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Police rule out new inquiry into 1997 harbour death

Kevin McLeod's body was discovered at Wick harbour on February 9, 1997.

Kevin McLeod: Family believe he was murdered.
Kevin McLeod: Family believe he was murdered.

Police Scotland have ruled out reopening the investigation into the death of a man 20 years ago.

Kevin McLeod's body was discovered in Wick harbour on February 9, 1997, after a night out with friends.

His family believe the 24-year-old was murdered but no criminal charges have ever been made.

Last month, it emerged that detectives were re-examining evidence gathered during two earlier enquiries, sparking hopes the case might be reopened.

On Tuesday, Police Scotland told Mr McLeod's family that there are no plans for a fresh inquiry.

They said: "We are furious, frustrated and disappointed with the outcome of Police Scotland's re-examination of paperwork relating to the case."

"Northern Constabulary failed us. Police Scotland failed us. The justice system failed us."

'Northern Constabulary failed us. Police Scotland failed us. The justice system failed us.'
Kevin McLeod's family

Police Scotland's head of major crime, detective chief superintendent Gareth Blair, said detectives found no evidence of criminality.

"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," he said.

"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.

"Yesterday, 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 which comes forward."

https://stv.tv/news/highlands-islands/1379704-detectives-re-examine-evidence-in-1997-harbour-death/ | default

A separate internal inquiry is under way into Police Scotland and Northern Constabulary's dealings with the McLeod family.

Mr McLeod's body was found in Wick Harbour the morning after he had gone out with friends to celebrate his upcoming wedding.

A post-mortem revealed he had suffered serious internal injuries, although no definitive cause was established and a fatal accident inquiry returned an open verdict.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/129447-weaknesses-in-northern-constabulary-complaint-handling/ | default

Sutherland and Ross SNP MSP Gail said: "I am disappointed by the outcome and feel for the family. 

"They have campaigned for many years to have this case re-examined and the news that it will not must be so difficult for them to take. 

"The family will continue to have my support in their bid to have the case re-examined."

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