The daughter of a prostitute murdered by a takeaway boss says she will 'never forgive' him.
Megan Smith, from Glasgow, Scotland, was seething with rage when she saw Zhi Min Chen for the first time in court.
The 25-year-old was at the High Court in Glasgow last month when Zhi admitted murdering her mum Tracey Wylde in her flat in 1997.
Tracey had been working as a prostitute to fund a secret heroin addiction when she agreed to take Chen back to her home.
He choked the 21-year-old to death and vanished without trace – leaving detectives with one Scotland’s most notorious unsolved murders.
Now, Megan has told how she discovered the truth about her mum’s death by searching the internet.
She reveals the anguish of knowing the killer was roaming free for more than 20 years before police suddenly got the breakthrough she had longed for.
Megan was brave enough to attend the High Court in Glasgow to see fast food shop owner Chen, 44, admit the crime.
He is now facing life behind bars when sentenced later this month.
It brought an end to a harrowing wait that started when, aged 11, Megan discovered her mum was a murder victim and a Google search a couple of years later uncovered the full heartbreaking truth.
Megan told the Daily Record : “I’d always wished that someone would be brought to justice and often thought about her killer. The longer I waited, the less confident I was of my wish coming true. When I saw Chen in the dock I could really feel the anger inside me. It took me by surprise.
“I’ll never forgive him for taking a future with my mum from me.
“What he did affected a lot of people. He ruined a lot lives and many people have suffered. I never got the chance to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and Christmas with mum because of Chen.
“I was only three when she was murdered and I don’t remember anything about her. All I have are photographs and what family and friends have told me about her. I feel bitter. Chen is about the same age my mum would’ve been had she still been alive.
“She’d still have been quite young. I’m glad Chen will now spend some of his best years locked up and finally pay for what he did to her.
“It also means that I can hopefully move on with my own life and get some closure.”
Chinese-born Chen was nailed when his DNA matched samples found at Tracey’s top-floor flat in Torryburn Road, Barmulloch, Glasgow.
He was being held for an alleged assault last year when police got the lucky break that had eluded them for 22 years.
Since Tracey’s death, Chen had continued to live in the city, got married and had two children. He had also set up a takeaway restaurant while seemingly living a normal life.
Meanwhile, Megan was being cared for by family members who were desperate to shield her from the full details surrounding her mum’s death.
She recalled how, as a schoolgirl, she was banned by her dad Scott Smith and gran Jean from watching an episode of STV documentary Unsolved which featured Tracey’s murder.
But the internet age meant they were fighting a losing battle and it was only a matter of time before she found out.
Megan, who was brought up by Jean, in Glasgow’s Possil area, said: “I was 11 when I found out my mum had been murdered but I didn’t know how it happened or that she was a sex worker.
“But as I got a older I read stuff online because I wanted more information and started to ask questions.
“It was very upsetting and I eventually watched the documentary on YouTube.”
Shortly after her 18th birthday in 2012, detectives turned up on her doorstep and disclosed more details about her mum’s death because she became next of kin.
She added: “They sat down with me and told me as much as they could. They explained exactly what had happened to my mum but by then it really confirmed what I already knew.”
The following year, Police told her that they had reopened the inquiry as part of a cold case review.
It gave the family fresh hope that their long wait for justice might soon come to an end.
Former student Sougat Mukherjee was arrested in India in 2015 over Tracey’s death and the Crown Office tried to extradite him back to Scotland.
But out of the blue, Megan was told Chen was in the frame after he was arrested in Glasgow city centre last year. Proceedings against Mukherjee have now been dropped.
Megan said: “I was very pleased when I heard about the first arrest. The second arrest closer to home was a shock, it wasn’t expected at all.
“Chen’s conviction has given me all the answers I was looking for. It’s hard accepting he has been able to live a full life until now.
“He got married and had kids. He’s probably had a lot of happy times with his children.
“I never had the chance to enjoy anything with my mum because of him.
“At least his family will be able to visit him in prison.”
Megan revealed she was able to come to terms with her mum being a sex worker in Glasgow’s infamous “drag” to make ends meet while hiding a heroin addiction from her family.
She said: “I was never bothered about what my mum did. She was a human being and my mother and it didn’t make her different from anyone else.
“People have told me that she did her best for me. They say she was a good mum who loved and adored me.
“She was a young mum and was struggling for money so I can understand what she did and why she did it. I’ve had a normal upbringing but the one thing that’s missing has always been my mum.
“I think about her all the time.”
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