Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

'Mystery' over man found dead in Musselburgh harbour

Darran Everett and Musselburgh harbour Image copyright Police handout/Google
Image caption Darran Everett's body was discovered in Musselburgh harbour

The drowning of a 25-year-old man in Musselburgh harbour remains a mystery, a coroner has said.

Father-to-be Darran Everett had disappeared from his partner's home in the town in October 2017.

His body was found in the harbour the following day but he was not immediately identified.

In the days beforehand, Mr Everett had been released from prison, and was then arrested after a disturbance, taken to hospital and attacked a nurse.

Before he was released from HMP Barlinnie, Mr Everett, who was from Newbiggin Hall in Newcastle, told police he had tried to use a ligature on himself in prison.

Review ordered into police handling

He left his partner's flat on 12 October, days before his partner was due to give birth to their daughter.

The inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre heard that his body was found the next day in the sea near Musselburgh Harbour and that he had drowned.

A Police Investigations Review Commissioner report was ordered into Police Scotland's handling of the case.

It found that Police Scotland failed to properly record concern for the vulnerable man.

Image caption The inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre heard that he had drowned

As his body was not immediately identified, his partner had continued to phone Police Scotland to see if he had been taken into custody.

Assistant Coroner Andrew Hetherington heard that police found no CCTV evidence of how Mr Everett got from the flat to the sea.

The last confirmed sighting was at 19:00 on 12 October, though his mother Violet told the inquest she had been told by police that a woman had seen someone looking like Mr Everett with a dog at 13:00 on the day his body was found.

The coroner said this was an uncorroborated sighting.

A Police Scotland detective had been expected to give evidence at the hearing, but "sadly forgot" to attend, the coroner said.

He added that he had spoken to the detective on the phone and asked him questions ahead of the inquest.

The coroner recorded an open conclusion, saying: "The exact circumstances of how [Mr Everett] came to be [in the water] remain unknown."

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