NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Mother's anger after son's body lay in padlocked flat for weeks

Michael Stewart
Image caption Michael Stewart's body was found earlier this month in Aberdeen

The mother of a man whose body lay for weeks in an Aberdeen flat which had been padlocked shut has blamed council policy for him not being found sooner.

The body of Michael Stewart, 32, was found in his home after his family reported him missing.

Jane Grant said the council had told her the flat had not been checked first, and said: "It's a disgrace."

The council is now updating its policy for securing homes which are believed to be vacant.

Image caption Mr Stewart was found in his flat in Balnagask Avenue

Mr Stewart's body was found on 8 March when police broke into the building in Balnagask Avenue after his family reported him missing. It had been locked in February.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the property was checked before Mr Stewart's door was padlocked.

However, Mrs Grant told BBC Scotland: "I think that the council have already stated to me that the property was not checked before they padlocked my son in the building.

"They have only now decided to update the policy, every one will now be checked.

"It should have been policy from the word go. It only takes two minutes to look and check."

Image caption Jane Grant said she held the council accountable for her son's body lying for so long

She said she held the council accountable for her son's body being left in the flat for two months.

"He could have been found so much earlier," she said.

"I want them to take full responsibility. I will not stop fighting for my boy."

Mrs Grant said her son had been sent a letter offering him a permanent tenancy on a property, and that the council had been aware that he had epilepsy.

"It should have rung alarm bells, why is Michael not getting back to us?" she said.

"Maybe we should go up and check on him? Never happened."

'Provide support'

Mrs Grant, from Yorkshire, added: "Family and friends are distraught, they are heartbroken. I can't explain to you how hurt I am.

"At this very moment in time anger is taking over, and my anger is directed at the council.

"I think this is negligence on the council's part."

A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council confirmed it had spoken to Mr Stewart's family and was supporting the police investigation.

He added: "We have carried out a review of the council's actions and can confirm the property was locked in February following an insecure external door being reported.

"We are committed to updating our procedures in relation to securing properties that are believed to be vacant.

"We will continue to liaise with Mr Stewart's family and provide support. We respect the privacy of the family at this time and it would not be appropriate to comment further."

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