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Investigation into death of young Wick man due to be discussed by Scotland's top legal officers

By Gordon Calder

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SCOTLAND's top legal officers – the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General – are expected to discuss the findings of an independent police investigation into the death of a young Wick man almost 25 years ago.

That is what the Crown Office told the family of 24-year-old Kevin Macleod, whose body was found in Wick harbour in February 1997 after a night out in the town. The family believe Kevin was murdered because of his injuries but the police maintain his death was the result of a tragic accident.

The case has been the subject of a number of investigations, the most recent being one carried out by Merseyside Police. Its report, which contains 357 pages and 1300 source documents, has been completed and passed to the Crown.

Earlier this month, the Crown told the Macleods discussions with the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain and Solicitor General, Ruth Charteris are anticipated in "the next few weeks" on the report's "emerging conclusions." A summary of the material is being prepared for the family and a meeting with them is due to take place in late September.

Kevin's parents, June and Hugh Macleod and his uncle Allan Macleod are pleased the Crown is "making good progress in its consideration of the report and its recommendations".

June McLeod holds a portrait of her son Kevin who died in 1997. Picture: DGS
June McLeod holds a portrait of her son Kevin who died in 1997. Picture: DGS

Speaking on behalf of the family, Allan Macleod, said: "We trust that the summary report to be given to us will be provided in sufficient time to fully absorb its contents before possibly meeting to discuss its findings at the end of September with Crown officials and the Merseyside team.

"Over the years, we have consistently had the truth hidden from us and seen potentially guilty parties escape any consequences.

"Lies have been told and reports redacted to a level that renders some of them almost meaningless. While appreciating the effort that appears to have been put into this latest inquiry the proof will be when we are allowed to see as much of the report as possible."

Mr Macleod added: "We were victims of serious systemic failures by both police and the Crown. The truth regarding this epic scandal must now be fully exposed in what we continue to describe as the biggest cover-up in the history of policing and justice in Scotland.

"Both the police and the Crown ... ought to hang their heads in shame in the way that they have treated us. The wheels of justice are grinding slowly but, hopefully, grinding towards a successful conclusion. No family should ever have to fight for justice, which after nearly 25 years campaigning has drained us mentally, financially and emotionally.

"We are extremely anxious but hopeful that Merseyside’s report will provide the answers we have been seeking for nearly quarter of a century and that justice and accountability, in some form, will prevail, so that we can have closure to properly grieve for Kevin, and finally try to move forward as a family. All we want is justice for Kevin".

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