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Merseyside review of Kevin case should be completed by autumn

By Gordon Calder

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Hugh and June McLeod, Kevin's parents, will have to wait until the autumn for the independent review to be completed.
Hugh and June McLeod, Kevin's parents, will have to wait until the autumn for the independent review to be completed.

AN independent review into the death of Kevin McLeod has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic – but should be completed in October.

That is what the McLeod family from Wick have been told following a teleconference meeting between Crown representatives and Merseyside Police, which is carrying out the review.

The meeting provided an update on the progress of the investigation, emerging findings and the next steps to be taken. A further meeting is scheduled for July.

The body of the 24-year-old was found in Wick harbour over 23 years ago. The family believe Kevin was murdered because of the injuries he sustained but the police claim his death was the result of a tragic accident.

Speaking after the latest development, Allan McLeod, Kevin's uncle, said the family were prepared for a delay because of the coronavirus restrictions but claimed: "No matter how long Merseyside’s review takes, the truth needs to be finally exposed to establish why police ignored and failed to act on the procurator fiscal’s specific instruction to investigate Kevin’s death as murder, why police immediately destroyed Kevin’s clothing, and why this criminal negligence by police was hidden from the family by all the authorities involved for two decades. All we want is truth and justice."

Mr McLeod says the family are pleased one of the many issues the review is to focus on will be the actions of the police, the procurator fiscal and the pathologist in the days after Kevin’s death.

They claim their actions "need to be extensively and meticulously investigated" as they are "the very crux of the case".

The family also stress that Police Scotland "fully accepts" the then Northern Constabulary failed to act on the procurator fiscal's instruction to treat Kevin's death as murder.

Kevin was last seen alive in the early hours of February 8, 1997, after a night out with friends. His body was recovered from the harbour the following morning.

A team from Merseyside Police started the review late last year at the request of Police Scotland. Its report is now expected to be completed in October.

The Crown Office is carrying out a separate review into the way the case was handled.

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