A city gardener helped murder detectives identify a suspect in the brutal murder of a mother of three, a senior police officer has revealed.
Serial sex demon Patrick Rae is serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of Mary McLaren.
He’d dragged 34-year-old Mary through the brush, brutally raped and strangled her before covering her body in ivy.
Now, a detective who helped nail Rae has told how meticulous records kept by a city gardener helped place the killer at the scene of the murder.
A scientist managed to match pollen spores and grains from the crime scene with a pair of Rae’s shoes after being questioned by police.
The council employee provided police with a detailed planting scheme for the area where Mary’s body was found, allowing scientists to determine where Rae stepped or grazed when he carried out the horrific attack in Dundee.
Retired Chief Detective Inspector Shaun McKillop, who was in charge of the 2010 case, said: “We found a scientist who matched the pollen and examined the pollens and spores of the plants and associated them to zones.
“Since we had managed to get Rae arrested, we had all of his clothes and shoes. They got samples from the scene and started matching the pollen on her shoes.
“The scientist then said, ‘What would be really helpful is a planting plan in this particular area.’ I sent a few detectives to the parks department and a guy over there said, “You won’t believe it, but I kept it because it was the first area I had ever worked on.”
“He produced a plan of the planting regime for this area. I was stunned.
“It allowed scientists to trace the plants that Rae had walked and grazed. “
McKillop said evidence was key to the prosecution and a jury found Rae guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life with the recommendation to serve at least 20 years.
The case features in a new episode of the long-running real-crime podcast Small Town Dicks, hosted by Simpson star Yeardley Smith and detectives Dan and Dave.
Yeardley, the voice of Lisa Simpson on the hit series, praised the Mary murder investigation and called it “fantastic detective work.”
Mary was spending an evening with her sister Michelle Rodger when the two met Rae at the Fat Sam nightclub in Dundee.
The two women – unaware that Rae was a wanted man in Ireland and was fleeing from the police – danced with him.
But then he started harassing them for sex and became too friendly.
Michelle was later arrested for an incident outside the club, which left Mary alone with Rae.
Her body was eventually found hidden under ivy, and plant spores on Rae’s shoes matched the exact location at the time of Mary’s death.
Podcast star Detective Dave added, “Based on the CCTV, Rae is going to have a hard time explaining how Mary died and that it had nothing to do with it.
“But then you put the scientific evidence on top of it. It’s brilliant detective work. “