MSP in plea over SNP activist's mystery death

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SCOTLAND’s chief prosecutor has been asked to say if the SNP activist Willie MacRae was under surveillance prior to his mysterious death in 1985.

Fergus Ewing, the MSP for Inverness West, Nairn and Lochaber, has called for the meeting with the Lord Advocate in the wake of new claims that MacRae - who died in the Highlands 20 years ago last week - was being tailed by the security services.

MacRae, a Glasgow-based lawyer and prominent Scottish Nationalist, was found dead near the A87 Invergarry-Kyle road at Loch Loyne.

He had been travelling to his holiday home in Kintail on April 6, 1985 when his car left the road and plunged 50 yards down an embankment. He had been killed by a gunshot wound.

Although the authorities ruled at the time that the death was a suicide, many in the Highlands have disputed the official account, claiming that the place the gun was found - in a nearby burn 20 metres away - and the lack of fingerprints meant the verdict of suicide was not credible.

Last week, a retired Glasgow policeman, Donald Morrison, said that he had seen evidence that MacRae had been under surveillance.

Ewing said: "I want the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, to respond to the allegations which have been made by the retired police officer that Mr MacRae was under surveillance. I want him to confirm or deny this."

The MSP said he also wanted the Lord Advocate to review the decision by the chief constable of Northern Constabulary to withhold the publication of the police evidence that they have in the form of a number of witness statements.

He added: "Here’s a policeman who has made quite specific allegations that Willie MacRae was being tailed. It is one of the most curious deaths that have occurred in the second half of the 20th century in Scotland."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said that the department had not yet received any communication from Ewing, and said that the local procurator fiscal had investigated the matter fully at the time.