External police force to review unsolved harbour death
The family of Kevin Mcleod believe the 24-year-old electrician from Caithness was murdered.
Police Scotland has requested the help of another force to investigate the unexplained death of a man whose body was recovered from Wick Harbour more than 20 years ago.
The family of Kevin Mcleod, 24, believe he was murdered and have lodged numerous complaints over the police's handling of the case.
Mr Mcleod's family were told on Wednesday that chief constable Iain Livingstone has asked Merseyside Police to carry out a detailed review of the case.
Assistant chief constable Gillian MacDonald said: "Kevin's parents, Hugh and June Mcleod, have suffered unimaginable pain and trauma for more than 20 years as they search for answers regarding his death.
"It is only right that Police Scotland does everything it possibly can to address these unanswered questions.
"That is why the chief constable has asked Merseyside Police to assess all the circumstances surrounding Kevin's death to assist Police Scotland detectives with their review of the case."
Mr Mcleod, an electrician, was last seen in the early hours of February 8, 1997, as he enjoyed a night out with friends in the Caithness town.
His body - which had suffered internal injuries - was recovered from the sea the following day.
In December 2017, Police Scotland's then deputy chief constable Iain Livingstone apologised to Mr Mcleod's family after an internal investigation revealed that basic procedures were not followed during the investigation into his death.
The Northern Constabulary - now the Highlands & Islands Division - was given instruction by the then Procurator Fiscal to treat Mr Mcleod's death as a murder, but failed to do so.
The initial investigation into Mr Mcleod's death in 1997 by Northern Constabulary will now be reviewed, along with all further inquiries carried out by Police Scotland since its formation in 2013.
Assistant chief constable MacDonald added: "As we have said previously, numerous investigations into this case by Police Scotland have confirmed that initial inquiries by Northern Constabulary fell short of the required standard and opportunities to gather vital evidence were missed.
"It is Police Scotland's unequivocal position that we fully accept that an instruction was indeed given by the then Procurator Fiscal to treat Kevin's death as a murder and to investigate it accordingly, which Northern Constabulary at that time failed to do.
"The tragic events surrounding Kevin's death remain unexplained, however we are fully committed to investigating any new evidence which may come to light.
"I would urge anyone in both Wick and the wider area who may have any information they feel could help our investigations to please come forward."