Family 'devastated' after body find at Bo'Ness house

Media caption,
There was a significant police presence at the house after the discovery.

The family of a man who has been missing for almost a month have said they are "devastated" after a body was found at his home in Bo'Ness.

Arnold Mouat, 64, was last seen at an address in Panbrae Road on 6 July.

In a statement, his family said they were "devastated by the loss of a loving husband and father" and were now "trying to come to terms with what has happened".

Police have not yet formally identified the remains.

However, Supt Martin Fotheringham, of Police Scotland, earlier said: "This is a tragic set of circumstances and our thoughts and sympathies are with the Mouat family as they come to terms with their loss."

He said the force had referred its handling of the case to the police watchdog.

Officers had made a number of public appeals in an effort to trace Mr Mouat, who was originally from Shetland, since his disappearance last month.

Image caption,
Arnold Mouat, 64, was last seen at an address in Panbrae Road on 6 July

They asked people living in the Bo'ness, West Lothian and Falkirk areas to check their outhouses, gardens and garages.

Search and rescue officers, a dog unit, and a helicopter were deployed in a bid to find him.

A public search of the local area by 59 volunteers was also carried out.

The family statement added: "We would like to thank everyone for the support we have received over these last few difficult weeks but would now ask for our privacy to be respected so that we have the time and space to grieve in peace."

Police confirmed that a body was discovered at Mr Mouat's family home in Panbrae Road at about 14:45 on Saturday.

They are treating Mr Mouat's death as unexplained but not suspicious. A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

Timeline of events

  • 6 July - Arnold Mouat is last seen at his home in Panbrae Road at 23:30.
  • 7 July - Mr Mouat is believed to have left the property at some time during the early hours.
  • 11 July - Police ask the public to check gardens, garages and outhouses. Officers say they are "very concerned" for Mr Mouat's welfare.
  • 13 July - More than 50 volunteers join in the police search, which includes sniffer dogs and a helicopter.
  • 14 July - Mr Mouat's family issue an appeal for information.
  • 4 August - Police issue a renewed appeal four weeks after Mr Mouat's disappearance.
  • 5 August - A body is found at Mr Mouat's home in Bo'ness.

Supt Fotheringham said: "Following a review of our response to this incident, Police Scotland has referred this matter to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

"We will provide them with all the necessary assistance and support they require during their investigation.

"I would like to thank those members of the public and media who responded to our appeal for information, in particular those who assisted with searching for Mr Mouat.

"We are continuing to support Mr Mouat's family with dedicated family liaison officers and will continue to offer any assistance we can throughout this difficult time."

A spokeswoman for the PIRC said it had launched an investigation into the response from Police Scotland.

"This investigation is in the very early stages and a report will be sent to the chief constable in due course," she added.

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