A GREENOCK hairdresser is leading a campaign to win justice for the local women who were the victims of a 17th century witch hunt.

Julianna Morrell says it is time that a memorial was put in place to recognise the persecution of women who were accused of black magic and sentenced to death.

She is joining forces with historians, politicians and other campaigners to make the case for an apology through the group Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland.

One of the most high profile victims at the time was Inverkip's Mary Lamont, an 18-year-old who was killed.

A total of 13 women in the area were found guilty of witchcraft.

Julianna has been going round local landmarks linked to the persecution, such as Gourock's Granny Kempock Stone, as she works to highlight her movement.

Julianna, 50, from Fancy Farm, said: "I have had such a huge response locally since I started all this.

"New people are joining all the time.

"The interest in it is massive and it is growing all the time.

"At the end of the day they were not witches, they were women.

"I am middle aged, live on my own and talk to my cats - if I lived back then they would accuse me of being a witch, put me on trial and sentence me to death.

"Scotland was particularly bad for it and it needs to recognised."

The main demands of the group, who are set to hold an conference, are for an apology from the church, a legal pardon from the Scottish Government and a memorial.

The Granny Kempock Stone is considered an old altar to a pagan god and has associations with witchcraft.

The witch trials in Inverkip were likened to the infamous US Salem trials, spearheaded by two ministers - Rev John Hamilton, 1626-1664, and then Rev Alexander Leslie 1665-1684.

The pair were noted as ‘zealous persecutors of witches’