plot of an acquaintance, but an excavation in 2013 found nothing.

The latest searches were prompted by a sighting, reported in 1957 but not followed up, of a man carrying a large heavy sack towards the canal.

Moira Anderson search: No remains found in canal

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