Skeleton in tent is body of city climber

A SKELETON found in a tent in a Highland forest is that of an Edinburgh man who went missing almost three years ago.

Forestry workers discovered Nicholas Randall's badly-decomposed body in woods near the West Highland Way earlier this month.

Mr Randall, then aged 31, disappeared from his home in the Capital in April 2005, after suffering from depression. His car was found near Glen Nevis three months later.

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There had been several sightings in the West Highland area in the summer of 2005, fuelling speculation that Mr Randall – an experienced hill walker and mountaineer – was living rough.

However, his father in a televised appeal in April 2006 said his worst fear was that his son's body was "lying somewhere in a wood".

Police today confirmed those fears, saying there were no suspicious circumstances after forensic tests confirmed the body was Mr Randall's.

His parents, Bill and Esme, today said in a statement: "We would like to thank the missing persons unit of Lothian and Borders Police for all their assistance and kind support over the last three years. We also thank the press for publicising our son's disappearance.

"Now that his body has been found and recovered, we ask that the media leave us to grieve in peace."

The grisly discovery was made by workers cutting timber in Auch Forest, near Bridge of Orchy, on March 14.

Mr Randall, a town planner, had been signed off work with stress and was staying with his parents at their home in Hillview, off Queensferry Road, Blackhall.

In his televised appeal in 2006, his father said: "My worst fear is that he turned his back on life, not eating, and his body went downhill and he might be lying somewhere in a wood.

"I would love to see him again to hug him and kiss him."

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Mr Randall was a member of a hillwalking group and a keen musician while working in Aberdeen. His parents remembered him as "a happy person, smiling and busy" who also had a "sensitive nature underneath his busy exterior".

A police spokeswoman said: "Police can confirm the body found dead in the Bridge of Orchy on March 14 is that of missing Edinburgh man Nicholas Randall.

"There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. Strathclyde Police are investigating, and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal as is normal in such circumstances."

Today, a friend and former house-mate of Mr Randall described him as a "great guy" who had been "enthusiastic and easy-going".

Liz Meek, 43, a journalist who lives in London, said: "When I heard he was depressed and off work, I invited him to come to Slovakia hot-air ballooning in the winter of 2004. He seemed fine and we had a great time. We knew he was on medication but he was always excitable.

"When he disappeared his mother rang me to ask if I had seem him. After three years, I guess we expected the worst. It's very sad."

Just days before he went missing, Mr Randall was diagnosed with a form of dyslexia which affects the left side of the brain governing comprehension. Nicholas told his parents he was pleased that he may have a "reason" for feeling so low.