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Man admits murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
Paige Doherty
Paige Doherty

A man has admitted murdering 15-year-old schoolgirl Paige Doherty.

Paige disappeared from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on the morning of Saturday March 19 and her body was found in bushes by a roadside two days later.

John Leathem, 32, pleaded guilty to her murder during an appearance at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday.

The search for Paige, of Clydebank, began after she failed to arrive at her weekend hairdressing job in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, about 12 miles away.

Her disappearance sparked intense police activity in the areas where she was last seen and where her body was eventually found.

Specialist forensic officers narrowed down their search to the Delicious Deli in Clydebank's Fleming Avenue, the premises where the teenager was last spotted after leaving a friend's house.

John Leathem

Paige's body was found on March 21 in a wooded area behind a path off Great Western Road, a busy route connecting Clydebank and Glasgow.

Shop owner Leathem was arrested three days later over the death - a killing which stunned the community and wider public.

In a statement released at the time, Paige's mother Pamela Munro said: "We are absolutely devastated that we have lost our beautiful little girl."

Days after her life was taken away, hundreds of people, many carrying pink balloons, turned out at a local park to remember the popular teenager.

The memorial event at Whitecrook Park was arranged by friends of the girl, who would now have been 16.

The landmark Titan Crane in Clydebank was lit up in pink one evening in memory of the teenager and as a gesture of support for everyone affected by the crime.

Following the girl's death, people including Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon showed the family support by posting pictures of themselves pouting with the hashtag PoutforPaige.

Two fundraising pages to help the family meet funeral costs and other expenses collected thousands of pounds within days of being set up.

Paige's mother told mourners at the service to turn their anger at her death in to cherishing the memory of her ''beautiful smiling girl''.

Ms Munro told 600 brightly-clad people at St Margaret's Church in Clydebank that her daughter's ''infectious personality'' would always be with them.