Monday, October 22, 2007

Northern Constabulary guilty of failures of investigation in unexplained Wick Harbour death

A report compiled four years ago by Andrew Cameron, chief constable of Central Police into Northern Constabulary's investigation into the death of 24 year old Kevin McLeod, and kept secret until now, reveals a disgraceful catalogue of errors on the part of Northern Constabulary which remain without explanation.

The incident, investigated by Northern Constabulary as a 'sudden death', although long thought to be a murder, raises significant questions over the performance of both the Police & Crown Office, where it also comes to light the opinion of one of the prosecutors , Procurator Fiscal Alasdair MacDonald, who believed the death of Kevin McLeod to be suspicious, was left out of the report ....

Kevin Mcleod's family await not only an apology, but a proper investigation and accounting of what happened to their son.

The Sunday Mail reports :

Blunder Cops Rapped Over Dead Clubber

Oct 21 2007 By Marion Scott

Exclusive: Police Chief Accuses Officers Of 'Inexplicable' Errors In Harbour Death Probe

A SENIOR police officer has found colleagues guilty of "inexplicable" blunders in their investigation of a 24-year-old clubber's death.

Kevin McLeod's grieving family are convinced three men battered him to death and dumped him in Wick Harbour.

Now for the first time an official police report reveals damning evidence that Northern Constabulary were wrong to dismiss Keith's death as accidental.

The report by Andrew Cameron, chief constable of Central Police, was kept under wraps for four years and only released after pressure from Kevin's family.

It slams Northern for not apologising to the family and calls for a shake-up in the way they investigate sudden deaths.

Mistakes highlighted by the Cameron report include:

Failing to realise the significance of diamond-shaped marks on Kevin's body even after a procurator fiscal instructed them to treat the death as suspicious.

Failing to keep the clothes worn by Kevin at the time of his death as evidence.

Failing to photograph and record Kevin's injuries properly. Electrician Kevin, 24, was found dead in Wick harbour 10 years ago after a night out at the town's Waterfront Club.

His father Hugh and mother June have battled to prove he was murdered and not the victim of a tragic accident as police insist.

His spleen, liver and pancreas were ruptured and he lost so much blood he would have been unable to get up on his own.

The Cameron inquiry calls for Northern to review management of suspicious deaths, training and staffing.

Cameron stated: "The failure of the force to seize, retain and submit for examination the clothing worn by KevinMcLeod remains inexplicable."

He added: "The efficiency with which photographic evidence of injury was initially instructed and secured and subsequently assessed over a period of three years is open to question.

"It is not helped by what appears to be a lack of acknowledgement by the force and the Department of Pathology, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness as to the potential significance of the "diamond" pattern mark on the body of Kevin McLeod." Cameron concluded:

"It is this inquiry's view that had the existence and significance of the marks been properly recognised, the investigation may well have been directed differently.

"It is the conclusion of this inquiry that the McLeod family are entitled to an apology from Northern Constabulary over the patent lack of communication of their complaints."

The Cameron report was completed in 2003 but only given to the family this year following a freedom of information request.

A second investigation into Northern's handling of the case by the new Police Complaints Comissioner Jim Martin is expected later this year.

Kevin's uncle Allan McLeod, 49, said: "Even though the Cameron Report supports everything we've known for 10 years, we do not believe anyone will ever be brought to justice for killing Kevin.

"We know the names of three men we believe were responsible for Kevin's death.

"But we have not one shred of confidence that the police will ever do anything about it because they do not want to admit they are wrong.

"We have not received any proper apology from the force."

Northern Constabulary said: "As a result of this independent inquiry, all issues raised by the McLeod family have been dealt with.

"Consideration was given to where improvements could be made and these have been implemented.

"The case has been subject to a great deal of scrutiny and the chief constable will not be reopening the inquiry."

Riddle Of Prosecutor Whose Evidence Was Ignored

Oct 21 2007

Exclusive: Police Chief Accuses Officers Of 'Inexplicable' Errors In Harbour Death Probe

ONE man's verdict on whether Kevin was murdered is missing from the Cameron report.

The victim's family believe Procurator Fiscal Alasdair MacDonald could be key to mounting a case - but he was not interviewed by Chief Constable Cameron. Kevin's uncle Allan McLeod said: "We're incensed that the very man who believed Kevin's death was suspicious was missed out of this report.

"He should have been the first person to be interviewed and the fact he wasn't can only raise our suspicions of a cover-up."

Central Police said questions on the Cameron Report should be answered by the Northern Joint Police Board.

But the Northern Joint Police Board insisted they were "unable to comment".

In the report, Cameron claims MacDonald was "unavailable" to be interviewed. But in a further twist MacDonald has written to the McLeod family saying he would have been happy to co-operate.

He wrote: "Whilst I have no wish to add to the controversy surrounding this matter, I fear I must. I cannot imagine upon what possible basis I could be described as unavailable for interview.

"Despite researches, neither my office manager nor I have any recollection of any contact by the author of this report."

The Crown Office said they did not have "anything further to add" to MacDonald's comments.

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