‘After Templeton Woods murder, girls stopped walking the streets alone’ says Dundee woman

Police at the scene of Carol's murder in Templeton Woods
Police at the scene of Carol's murder in Templeton Woods

The murder of Carol Lannen changed the way teenage girls in Dundee conducted themselves, according to a former fellow school pupil.

Carol was a pupil at St John’s High School during the mid-1970s, leaving in 1976 aged 16.

She got in a car on Exchange Street on March 21 1979 before being brutally murdered and dumped in the city’s Templeton Woods.

Her murder shocked her former schoolmates, who started avoiding red cars for fear of becoming another victim.

Audrey Kerr, 58, remembers a “quiet” girl in her class who “blended into the background”.

Audrey said: “Although she was in my class and my school house, Dunkeld, she wasn’t a friend of mine, in fact I don’t remember her having too many friends at all.

“The rest of us would go round in our own groups of friends, as school girls of that age do, but I don’t remember Carol ever having a group of girls – I can’t even remember her having a special friend of her own.

“She never really made much of an impression at school as far as I can remember, she was just a girl in my class.

“She was quiet and never seemed to have very much. While the rest of us were wearing fashionable clothes that were a variation of our school uniform, Carol always wore the basic uniform – nothing trendy or different.

“I suppose she just blended into the background.”

Carol Lannen

Although Carol may not have left much of an impression on her peers at the time, her death certainly did.

“When we heard the news we were all so shocked,” said Audrey.

“We had all left school by then but many of us had stayed in touch and we spoke constantly about her murder.

“Girls were scared by what had happened but we tried to reassure each other that it couldn’t happen to us.

“We were told she had been working as a prostitute so the impression was that she was moving in a world where things like that could happen.

“Nonetheless, our behaviour changed dramatically for a while.

“We would no longer walk the streets on our own and we all avoided red cars as Carol was last seen getting into a red estate car in Exchange Street.

“It also gave Templeton Woods a bad reputation and suddenly nobody wanted to go there anymore.

“It’s tragic that no one was ever found guilty of her murder.”