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Murder trial further delayed for Inverness man William MacDowell accused of deaths in 1976 of Renee MacRae and her son Andrew (3)

By Ian Duncan

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A trial date has been further delayed of an Inverness man accused of murdering a mother and her young son in 1976.

Renee MacRae.
Renee MacRae.

A hearing was scheduled for the High Court in Inverness yesterday to announce when and where William MacDowell would stand trial

However it didn't call as the hearing was "administratively discharged", a High Court spokesman said.

The case has previously been delayed on several occasions for procedural reasons and investigations into whether the 79-year-old is fit enough to sit through a lengthy trial.

Last month Mr MacDowell, who now lives in Penrith, was hospitalised after he fell off a wall and injured his neck.

His counsel Murray McAra QC described it as a "bizarre incident".

A Crown Office spokesman refused to elaborate on why the hearing was rescheduled.

However it is believed the reason is related to the defendant not having fully recovered from his injury.

Andrew MacRae.
Andrew MacRae.

Mr MacDowell denies killing Renee MacRae, 36, of Inverness, and her three-year-old Andrew, on November 12, 1976.

It is further alleged that the defendant – then aged 35 – disposed of their bodies and personal effects before setting fire to a BMW car.

A new hearing to try set a trial date has now been set for the High Court in Livingston on November 23.

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