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Family of Stefan Sutherland welcome fresh police investigation


By Jean Gunn

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Stefan Sutherland was found dead in September 2013 after being missing for 11 days.
Stefan Sutherland was found dead in September 2013 after being missing for 11 days.

THE family of Stefan Sutherland have welcomed Police Scotland's decision to carry out a fresh investigation into his unexplained death.

Stefan's father, Sandy Sutherland, said today he was feeling optimistic about the outcome.

"I feel that this time we are going to get somewhere," he said. "It has been a long time coming but it is now happening.

"I have waited six years for this."

Two officers from Police Scotland – Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins and Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie – visited the family in Caithness on Wednesday to give them the news about the re-examination of the case.

Assistant Chief Constable Hawkins said: “I was very pleased to have met with the Sutherland family and to have updated them on the ongoing review by Police Scotland into their son Stefan’s death.

“I expressed my deepest sympathies for their loss and reassured them that this review, carried out by a team of detectives, will look at all aspects of Stefan’s tragic death.

“I would also like to reassure everyone in the local community that officers are reviewing all information previously gathered from witnesses over the coming weeks.

“We will keep the family fully updated as this work progresses and I would again urge anyone locally who may have information they feel could help officers to please come forward and speak to us.”

He explained to the family that a dedicated, experienced team of six officers from Aberdeen and Dundee would be going around all the different locations where Stefan had been, including where he lived as well as his parents' home.

It has been six long years trying to get to this point.

The detectives started their door-to-door enquiries in Lybster on Thursday.

Stefan's sister Katrina Sutherland said today: "They are going to track down all the people who were interviewed previously and look at the pathology and the forensics again."

Commenting on the review of her brother's death, Mrs Sutherland said: "It is encouraging for the family.

"It has been six long years trying to get to this point. We are extremely grateful for all the support and help we have had along the way.

"We will just have to wait and see. We have had promises made before, but we are more optimistic than we were previously."

Twenty-five-year-old Stefan was found dead in September 2013 after being missing for 11 days. His body was discovered by a member of the public on the shoreline at Occumster, near the family home at The Moorings.

Stefan had been last seen entering a house at Lybster's Shelligoe Road on September 6, 2013.

In February 2015 the family launched a Facebook site, Justice 4 Stefan, to try to establish the truth about what happened to him. Over the years they have continued to campaign for a fresh inquiry into the case.

The Facebook page has attracted a huge following with more than 2700 likes and the fresh inquiry has sparked numerous comments with people supporting what is seen as a long overdue decision.

The exhumation of Stefan's body remains an option in the re-investigation.



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