Cumbria Crack

Penrith man charged over deaths of Renee and Andrew MacRae

Renee and Andrew MacRae

Police investigating the disappearance of Renee MacRae and her son Andrew in 1976 have today arrested and charged a 77-year-old man in connection with their deaths.

The man was arrested at Great Salkeld, near Penrith this morning by detectives from Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team and was expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court later today. (Wednesday 11 September).

William MacDowell, of Penrith, appeared in private at Inverness Sheriff Court. He also faces two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

A detailed forensic search of Leanach Quarry, near Inverness, continues and the bodies of Renee and three-year-old Andrew have not been recovered.

Detective Inspector Brian Geddes said: “This is a significant development in an investigation which started when Renee and Andrew disappeared in November 1976.

“Their disappearance has had an unimaginable impact on the lives of Renee and Andrew’s family and friends for several decades.

“This has also been felt keenly in Inverness, but also across Scotland and beyond.

“Police officers and staff from across the country, as well as a number of partner agencies and contractors, have put an enormous amount of work into this investigation from 1976 to the present day, allowing us to reach this point.

“The remains of Renee and Andrew have not been recovered, however the searching of a large quantity of material removed from Leanach Quarry continues.

“I would like to thank everyone who has assisted the investigation, whether during our recent enquiries, or at any time since 1976.

“We would also continue to ask anyone who believes they can assist police to contact 101 or you can e-mail a dedicated inbox at [email protected].

“You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”