Highlands & Islands

'No criminality' in Kevin Mcleod's death in Wick in 1997

Kevin Mcleod Image copyright Mcleod Family
Image caption Kevin Mcleod's body was found in Wick harbour in 1997

No evidence of criminality has been found in a man's death in the Highlands 20 years ago, Police Scotland has said.

Kevin Mcleod's body was found in Wick harbour in February 1997.

The 24-year-old's death was treated as accidental, but his family believe that injuries on his body showed that he was murdered.

An assessment was done of "all information known" regarding the death after contact between his family and chief constable Phil Gormley.

Police said the review had included tracing and speaking to people who were in Wick the night Mr Mcleod died, but who had not previously come forward.

Mr Mcleod's mother, June, told BBC Scotland last month that if the assessment "turned up nothing new" she and her family would continue to fight for a fresh investigation.

A separate assessment has been ordered by the chief constable into the handling by the police of the Mcleod family's complaints since 1997 of how the death was investigated.

Det Ch Supt Gareth Blair, head of major crime at Police Scotland, said the assessment was carried out "in recognition of the continued impact" of Mr Mcleod's death on his parents and "their desire for a conclusive outcome".

He said: "Our sympathies remain with them.

Image caption Kevin Mcleod's parents June and Hugh and uncle Allan believe the 24-year-old was murdered

"It is important to stress, this was not a full reinvestigation of the death itself, but a careful and considered analysis of a significant volume of information which has been recorded relating to the circumstances since 1997.

"Specialist officers from Police Scotland's major crime command undertook this work, which included tracing and speaking to individuals who were in Wick that night and saw Kevin but who had not previously come forward."

Det Ch Supt Blair said he told Mr Mcleod's parents on Tuesday of the conclusion of the assessment.

He said: "I informed Kevin's parents that having carried out this assessment there is no evidence of criminality and his death remains unexplained, leading me to determine that there is no basis on which to launch a full reinvestigation.

"Police Scotland appeals for any witnesses who have information about Kevin's death to come forward and we will fully consider any new and additional information.

"The chief constable has asked the head of professional standards to carry out a separate assessment to ensure that all matters/complaints raised by the family over the years have been appropriately considered and addressed."

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