Highlands & Islands

Kevin Mcleod death: Independent review of unsolved case

Kevin Mcleod Image copyright Mcleod Family
Image caption Kevin Mcleod's body was found in Wick harbour in 1997

Police Scotland has asked for an independent review into the death of a man whose body was recovered from Wick harbour 22 years ago.

Kevin Mcleod's family believe he was murdered and have criticised how his death was dealt with in the past.

Why former Northern Constabulary did not investigate the case as a murder as instructed by a Crown official will form part of the review.

Merseyside Police will carry out the "detailed review".

Mr Mcleod's uncle Allan Mcleod told BBC Scotland News online the review was an "unexpected but welcome twist in the case".

He said: "The last 22 years have been exhausting for the whole family.

"We are delighted that everything from 1997 to the present day will now be the subject of an external independent review."

Allan said he believed the review would begin in August or September.

Kevin, a 24-year-old electrician from Wick, was last seen alive in the early hours of 8 February 1997 while on a night out with friends in the Caithness town.

His body was recovered from the sea the following day.

Kevin's parents, June and Hugh Mcleod, have received apologies from the police for how the investigation was handled at the time, and also the responses they had received to complaints about the probe.

The initial investigation into Kevin's death in 1997 by Northern Constabulary will be reviewed, along with all further inquiries carried out by Police Scotland since its formation in 2013.

Image caption Kevin Mcleod's parents June and Hugh and uncle Allan believe the 24-year-old was murdered

Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald said: "Kevin's parents, Hugh and June Mcleod, have suffered unimaginable pain and trauma for more than 20 years as they search for answers regarding his death.

"It is only right that Police Scotland does everything it possibly can to address these unanswered questions."

She added: "As we have said previously, numerous investigations into this case by Police Scotland have confirmed that initial inquiries by Northern Constabulary fell short of the required standard and opportunities to gather vital evidence were missed."

The senior officer said Police Scotland's "unequivocal position" was that it fully accepted an instruction was given by a procurator fiscal to treat Kevin's death as a murder and to investigate it accordingly, which Northern Constabulary at that time failed to do.

She said: "The tragic events surrounding Kevin's death remain unexplained, however we are fully committed to investigating any new evidence which may come to light."

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