A Fife woman feared to have fallen victim to a notorious killer dubbed the Scalp Hunter has been traced safe and well.
John Patrick Sweeney was convicted in April 2011 of murdering former girlfriends Paula Fields and Melissa Halstead and dumping their body parts in canals.
He was jailed for life in 2002 for attempting to murder another ex-girlfriend.
An investigation into Sweeney’s possible Fife connection was launched in early February. Murder squad detectives are now satisfied he did not kill the Fife woman, whose identity has never been made public.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command launched a media campaign seeking her whereabouts. She was believed to have been Sweeney’s girlfriend in the mid-1980s.
Police said then she was possibly called Fiona, and shared a house with Sweeney and others in Hornsey Park Road, north London, in 1985.
Police said she may have originally been from Fife, possibly Burntisland, and her father or other family member had links to the prison service in Scotland. The Courier has learned the woman has been traced safe and well in England.
While it is understood her name is Fiona and she was an acquaintance of Sweeney, it is understood she was from Central Scotland, not Burntisland, and had no family connection with the prison service.
A police source said: ”As a result of the local media carrying an appeal by the Metropolitan Police, the woman, who is called Fiona, has been found safe and well.
“She lived in London in the 1980s and never returned to Scotland.”
In April 2011 Sweeney, from Liverpool and then aged 54, was told he would die in jail after being given a whole-life sentence at the Old Bailey for murdering former girlfriends Paula Fields and Melissa Halstead.
The possibility of a Fife connection emerged from “reasonably fresh information” which the Met had been working on.
At the end of January, Met officers travelled to Fife as part of their Operation Sherston probe. Despite fears Sweeney killed other women, they hoped ‘Fiona from Fife’ was still alive.