A MAN whose burning body was found in a park had been cleared of a rape charge days earlier, we can reveal.
William Leiper, 31, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow charged with a serious sexual assault but it’s believed he walked free when the trial collapsed.
His charred corpse was then discovered by dogwalkers near a kids’ play area in the city’s Househill Park.
Tonight family and friends paid tribute to William as cops stood guard at the scene, half a mile from his home in the Pollok housing scheme.
A source said: “Detectives are examining whether the case had anything to do with what happened.
“It’s a line of inquiry but by no means the only one.
“Officers are carrying out full background investigations on him, and the court appearance will be part of that.”
We told how the alert was raised at 7.35am on Wednesday after the corpse was found near a playground in the park, across from a residential street.
Murder cops said “extensive inquiries” are under way to establish what happened to William, left. His death is still being described as “unexplained”.
But police said a home near the park had been searched, with officers stationed outside one property yards from the entrance.
Tonight William’s heartbroken family were too upset to comment. But pals and relatives paid tribute online.
Karen Milligan said: “This doesn’t feel real, baby boy. Can’t get my head around it. Why did it have to be you?
“We need you, we love you, we miss you. I’d give anything to bring you back.
“I have no words for the way you were taken from us.
“I wish it was just a bad dream, but it’s not. My heart is absolutely broken. Love you always, miss you forever.”
A friend added: “So sad – no one deserves this, thoughts are with his family. Hope you’re up there back in the arms of your wee mum, son.”
Locals told how they could smell burning before William’s body was recovered.
Police forensics teams were today seen entering blue incident tents in white overalls, while a metal cordon shielded them from view.
Extra cops have been patrolling streets in the area.
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The investigation is being led by Detective Superintendent Andrew Patrick.
Tonight he urged joggers, dogwalkers and cyclists who were in the park before the find to come forward.
He said: “The smallest detail could help us.”
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