Web tributes to shooting victim fail to clear up mystery

Share this article

THE family and friends of Martyn Barclay continue to leave almost hourly messages on websites set up in tribute to the father-of-one who was gunned down 19 days ago.

Some return time and again to post another memory or offer a pledge to look out for his young son Michael, but all seem unable to explain how or why he was killed.

The question also lingers in the Inch, where the community remains in shock after the 26-year-old was found with a bullet wound to his head in the quiet residential street.

Detectives leading the murder hunt are playing their cards close to their chest, offering few details about the investigation except that "inquiries are ongoing".

The weapon – believed to be a handgun – is still missing and no descriptions have been issued of any suspects wanted in connection with the shooting.

But rumours swirling in the area seem to suggest that detectives are likely to be facing a complex case with a number of suspects, theories and motives being offered up.

While Mr Barclay has been described by neighbours as a "nice, quiet guy", others talk of an alleged link to a major drug dealer based in the Inch, who is believed to supply much of the Capital's cocaine trade.

That gangster and his young associates were locked in a bitter personal feud with rivals from Granton which led to five shootings in as many weeks last year.

Some say Martyn Barclay was the first fatality in a war between gangs believed to be armed with pistols and shotguns.

One source, who lives in north Edinburgh and has knowledge of the Granton gang, said there had been talk in the neighbourhood that the shooting was a deadly escalation of that bloody battle, but it was quickly dismissed.

A number of the senior gang members are currently in prison awaiting trial and are no longer walking the streets.

The source said: "The guys still on the outside probably would've screwed it up. The ones left are not known to be the most together people and they probably would've been caught by now.

"It could've been ordered from the jail but I doubt they'd risk it.

"But the young guys might be worried that the Inch dealers will come back at them for revenge if they think they're responsible."

Police chiefs have played down local fears that the shooting was part of a mounting drug war, describing it as a "one-off" and insisting the streets remain safe.

But there is speculation among a number of sources that police pursuing intelligence on the murder may decide to obtain warrants for surveillance, including electronic listening devices, on members of the Inch gang, or raid their homes. It is understood that police investigating a murder in Granton last summer staged a number of raids on local dealers as part of their inquiry, perhaps using the opportunity to gain further information on their activities.

It was reported that Mr Barclay had received a warning from Lothian and Borders Police officers stating that they had received intelligence that he could be targeted following alleged trouble over the past relationships of his girlfriend, Caroline Igoe.

Some locals are saying that Mr Barclay may have acquired a gun himself, perhaps as protection, and either accidentally shot himself outside the home or been hit after a tussle over the weapon.

Police carried out searches of the surrounding streets and gardens and suspended the council's wheelie bin collection in the area until they could all be checked. A special vehicle was drafted in to probe nearby drains in Old Dalkeith Road in the hunt for the gun.

Although standard procedure, these activities led some to suggest that the gun may have been hidden in the minutes after an accidental shooting. Police sources say that anyone carrying out a "hit", professional or otherwise, would be unlikely to leave behind a potentially crucial piece of evidence for police to find.

But, last week, police chiefs dismissed suggestions that Mr Barclay had shot himself, either accidentally or on purpose.

Detectives are already likely to know what type of gun was used in the shooting, even if they have not been able to recover the weapon.

Ballistics experts would have carried out analysis on any bullets or fragments recovered from Mr Barclay's body. In many instances, distinctive marks would be able to confirm whether a silencer had been used to subdue the sound of the gunshot as neighbours apparently reported hearing nothing in the tranquil road that morning.

Experts would be able to determine at what range Mr Barclay was hit from the bullet's trajectory and his wounds. The tests could determine if the victim was hit close up, perhaps by someone he knew and allowed to approach, or whether he was shot from behind or at a distance.

Mr Barclay is believed to have lived with his 31-year-old girlfriend, who once modelled for FHM magazine, at the home in Hazelwood Grove. It was not known whether the couple had been out on Friday night before returning home and still been up at 6am, or whether Mr Barclay was shot after waking up early that Saturday morning.

It is understood that Ms Igoe was by his bedside in hospital when he lost his fight for life nearly 24 hours after the shooting.

Said to have been left "devastated" by her loss, she left flowers at the spot where he was found but has been too upset to talk publicly about the ordeal.

Ms Igoe was rushed to hospital herself in the early hours of the morning four days after his death following a reported overdose.

Details on Mr Barclay himself remain relatively sketchy. His tribute sites paint a picture of a fun-loving young man with close ties to his family and many friends.

But local suggestions that he was linked to the Inch drug gang, perhaps even operating as a runner, have yet to be refuted by anyone publicly.

Meanwhile, reports have suggested that Mr Barclay was a close friend of James Docherty, 25, who last month stole a BMW with a sleeping toddler in the back from outside a pub in Jock's Lodge.

Some individuals leaving messages to the Hibs fan on websites seem to have affiliations with the notorious Easter Road casuals, the Capital City Service (CCS).

A message, apparently from an ex-girlfriend, says he was a "wild one" and alleges when the pair met at New Year in Leith Walk they "both had hammers on us".

A police spokesman said today: "Police continue to investigate the fatal shooting in Hazelwood Grove on January 17.

"We have been encouraged by the support that we have received from the public on this matter as we continue to see people come forward to help with our inquiries.

"We are still eager to speak to anyone who may have been in the area at the time, including four teenagers who were on the footpath that runs from Walter Scott Avenue to the bus stop on Old Dalkeith Road at around 3pm on Monday, January 19.

"During the first couple of weeks of the investigation, a police caravan remained on scene as police appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"The caravan has since left the location. However, additional high-visibility patrols remain ongoing in the area and we would encourage anyone who still has information to contact police immediately on 0131-311 3131 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."


6am Saturday, January 17: Martyn Barclay is found with a gunshot wound to his head outside his home in Hazelwood Grove in the Inch. Later that day he is taken by ambulance from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to the neurology unit at the Western General Hospital but he dies overnight.

Monday, January 19: Police continue door-to-door inquiries.

Tuesday, January 20: Detectives appeal for a mystery couple who visited a local garage on the morning of the shooting to come forward.

Wednesday, January 21: The victim's parents make an appeal for information about their son's murder.

Thursday, January 22: Police insist the shooting was a "one-off" and play down rumours of an escalating drugs war in Edinburgh.

Friday, January 23: The victim's girlfriend, Caroline Igoe, is rushed to hospital, with police refusing to comment on reports that she took an overdose.

Saturday, January 24: Police question passers-by and neighbours near the murder scene a week after the killing.

Monday, January 26: The city council's community wardens are drafted in to help reassure residents and pass out appeals for information.

Tuesday, January 27: Police check sewers near Hazelwood Grove in search for the murder weapon and any other evidence.