Family of murdered girl endured '17-year living nightmare'

The older sister of murdered schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton told a court yesterday that her family had lived a "17-year-long nightmare". At times close to tears, Sharon Brown, 37, recalled the last time she saw her sister alive in 1991.

Ms Brown, who now has two children, told the High Court in Dundee the pair hugged each other tightly before Vicky got on a bus home after a weekend with her sister. She said the 15-year-old was unsure of the route back to her mother's house and had been "really nervous" about the journey on Sunday 10 February, the day she is alleged to have been abducted and murdered.

Peter Tobin, 62, is on trial accused of abducting the teenager, taking her to his home, then in Bathgate, West Lothian, drugging her, indecently assaulting her and murdering her.

He is also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice and charged with concealing Vicky's body, cutting it in two, and transporting and burying the parts. Mr Tobin denies all the charges and has lodged a special defence of alibi, saying he was in the Portsmouth area and travelling to Scotland when the schoolgirl vanished.

Ms Brown told the court how she was "absolutely delighted" to have the teenager come to stay with her for the first time at her flat in Livingston, West Lothian. She said they spent the evening of Friday 8 February and the following day together. They chatted, shopped and socialised, said Ms Brown, then Vicky packed her bags to return to her mother's house in Redding, near Falkirk. The schoolgirl was keen to get back to see a music awards ceremony on television on the Sunday evening, Ms Brown told the court.

She said she went with Vicky to a bus-stop near her flats. The pair made plans for Vicky to return to Livingston the following week, the witness said. "We hugged each other really tightly," Ms Brown said. "Vicky didn't know where she was going. She asked me to repeat and repeat and repeat where she would get off the bus and get on the next bus. She was really unsure."

Ms Brown said she asked the bus-driver to tell her sister where she should get off. "She was really, really nervous about the journey," she said. "That's the last time I ever saw her."

Solicitor General Frank Mulholland QC, for the prosecution, asked Ms Brown about the effect of Vicky's disappearance on her family. "It's been a 17-year-long nightmare," she replied.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
i100
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all