SHE was a brilliant scientist carrying out pioneering genetics work that would help future generations solve murder cases.
After the case was reopened in 2015, new DNA techniques helped convict Dr Page’s ex-husband, Christopher Harrisson, of her murder[/caption]
In the days after her death, it emerged that the 32-year-old had been working part-time as an escort.
And in a further twist, her lab work had seen her investigating safety concerns of working offshore — at a time when the oil boom had just hit.
But 45 years on from when Brenda’s battered body was found on the floor of her flat, justice has finally been done.
After the case was reopened in 2015, new DNA techniques helped convict her ex-husband, Christopher Harrisson, of her murder.
And in March this year he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
Today, on the 45th anniversary of her death, and as the last podcast episode is released, her still heartbroken sister Rita Ling says she is glad justice has been served — but it doesn’t bring her any comfort.
The 89-year-old from Ipswich said: “I don’t feel I’ve made peace just because there’s been a conviction.
‘A lot of anger and bitterness’
“You can’t change things — that would be the only thing to ever bring me peace.”
Dr Brenda Page, originally from Ipswich, graduated from the University of London and in 1972 landed a job heading up the genetics department at Aberdeen University, where she led a team carrying out groundbreaking research.
In the same year she married biochemist Harrisson, of Gloucester, and the pair shared a home in the plush West End of Aberdeen.
But their relationship broke down amid accusations of abuse and in 1977 a divorce was granted.
Brenda moved into her own flat and tried to cut ties with her volatile ex, known as Kit, who she had a restraining order against.
On July 13, 1978, she left her lab at the uni and headed for dinner with two rich businessmen at a hotel in the city.
It later emerged these were escort clients.
At the time, Aberdeen was teeming with businessmen, many of them Americans, who were going to functions and were happy to pay for a female companion as their guest.
She drove home around 2.30am — but her killer was lying in wait.
Brenda was subjected to a violent and frenzied attack with a blunt instrument, probably a chisel.
Meanwhile, a damaged window suggested the property had been broken into, but nothing was stolen.
When she did not turn up to work the next day, colleagues began to worry about their diligent workmate.
They went to her home and, let in by a neighbour, found her bloodied body.
It later came out that in the days leading up to her death she was said to be “terrified” and living in fear of her life.
She told pals: “If ever I’m found dead and it looks like suicide, don’t believe it.”
Despite a huge investigation and Harrisson being arrested, police could not untangle the mystery surrounding Brenda’s murder — and the case was closed after two years, devastating her family.
The decades passed but new hope came in 2015 when it was announced the cold case would be reopened, with DNA innovation now helping to solve other high-profile crimes.
And it was these new techniques that would help police convict Harrison, who was arrested in 2020.
At his trial earlier this year, the court heard how a flake of paint found on Brenda’s bedroom window, which had been forced open, matched that on Harrisson’s Mini Traveller car.
And one DNA sample from her flat was said to be 590million times more likely to have come from Harrisson than anyone else.
Witnesses also gave evidence on the domestic abuse she suffered at his hands.
But it was Brenda, from beyond the grave, who was the strongest witness of all.
Chilling letters she had written, including one begging her solicitor for a post-mortem if she died suddenly, were read out in court.
Harrisson, 82, denied being physically violent, saying Brenda began “making up stories” to secure a divorce.
But he was found guilty and jailed for 20 years, meaning he will likely die behind bars.
Sister Rita, a retired teacher, said: “I find him quite repulsive.
“He was so arrogant.
“He was saying it was all her fault.
“But the fact that he didn’t, in the end, appeal the conviction and sentence speaks volumes.
“I don’t like feeling so vindictive, there’s a lot of anger and bitterness.
“I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing I’d wake up to realise it was all a nightmare, to go right back to how things were, to have my wonderful sister back.”
With Harrison locked up, Brenda’s friends and family now have a chance to remember her for the bright, beautiful woman she was.
School pal Diane Davey, 77, a retired pharmacy dispenser from Ipswich, said: “Brenda was somebody who was extremely clever but also wonderfully kind.
“She was so talented in all fields.
‘Life just isn’t fair sometimes’
“I just wonder what it would’ve been like if we had been able to stay friends for the last 45 years and also wonder what she would be like now.
“It’s something awful that I’ll never forget.
“I was just so fortunate to have her as a friend.
“I am grateful that justice has been done at last, but he had 45 years of freedom, didn’t he?
“Life just isn’t fair sometimes.”
Meanwhile, friend and colleague Jessie Watt, 72, a retired geneticist from Aberdeenshire, who is now based in Spain, said: “Brenda was my colleague, my role model, my friend.
“She kick-started my career in an exciting new subject.
“I rose to the top of that career in cytogenetics — Brenda should have been there before me.
“Her life was cut short by her jealous, controlling ex-husband.
“I felt for her family all these years.
“I am so relieved that Kit is behind bars and justice has been done — at long last.”
Brenda and Harrisson on their wedding day in 1972[/caption]
Rita, who visits her sister’s grave at St Andrew’s Church in Ipswich every month to lay flowers, added: “I still remember the sound of her voice and her laugh.
“If I close my eyes, I can imagine her being right in the room.
“It still feels like yesterday since I saw her, and little things trigger me.
“Just the other day, I was watching Wimbledon and I suddenly caught a glimpse of somebody sitting in the crowd who was the spitting image of Brenda.
“For a horrible minute, I thought, ‘Oh, there’s Brenda’.
“I hadn’t felt that for ages.
“I just sat for a while and thought about her.
“Now, of course, she’d be an old lady, not a young girl with long hair.”
PODCAST’S DEEP DIVE
THE Murder In The Granite City podcast covers all the twists and turns of Dr Brenda Page’s brutal murder, which became one of the longest-running unsolved cases in Scotland.
Narrator Ruth Warrander, an award-winning Scottish Sun journalist, released the first episode of her search for the truth in 2020.
But shortly after the second instalment dropped in March 2020, cops made their first arrest in 42 years.
Now all seven episodes are available to listen to.
In the series, which regularly tops the true crime charts on podcast platforms, Ruth speaks to the scientist’s grieving friends and family as well as former colleagues, police officers and DNA specialists to uncover previously unheard details about the fascinating case.
Check it out now wherever you get your podcasts from – and if you get hooked, you can vote for it to pick up a top award at www. britishpodcastawards.com/voting.