McLeod family's 'positive' meeting with Merseyside Police
THE family of Kevin McLeod described their meeting with Merseyside Police this week as "worthwhile and positive" as they continue to seek answers over his death more than 22 years ago.
Kevin's body was found in Wick harbour on February 9, 1997, and the family have long campaigned to have the case investigated as murder because of injuries found on his body.
At the meeting in Inverness on Tuesday, June and Hugh McLeod, Kevin's parents, together with his uncle and aunt, Allan and Yvonne McLeod, met up with officers from Merseyside who are conducting an independent review of the case.
In a statement, Allan McLeod said the family welcomed the involvement of Merseyside Police.
He said the issues surrounding the case "could only be described as the biggest cover-up in the history of policing and justice in Scotland" and talked of how "the entire Scottish justice system" had failed them badly.
Kevin, an electrician, was 24 when he died. Because of the injuries on his body, the McLeod family believe he was murdered and have been fighting a campaign to have the original police verdict of accidental death overturned.
In the statement, Allan McLeod went on: "We hope that Merseyside Police will leave no stone unturned to finally establish why police had failed to act on the fiscal's specific instruction to investigate Kevin's death as murder, and why did police destroy Kevin’s clothing in the process?
"Why was this gross misconduct by police concealed from the family by the authorities for over 20 years? Why has no murder investigation ever been undertaken?
"And finally – for Merseyside Police to hopefully establish who killed Kevin."
Speaking on behalf of the other family members, he said the meeting with with Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley and Kevin Clague, head of Merseyside Police serious crime review unit, had been "worthwhile and positive" and the family were informed that six retired detectives were already reviewing the case.
"These experienced detectives had made significant progress to date, and more detectives would be drafted in as the review progresses," he told the Groat on Wednesday morning.
"They also informed us that their review will investigate the roles of police officers and Crown officials who were connected in any way to the case. They estimated that the review would possibly take up to nine months or longer, and that they hoped to meet again early next year, possibly in January, to provide the family with an update on progress."
Police Scotland had already admitted that the former Northern Constabulary failed to act on a instruction from the Wick Procurator Fiscal to treat Kevin's death as a potential murder case. An apology has since been issued to the family.
Allan McLeod said: "The family is happy that we finally have experienced homicide detectives investigating Kevin’s death, unlike the 'Keystone Cops' in Caithness, who in 1997, had very little or no experience in investigating suspicious deaths."
Kevin's mother, June McLeod, thought the meeting went very well. "They said it was a sad day for the family and they felt as sad as us having to do that interview because of the circumstances," she said.
"We were all pleased to hear that they [Merseyside Police] had made significant progress to date."