September 2003

Danielle’s killer and mother jailed

The man who murdered Inverness schoolgirl Danielle Reid has been jailed for life.

Lee Gaytor from Hull admitted killing his girlfriend’s five-year-old daughter, whose body was found in the Caledonian Canal in January.

The judge at the High Court in Edinburgh said Gaytor should serve a minimum of 18 years before being considered for parole.

Danielle’s mother Tracy and Gaytor’s brother Christopher were jailed for eight years and one year respectively for perverting the course of justice by helping to dispose of the little girl’s body.

At the High Court in Perth in June, Gaytor admitted murdering Danielle at a house in Inverness.

Weighted suitcase

He had carried out a vicious drug-fuelled assault on the child, who may have lived had medical attention been sought.

Tracy Reid admitted failing to seek medical attention for her daughter and conspiring to pervert the course of justice by disposing of Danielle’s body.

Christopher Gaytor admitted helping to transport the body through Inverness in a weighted suitcase and hurling it into the Muirtown Basin.

No-one realised Danielle was missing for two months because Reid told Crown Primary School, which Danielle attended, that her daughter had been taken to live in Manchester.

The judge said Reid had compounded her neglect of her child by carrying her daughter’s body through the streets of Inverness and disposing of it.

Lord Hardie told her: “You must accept responsibility for the death of your own child.

“Although you did not inflict the fatal injuries on Danielle it is clear from the Crown narrative that if you had summoned medical assistance she would probably have lived.

“The death of your daughter will weigh on your conscience for the rest of your life because of your serious breach of the trust and responsibility which parents have towards their children.”

The judge passed sentence after a three-day hearing into whether Reid had been completely under the influence of Lee Gaytor.

The move was ordered after Reid’s defence team called in Dr Mairead Tagg, an expert in the problems of battered women.

However, Lord Hardie threw out Dr Tagg’s claim that Reid’s spirit had been completely broken and that she would do anything Lee Gaytor demanded.

The judge said that it would remain “a matter of speculation” whether Reid’s conduct was influenced by drug abuse or mere selfishness.

John Campbell QC, representing Reid, said his client was filled with remorse.

“There was nothing to show she willingly took part in that horrible, surreal walk across Inverness with her child’s body in a suitcase,” he added.

Detective Inspector Stevie MacKay, the officer in charge of the inquiry, said it had been a brutal murder.

“The fact that Danielle’s mother assisted in the disposal of her daughter’s body beggars belief and is difficult for the people of Inverness to comprehend,” he said.

“My sympathies must go out to the other family members who have to live with the fact she was killed by someone she should have been able to trust with her life.