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Mcleod family pledge 'to fight for justice no matter how long it takes'

By Gordon Calder

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THE family of Caithness man, Kevin Mcleod, whose body was found in Wick harbour more than 26 years ago, has pledged "to fight for justice no matter how long it takes."

Allan Mcleod – Kevin's uncle – was speaking after it emerged that a police officer who was involved in the initial investigation into the 24-year-old electrician's death, "refused to engage" with a review of the case which was carried out by Merseyside Police.

Mr Mcleod said he and Kevin's parents, June and Hugh Mcleod wonder why the officer did not co-operate.

"We find it disturbing that a retired police officer, who played a major role in the initial investigation refused to engage with the review. His refusal to co-operate, we believe, has clearly left a gap in the investigation to get to the truth. We question why would a former police officer who was heavily involved in the initial investigation regarding Kevin’s death, refuse to assist Merseyside Police with their investigation."

Mr Mcleod explained that the police officer's refusal to co-operate was mentioned in the review report but not highlighted before.

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

He also pointed out that the family and their legal representative are to meet with senior Crown officials in Edinburgh at the end of this month. They will discuss the outcome of a pathology review and injuries Kevin sustained which had not been considered previously.

"This we found deeply disturbing to say the least. Injuries that one medical expert recently described as ‘potentially significant in this case’ – injuries my family believe were caused by Kevin being attacked," said Mr Mcleod.

Senior advocate Lisa Gillespie KC will be at the meeting and will "inform us of her decision and of any further action or enquiries she believes are necessary."

Kevin Mcleod's parents, Hugh and June.
Kevin Mcleod's parents, Hugh and June.

The family has rejected the findings of the Merseyside Police review which stated that Kevin sustained serious injuries by falling on to a lobster creel on board a fishing vessel at the harbour after a night out in Wick in February, 1997. The same conclusion was reached by the then Northern Constabulary after it investigated the case.

Mr Mcleod said there is "not one shred of physical or forensic evidence that Kevin had hit a creel."

He said the pathologists who conducted the post mortem examination informed the then procurator fiscal at Wick that Kevin’s injuries were "possibly consistent with a kicking received several hours prior to death".

"It therefore appears that both Northern Constabulary and Merseyside Police for reasons unknown, clearly ignored the post mortem findings. The family continue to question why police destroyed Kevin’s clothing after being instructed by the fiscal to investigate Kevin’s death as a potential murder."

In its review, Merseyside Police said the investigation undertaken by Northern Constabulary "was ill equipped, under resourced and lacked leadership and direction."

Mr Mcleod said: "Irrespective of the outcome of this meeting in Edinburgh, we will continue our fight to expose the truth in Kevin’s case as encouraged several years ago by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in London in 1993. Like the Lawrence family, we will indeed fight for justice no matter how long it takes".

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