Highlands & Islands

Mum of man found dead in harbour tells of 20-year heartache

Kevin Mcleod Image copyright Mcleod Family
Image caption Kevin Mcleod's body was found in Wick harbour

The mother of a man found dead in a harbour 20 years ago has told how every day since has been a "sad day" while they seek answers to why he died.

Kevin Mcleod's body was found in Wick harbour in February 1997. His death was treated as accidental, but his family believe he was murdered.

Police Scotland has agreed to assess information relating to his death.

June Mcleod told BBC Scotland that if this review "turns up nothing new" she and her family would fight on.

Mrs Mcleod, her husband Hugh and Kevin Mcleod's uncle Allan have been campaigning for a criminal investigation into the 24-year-old's death.

On the 20th anniversary of her son's death, Mrs Mcleod said: "Every day is a sad day - for 20 years."

She said over that time she has refused to accept the explanation put forward by the authorities that he went into the harbour's waters after tripping on an ornamental street bollard while out at night.

Mrs Mcleod said: "Kevin was given a kicking by someone or some people.

"Kevin was kicked to death. It is terrible for me to say that as I am his mother."

Image caption Kevin Mcleod's parents June and Hugh and uncle Allan say they are fighting for justice for the 24-year-old

The Mcleod family believe there are people in Wick who know who is responsible.

Mrs Mcleod and her husband secured a fresh assessment of information relating to the case after taking part in a radio station's phone-in with Police Scotland's chief constable Phil Gormley.

She said if the review did not answer her family's questions they would continue their fight for them.

Her husband added: "We are fighting for justice."

Northern Constabulary, the force that investigated Mr Mcleod's death at the time, was criticised for its handling of the Mcleod family's complaints about its investigations.

His family have consistently criticised police for not treating his death as a murder. They have also said a fatal accident inquiry held into the death "raised more questions than answers".

In 2007, the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland said Northern Constabulary behaved with "institutional arrogance" in the way it handled complaints from Mr Mcleod's parents, Hugh and June Mcleod.

It ordered the then chief constable, Ian Latimer, to apologise in person to his relatives, which the senior officer did.

Mr Mcleod's father said he hoped the new review would examine all documents and other evidence concerning his son's death.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP, Gail Ross, said the Mcleod family had "been through hell" and deserved a thorough investigation of what happened the night Kevin Mcleod died.

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