This article may be of relevance to the topic and the debate.
A teenage beauty queen with everything to live for
Sun 24 Jun 2007
TWO years ago George Shaw delivered a moving eulogy at a memorial service for fisherman Robertson Buchan. As he comforted mourners, the head of the Peterhead Fishermen's Mission was struck by the compassion and strength shown by Buchan's charismatic 18-year-old daughter Saranna.
Now she too lies dead and Shaw is preparing for another funeral.
The brutality of the former beauty queen's killing has sent shock waves of revulsion through a town which, in recent years, has become numbed by the steady encroachment of drug- related tragedy.
Last week Buchan's battered body was found in a squalid flat in the town's North Street. Next to her lay the corpse of James Logan, a drug dealer and local crime lord who habitually slept with a machete next to his bed.
Murder-squad detectives believe Logan, 41, bludgeoned the former Peterhead Academy schoolgirl to death before killing himself with a fatal overdose. It is thought the 20-year-old may have been beaten over the course of several days before she finally died in agony in Logan's harbour-front lair.
Buchan's picture, taken when she was a teenage beauty queen, stared out from newspaper front pages last week, highlighting the thwarted promise of a life cut short.
"Saranna was lovely girl who was very promising at school and had everything to live for," said Shaw. "Unfortunately like so many others in this area she developed problems with drugs.
"What happened to this beautiful, polite girl was nothing short of horrific. It has shaken the entire community and people are asking, 'Why did this happen?'"
After the death of her father, it seems the teenager attempted to block out her grief with heroin and crack cocaine. Her growing addiction led her into the clutches of Logan, who became her lover.
Logan's ready supply of hard drugs gave him a hold over the vulnerable, addicted youngster. Buchan's decline accelerated after she sold the house in Peterhead's Ravenscraig Road she had inherited from her father. The £72,000 windfall attracted a number of drug dealers in the town, including Logan, who had moved to the north-east from Govan in the 1990s.
His nondescript first-floor flat became synonymous with the drugs trade. Postal workers frequently arrived in the street to find a snaking queue of addicts and prostitutes waiting outside Logan's home. "We used to hate having to go there," said one mailman. "It was the part of town that we all dreaded."
In 2001, Logan, a teetotaller, was jailed for three years for a savage attack on a policeman.
A reign of fear and intimidation meant that witnesses did not come forward to ensure the Glaswegian spent more time behind bars.
"Logan was a downright evil character," said an assistant in a shop he visited regularly. "Everyone knew he was the local drug baron and everybody knew how he treated his girlfriends. He beat every one of them black and blue.
"Saranna came into the shop shortly before this happened and she was so bruised and battered you could hardly recognise her."
The shop worker revealed that just a few months ago Logan had beaten another girlfriend so badly that she ended up in hospital.
"He was facing jail so he threatened her life and she was so scared that she dropped the charges. Lassies flocked to him because he had seemingly limitless supplies of drugs."
Neighbours recall a Jekyll and Hyde character, who appeared to have deep-seated psychological problems.
"Logan was a monster but he had a touch of good in him," said one. "If he saw you struggling with shopping he would help out, and as long as you didn't cross him he would leave you alone."
One elderly woman recalled her terror after Logan went on a drug-fuelled rampage a few years ago. "He was hanging out of his window waving a machete in the air and screaming and shouting," she said. "A team of riot police were called from Aberdeen and they were all lined up along the street with their shields.
"He lined his front door with steel panels and the bobbies had a real job before they finally managed to batter it down."
Outside the modest flat, flowers and tributes pile up as white-suited forensic officers attempt to piece together what happened to the ill-fated couple. After being contacted by a concerned friend of Buchan's, police arrived at the flat just after 3pm last Tuesday.
Detective Inspector Phil Chapman, who is leading the inquiry, said: "Clearly something untoward happened in the house and we are working to fill in all the blanks."
Peterhead was once a thriving and prosperous community of around 18,000, driven by its position as the white-fish capital of Europe. The sky-high wages earned by young fishermen drew drug dealers and gangs from across Britain.
The trail of violence and misery that they brought - along with the subsequent collapse of the fishing industry - has left a feeling of decay, which numerous regeneration projects have failed to overcome.
Drug seizures in Grampian are now the highest in the country, and drugs deaths in the region have more than doubled in a year. A total of 48 people died from drugs overdoses in 2006, compared with 23 in 2005.
Long-serving councillor Sam Coull has witnessed the transformation of the area he loves.
"Thirty years ago people never used to lock their doors in Peterhead," he said. "Now people lock their windows and doors and bolt them too.
"The arrival of the oil in the 1970s coincided with a boom time for fishing and a lot of people moved into the area. There were suddenly huge amounts of money in the town that had never been there before.
"The drug problem began because highly paid young fishermen tried to squeeze as much partying as possible into their time onshore. They turned from drink to so-called softer drugs to heroin and it spread out into the community from there.
The Liberal Democrat veteran said the area around Peterhead and neighbouring port Fraserburgh was once Scotland's bible belt, with the God-fearing respecting Sunday as a day of rest.
He said: "That's all gone now and drug use and lawlessness have increased. When a young beauty queen from a good background is beaten to death, you have got to ask what is going on in our society. This is terrible tragedy that could have happened to any family."
The death of the music-loving youngster, who had worked in the town's B&Q store and the Deja Vu nightclub, is made all the poignant by the revelation that she wanted to start afresh.
"Saranna told me that wanted to get off the smack and get her life sorted out," a friend said last week.
"She had organised getting herself into rehab and was looking forward to going. Sadly she never got to take that chance."
Another friend told of how Buchan's mother, Brenda, had battled in vain to save her daughter from an early death.
"Her mother is a lovely woman who had such high hopes for Saranna," she said.
"When she found out about her problems with drugs, she was constantly watching over and trying to make sure she was okay.
"For the past six months up until the final week, her mother was by her side almost constantly. The death of her only daughter will leave her devastated. My heart goes out to her."
Back by the waterfront, just a few hundred metres from where the former Buchan Gala Princess met a barbaric end, clergyman Shaw is looking to the future.
"We are all hurting badly just now, but I am hopeful that something positive can come from this tragedy. Everyone in the town has been stopped in their tracks by this, but it has also pulled us all together.
"While we mourn for these two people, we must remember the role that drugs played in their deaths. People taking drugs often claim they are hurting no one but themselves.
"The great sadness that you can see and feel all around today shows just how untrue this is."