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‘Hand over the report, it’s the least they deserve’: Tory MSP joins fight for Kevin Mcleod’s family to be given uncensored version of review into his death

Russell Findlay (right) is asking the Crown Office to hand over the review into Kevin Mcleod's case to his family.

Kevin Mcleod’s family should be given a fully uncensored version of the review into his case, a Tory MSP has said.

Russell Findlay believes the Crown Office should hand over every detail it has about the case.

Kevin’s family has faced an agonising wait for answers, spanning nearly 25 years.

Much of that time has been spent campaigning for his death to be investigated as a murder.

Police Scotland had asked Merseyside Police to carry out an independent review of the case.

That review concluded in June.

But Kevin’s family are still waiting to hear the findings.

‘The Mcleods are suspicious about new delays’

The Press and Journal last month revealed that the review had been ordered because Police Scotland were not providing enough information.

That revelation and the delay between the review being made public is fuelling the family’s conviction of a cover-up.

Conservative MSP Russell Findlay has written to the Crown Office to ask for an unredacted version of the new review to be given to Kevin’s family as soon as possible.

“It is the least they deserve,” he said. “The Mcleods are suspicious about new delays.

Kevin’s family have been battling for answers for nearly 25 years.

“They suspect this may be an attempt to dilute or subvert whatever uncomfortable conclusions have been reached by the Merseyside team.”

Additional inquiries about pathology evidence have caused some of the recent delays in the case.

Mr Findlay, who worked as a journalist with the Sunday Mail and STV, covered the case earlier in his career.

His other work includes an investigation into the disappearance of Inverkip woman Margaret Fleming, which helped prosecute her killers.

The apology

One of the case’s few breakthroughs came in 2017 when Police Scotland’s then deputy chief constable Iain Livingstone issued an “unreserved apology” to the Mcleods.

He admitted that “basic policing procedures were never carried out and the opportunity to gather vital evidence was missed”.

Mr Livingstone also revealed that the Crown Office had instructed legacy force Northern Constabulary to investigate Kevin’s death as murder.

Wick Harbour

But that never happened.

At the time, Mr Livingstone said: “What happened shouldn’t have happened. I can’t put the clock back. I wish I could.”

Mr Findlay is worried that despite the earlier apology, lessons have still not been learned.

He said: “This order was simply ignored by the police and its existence was somehow kept secret for two decades.

“No-one has explained how the police could do this nor how they could do so with impunity.”

How has Kevin Mcleod’s family responded?

Kevin’s uncle, Allan Mcleod, offered his thanks to Mr Findlay for his support.

He said: “The family appreciates and is grateful for Russell Findlay’s assistance.

“He was shocked to hear of the nightmare the family has been through.”

But the plea for a fully uncensored copy of the report to be provided to the family has been dismissed.

Allan Mcleod. Picture by Sandy McCook

A Crown Office spokesman said that doing so “could breach third party privacy or prejudice any potential future criminal proceedings”.

He added: “A commitment has been given to provide the family with a redacted copy of the report in as close to the original format provided to the Crown.

“The family will be given the opportunity to discuss the investigation and its findings in detail.

“They will also be advised of the reasons for redacting certain information.”

What happened to Kevin Mcleod?

It was initially ruled that Kevin had drowned after suffering internal injuries from a fall.

At the time, local police said his death was “accidental”.

But his family always believed there was more to it.

Progress around the case has been slow.

Allan, Yvonne, June and Hugh McLeod have been campaigning for years since Kevin’s death.

There was hope in 2018 when news of a fresh witness statement emerged.

But to the Mcleods’ dismay, there has been little heard of that since.

Despite everything they have been through, the family is holding onto hope that the latest review will finally uncover the answers they have been waiting for.

Today would have been Kevin’s 49th birthday.

Will his family know the truth before his 50th?

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