Unsolved Murders

Elizabeth Ann Ballantine

Age: 20

Sex: female

Date: 21 Jan 1987

Place: Union Canal, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

Elizabeth Ann Ballantine was found dead in the Union Canal at Fountainbridge, Edinburgh near Walker Bridge on 21 January 1987.

Her body was also bound up and wrapped in a dirty carpet. She was naked and had been strangled with a ligature around her neck.  It was found in the canal near Lower Gilmour Place.

Her cause of death was given as asphyxia and vagal inhibition.

It was said that her killer had kept her body for weeks before dumping it in the canal. Her body was said to have been in the water for ten days, although she was said to have been murdered months earlier.

When her body was found it was so badly decomposed that she had to be identified by dental records as well as a distinctive scar on her head. It was said that the state of her decomposition meant that her bodily fluids had started to mingle with the canal water.

She had been living in a flat in Yeaman Place, Dalry Road, Polwarth, Fountainbridge at the time, and the location where her body was found was about 100 yards away.

She was said to have recently split up with her boyfriend, but wasn't said to have been in low spirits over it.

She last visited her mother in Warriston Road on 17 November 1986 and was known to have visited a friend in hospital shortly after. It was thought that she had been murdered shortly after.

It was said that about five days later Elizabeth Ballantine's friends called round to her parents’ to say that they hadn’t seen or heard from her for five days. her parents then went round to her flat and started to put notes under the door and leave money, but got no response. After she failed to turn up for Christmas dinner at her parents’ house her parents reported her missing to the police on Boxing Day, 26 December 1986.

Scottish police records report the date of her murder as 25 November 1986.

Her family were informed after her identification in February 1987.

During the search of the scene, the police found photographs scattered along the footpath near to where she was found.

When her flat was searched a number of items were found to be missing, including:

  • Black leather jerkin.
  • Brass petrol lighter engraved with her initials.
  • Photo album.
  • Camera.
  • Black shoulder bag.

The police later identified a suspect, but the procurator fiscal said that there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution.

Elizabeth Ballantine was said to have been a heavy metal fan and to have bought some tickets for a Alice Cooper concert, but never got to use them.

She had recently left home but was said to have regularly gone back home to get her washing done and to get food.

She was known to have frequented the area around Yeaman Place and posters were put up in premises such as pubs and clubs that she was known to visit.

She had been unemployed at the time.

It was said that Elizabeth Ballantine's family felt that they knew for certain who killed Elizabeth Ballantine, saying that it had been a man known to the family and that they even had a photograph of the man with Elizabeth Ballantine at a family event. however, they said that they were not able to reveal the identity of the man because to legal reasons, and a lack of evidence.

In 2016, her father told The Sun newspaper, 'We have a picture of him. He did not know this picture was being taken. He was sitting with our Ann at a family function. He had this expression on his face. I will never forget it, he looked pure evil. We still have that picture stored away somewhere. It is not really something we want to look at. I do not think he will ever confess. He killed her because if he could not have her, then no one else could. He has had pressure put on him before and it did not bother him'.

However, another ex-detective later suggested that Elizabeth Ballantine might have been murdered by another man that was later convicted of the murder of a 16-year-old girl in 2000. At the time the man was said to have been a parcel delivery driver in Bramley, Leeds and he was noted for having kept the girl's body in his kitchen freezer for nine months before dumping it. He was said to have been 30-years-old at the time of Elizabeth Ballantine's murder and to have been passing Edinburgh regularly, and to have been a visitor to the Glasgow red-light district.

Elizabeth Ballantine was generally known as Ann Ballantine.

She was buried in Mortonhall Cemetery.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.lbp.police.uk

see Daily Record

see Edinburgh News

see Edinburgh Live

see True Crime Library

see The Scotsman

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Friday 06 February 1987