The grief-stricken dad of a young Traveller who was knifed to death under a Perthshire witch monument says he has given up all hope of seeing her killer brought to justice.
This week marks three years since the body of Annalise Johnstone was discovered lying face-down in grass, behind a drystone dyke on a remote countryside spot near Dunning.
The 22-year-old had been brutally attacked and murdered about two miles down the road, at a stone cross commemorating local witch Maggie Wall.
The sinister site already suffered a grim reputation, having been visited by Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley during their killing spree in the early 1960s.
The discovery of Annalise’s body by a pair of hillwalkers at midday on May 10, 2018 sparked a massive cross-country investigation.
Annalise’s brother Jordan Johnstone and his then-girlfriend – although she disputes the relationship – Angela Newlands went on trial in 2019, accused of murder.
The trial continued for Johnstone who blamed Newlands for the killing, and told jurors his sister died in his arms at the Maggie Wall monument.
He said he carried her blood-soaked body along the road and put her behind a wall so she could be found by someone else.
Later, there was fresh hope of a retrial when police returned to search the Maggie Wall site.
The new probe was sparked by Johnstone’s claims in court he had buried the murder weapon – described as an “expandable box cutter” – along with his sister’s glasses and mobile phone inside a Happy Meal box.
‘Killer will never face justice’
Police Scotland have now confirmed the search proved fruitless and the re-investigation into Annalise’s death has effectively been shelved.
Annalise’s father Gordon Johnstone, from Fauldhouse, West Lothian, said his life had been torn apart by the killing.
Disillusioned by police and the justice system, he firmly believes his daughter’s murderer will never face justice.
“It’s not that I’ve just lost my daughter,” the 46-year-old said.
“I’ve lost everything.
“Me and my son have fallen out, big time. If the police came to my door tomorrow and and told me that Jordan was dead, I couldn’t even be bothered to go and identify the body.”
Mr Johnstone said he had not heard from police since the court case.
“I’ve given up all hope of the police doing anything now.
“I’ve no confidence in them any more.
“I feel that if my daughter had come from a posh background, or if I was a doctor or something like that, the police would be going out of their way to keep this investigation running.
“But because she was a Traveller, they’ve just moved on.
“It’s like they just want to brush things under the carpet and get it rid of it.”
‘Someone will be going straight to Hell’
Mr Johnstone, who said he suffered from severe depression and anxiety and now barely leaves his house, said: “Unless the killer turns themselves in and holds their hands up, we’re never going to know what happened.
“The only people who know what happened to Annalise are the people who were at the scene that night.
“And they will probably take that secret with them to their graves.
“But someone will have to face their maker some day, and confess to St Peter and tell him what they’ve done.
“And that someone will be going straight to Hell.”
He said he will mark the third anniversary of his daughter’s death by laying flowers at her grave.
“There’s nothing else I can do.
“It would have been better if I could just hold her in my arms and speak to her but that chance has been taken away from me.”
Police Scotland said that the investigation is still open and any new evidence would be examined.
Detective Chief Inspector Brian Geddes of Homicide Governance and Review said: “The death of Annalise Johnstone is considered an unresolved murder and these cases are never closed by Police Scotland.
“Should any new information by received, detectives in our Homicide Governance and Review team will thoroughly assess this and investigate further, whenever necessary.”
He said: “Following receipt of information in 2019, a search was conducted at the Maggie Walls memorial, Dunning, but no new evidence was gleaned.”
DCI Geddes has urged anyone with fresh information about the case to get in touch.