A man has appeared in court accused of neglecting a 13 year-old boy, who later took ill on a number 4 Lothian Bus in the city and died.
Derek McNeill allegedly had care of Blake Ross at his home in Edinburgh in February 2017.
The 51 year-old is said to have abandoned the sick teenager on a bus before he passed away in hospital.
McNeill yesterday denied the allegations during a short hearing at the High Court in Glasgow.
He first faces a charge under the Children and Young Persons Act.
It spans between February 11 and 13 2017 listing a number of address including McNeill’s house in Barn Park, Clovenstone.
The indictment includes claims McNeill knew Blake was a “missing person” and on his own with a medical condition needing treatment when he took him to his home.
It is said McNeill was someone who had “parental responsibilities” or was in “charge or care of a child”.
The charge alleges he did “wilfully neglect, expose and abandon” Blake causing him “unnecessary suffering or injury”
McNeill is said to have failed to inform the authorities Blake – a resident at St Katharine’s care unit in Howdenhall – was in his care.
Blake allegedly spent the two nights there in “unsanitary conditions”.
It is further claimed McNeill did not get medical help for Blake and, despite his “deteriorating condition”, he then “abandoned” the boy unsupervised on a bus in the
Capital’s Murrayburn Road.
Prosecutors state Blake went on to develop ketoacidosis – a complication linked to diabetes – and died on February 13 2017 at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in the city.
McNeill is then accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the Police Scotland investigation into Blake’s death.
It includes claims he briefly saw Blake on February 11 and did not see him again until two days later when he helped check the boy’s blood with a monitor.
McNeill also allegedly told police Blake had never been in his home.
It also alleged McNeill deleted his mobile phone call history.
He further faces separate claims under the Sexual Offences Act in connection with Blake.
Both McNeill’s lawyer Brian Gilfedder and prosecutor Jane Farquharson QC said they were ready for a trial date to be set for the case to proceed.
But, due to the current coronavirus pandemic, which had seen jury trials scrapped until earlier this week – that was not possible.
Judge Lord Arthurson instead fixed a further hearing for September 16 in Edinburgh.
It is expected any trial could last around 10 days.
Tributes flooded in for tragic karate enthusiast Blake following his death.
In 2016, Blake was chosen by Edinburgh Leisure as the star of their fireworks display at Meadowbank Stadium, and was given the opportunity to press the button to
begin the display after he appeared in one of their films. However, sadly the display was cancelled due to bad weather.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.
Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.