A killer who murdered a teenage girl showed her sister her burned body and told her: “If you say anything that will be you.”
Zoe Nelson, 17, was beaten to death by Robert Bayne, then 20, in May 2010, before he burned her body in woodland near her home in Wishaw, Lanarkshire.
He had been dating both Zoe and her sister Laura Anne, then aged 16, and the pair had argued over him before her disappearance.
After the murder, Bayne, a bodybuilder, showed Laura Anne Zoe’s charred remains – and threatened to kill her as well if she told the police.
Laura Anne kept quiet about the murder for five days before finding the courage to speak out.
The case is now being featured in a new episode of Crime+Investigation documentary series Murdertown, presented by Anita Rani.
Retired Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Derek Robertson, who led the murder investigation, told the programme Laura Anne was frightened of Bayne’s fearsome reputation.
He told how investigating officers knew she had more to tell them – but had no idea of the reason why.
The former detective said: “Laura Anne was interviewed by specialist family liaison investigators, we thought she could help us because she knew her sister and what was going on in that community.
“But we just weren’t getting that information. It was as if she shut down inside, she just withdrew into herself.
“I remember speaking to her mum and her aunt about it and they said ‘That’s just who she is, she’s very shy’.”
He praised Laura Anne for having the courage to speak out and help them catch Bayne.
He added: “We had witnesses who had seen Robert Bayne with Zoe but we did not have him at the scene, we did not have him actually doing the murder.
“Laura Anne was a very introverted character, shy and nervous, and we worked very hard with her to get information. Retired Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Derek Robertson said Laura Anne was very shy (
Image: Daily Record)
“On the Friday afternoon late on that was when she said ‘I know he killed Zoe. I know he killed Zoe because he said to me he killed Zoe’.
“She basically said she had been seeing him and her sister had been seeing him and they fell out.
“The day after she went to return clothing to Bayne and he took her to the murder scene and pointed Zoe out. She recognised her from a tattoo and Bayne told her ‘If you say anything that will be you’.
“Robert Bayne towers over her, massive muscles, dominating, controlling, threatening. You can imagine the fear in the girl.
“That shut Laura Anne down and made Robert Bayne feel even more confident as the week went on that she hadn’t spoken.”
A member of the public found Zoe’s badly burned body the day after the murder but believed it was a charred tailor’s dummy before realising it was a corpse, the court heard during Bayne’s trial.
Bayne disposed of Zoe’s mobile phone and later told officers another person had admitted to killing the student.
When the unanimous guilty verdict was read out, he went berserk, shouting vile abuse at his victim’s family and headbutting a security guard.
He was jailed for a minimum of 20 years.
The episode of Murdertown on Zoe’s killing will be shown on the Crime+Investigation channel on Monday at 9pm.