It was the murder that shocked a town and left even the most hard-nosed detective feeling sick to his stomach.
Annie Irvine was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her Paisley tenement flat following a sadistic sexual assault back on August 17, 1974.
Her mutilated remains were only discovered when an elderly neighbour went to check on the 57-year-old grandmother and found her lying in a pool of her own blood.
The knife which had been repeatedly used to stab Annie was still lodged in her limp body.
Reports of the horror killing in the Paisley Daily Express at the time included the words of Detective Chief Superintendant Arthur Bell, who was the head of Renfrew’s CID department at the time.
He said: “This is the most repulsive and gruesome killing I have ever seen.”
Now, almost four decades later, police are examining the case again in the hope that justice will finally catch up with Annie’s evil killer.
The Express understands that CID detectives from Paisley are looking over case notes for clues which could give them a fresh lead.
Witnesses who were originally interviewed 38 years ago are also being spoken to again.
And new forensic techniques and updated DNA tests may also be used as cops prove they remain determined to do whatever they can to snare the beast who so callously took Annie’s life.
One source told the Express: “Detectives will quite often take a look at unsolved cases in the hope that new techniques or forensics will cast up something that hasn’t been looked at before.
“These things progress so quickly over the years that evidence which did not look crucial in the past may hold the key to a case once a new test or technique has been applied to it.
“Murder cases which are unsolved are never closed and so it is normal procedure to re-examine them periodically to try to track down whoever was responsible.
“In these cases, you have to be careful not to raise people’s hopes but it’s also important that the search for justice continues.”
Annie had spent the day leading up to her grim end visiting her daughter Yvonne in the Gallowhill area of Paisley before travelling back to the East End of town later that evening.
The widow – who lived alone – was also spotted talking to a man in the Kelburne Bar, in Glasgow Road, but left the pub at around 10.30pm.
That was the last time that Annie – who was also mum to another daughter named Anne – was seen alive.
Two days later, an 81-year-old neighbour noticed that the front door to Annie’s ground-floor flat in Clarence Street had been left ajar.
And, when she looked inside, she found the grandmother’s body lying on her blood-soaked bed.
It was the second murder to rock Renfrewshire that weekend after pretty blonde Catherine Galloway was found floating in the River Gryfe.
Cops soon tracked down the man responsible for that killing but struggled in their search for Annie’s attacker.
A massive manhunt took place, with around 25 detectives and scores more uniformed officers working on the Clarence Street case.
Cops who were on holiday were even ordered to report back for duty as the dragnet centred on the East End of Paisley.
Piles of statements were taken, with around 300 potential witnesses interviewed in an investigation which was described at the time as the biggest Paisley had seen in a decade.
Almost four decades later, Annie’s killer remains free – but the search for justice goes on.
Last night, Strathclyde Police declined to comment on the case.
● Do you have any information about Annie’s death or did you know her and can remember the case? If so, call the Express newsroom on 0141 887 7911.