Family calls for resignation over inquiry into son’s death

The body of Kevin Mcleod, 24, was recovered from Wick harbour in February 1997 after he had been on a night out with friends. Picture: contributed
The body of Kevin Mcleod, 24, was recovered from Wick harbour in February 1997 after he had been on a night out with friends. Picture: contributed
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The family of a man who died in mysterious circumstances more than 20 years ago have called for the chair of the Scottish Police Authority board to resign over the way their case has been handled.

The body of Kevin Mcleod, 24, was recovered from Wick harbour in February 1997 after he had been on a night out with friends.

Last year Police Scotland admitted Northern Constabulary had failed to treat 
the death as murder, despite an instruction from prosecutors.

The Mcleod family is currently waiting for an explanation from the SPA as to why a review of the case initiated by the last chief constable, Phil Gormley, did not look into why that decision by Northern Constabulary was made.

The SPA wrote to Kevin’s parents, June and Hugh, yesterday, saying additional inquiries were being made with Police Scotland’s Professional Standards Department and with Mr Gormley.

But Allan Mcleod, Kevin’s uncle, called on SPA chair Susan Deacon to resign, accusing her of “deliberately dragging her heels in an attempt to cover up the serious failures of both the police and the SPA”.

He said: “There’s a major issue regarding delays and defensiveness where police officers are accused of neglect of duty or having committed a crime.

“The problem is systemic within Police Scotland, its watchdogs and the Crown Office which clearly undermines public confidence in the processes of holding police to account.”

A report published earlier this year by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) upheld a complaint against the SPA, calling on it to explain to the Mcleods why Mr Gormley did not pass on the instruction to his officers to look at Northern Constabulary’s failure to treat the case as murder in the 1990s.

Detectives re-investigating the death on behalf of Police Scotland have said there is no evidence police officers were involved in Mr Mcleod’s death despite a potential new witness claiming he saw two officers stand watching the 24-year-old struggle in the water on the night he died.

A spokeswoman for the SPA said: “We understand the Mcleod family’s frustration at the time it has taken to implement the Pirc recommendation, which has arisen because of the need to make a number of additional inquiries into the complaints.”