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Family of man found dead in harbour 'failed' by police

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

Kevin McLeod: Found dead in Wick Harbour in 1997.
Kevin McLeod: Found dead in Wick Harbour in 1997.

The family of a man found dead in the Highlands more than 20 years ago have received an apology from police.

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 and say Northern Constabulary - now known as the Highlands and Islands Division - mishandled the case.

Police Scotland deputy chief constable Iain Livingstone has now apologised to the family, saying there is "no doubt" basic procedures were not followed.

"I have today met with Mr and Mrs Mcleod to personally apologise for the policing response to their son's death in 1997," Mr Livingstone said on Friday.

"Numerous investigations have substantiated the family's belief that there were serious failings on the part of Northern Constabulary in both the initial and subsequent handling of this case.

"There is no doubt that basic policing procedures were never carried out and the opportunity to gather vital evidence was missed. Legacy policing services undoubtedly failed this family."

'There is no doubt that basic policing procedures were never carried out and the opportunity to gather vital evidence was missed.'
Deputy chief constable Iain Livingstone

Mr Livingstone said it is now impossible to say if Mr McLeod's death was murder, as his family believe.

He said: "Police Scotland has come to the conclusion that, because of the initial police investigation failures and based upon the evidence now available, we are unable to present any evidence which would clearly indicate the circumstances surrounding the cause of Kevin's death."

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.

Earlier this year, Police Scotland ruled out reopening the inquiry into his death.

Northern Constabulary merged with seven other regional forces to form Police Scotland in April 2013.

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