Detectives probing the mystery death of Kevin MacLeod at Wick Harbour 21 years ago are returning to the Highlands this week to interview new witnesses.
Police Scotland revealed they were to speak to 15 potential witnesses following new information being provided in the case back in January.
Officers from the specialist homicide division are this week travelling north from the central belt to carry out new inquiries.
The development comes after an alleged eyewitness had come forward claiming he had heard a commotion, a splash and witnessed two people – who he said were police officers – watching 24-year-old electrician Kevin struggle in the water in the early hours of February 8, 1997.
The Press and Journal understands that one new witness being interviewed this week has information relating to alleged involvement of police officers at the scene.
Mr Macleod’s uncle, Allan, said: “The family are glad to see that Police Scotland remain focused on the case by following up leads and interviewing yet further witnesses.
“Police Scotland we believe have carried out more inquiries in a very short period, far more than Northern Constabulary had ever undertaken from the time of Kevin’s death until they were disbanded.
“The family at the time of Kevin’s death pleaded to Northern Constabulary detectives that this case was way out of their league and to get the big boys up. However, they insisted that they were all trained to the same high standard, of which the family strongly disagreed.”
The family, including Kevin’s parents Hugh and June, are convinced the young electrician dead as a result of foul play, and believe he was murdered.
They were given a personal apology last year by Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, currently the most senior officer in Scotland, over the handling of the case – and in particular the fact police failed to act on the procurator fiscal’s specific instruction to investigate the death as murder.
Allan Macleod added: “We will never forgive Northern Constabulary for the 21 years of hell and torture that they have put us through.
“We hope that after both the Crown’s comprehensive review of the case recently instructed by the Lord Advocate and the current police investigation that arrests will be made and that justice will prevail so that the family will have closure and move on with our lives, but more importantly to ensure that Kevin will finally be able to rest in peace.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bell, who is leading the inquiry, said: “This is an ongoing investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on the details of this case.”