Detectives from an external force instructed to carry out a cold case probe into the “unexplained” death of Kevin Mcleod are to meet his family.
The move – welcomed by the parents of the 24-year-old, who was found in Wick Harbour in 1997 – comes quickly on the heels of high-level talks between Merseyside Police major investigation team and senior Scottish prosecutors.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) was given an overview of the review so far, and a timeline of events.
A meeting with the family is one of the commitments given by the Merseyside detectives.
Kevin Mcleod was found dead in Wick harbour after a night out with friends in February 1997.
The 24-year-old electrician’s family has always believed he was murdered and have been fighting for answers since the tragedy.
Police Scotland finally admitted that they had failed to follow an instruction by the then fiscal to investigate the death as murder.
Earlier this year the COPFS invited Merseyside Police to review the original investigation by Northern Constabulary, along with all further inquiries carried out by Police Scotland since its formation in 2013.
The COPFS told the family: “The Deputy Crown Agent and the head of the Criminal Allegations Against the Police Division (CAAPD) met in Liverpool with Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley of Merseyside Police and two of his major investigation team on October 4 to discuss how the Merseyside review would progress.
“Merseyside provided an overview of their review so far and the timeline of events that had been prepared and this formed the basis of the discussion which was detailed and constructive.
“They agreed the next step would be for ACC Critchley to meet with the family in Inverness if possible.”
Kevin’s father Hugh Mcleod said: “It is great things are moving forward with such seriousness.
“Until we meet we can only speculate at this time about what the remit of Merseyside Police will be.
“We sincerely hope that no obstacles or restrictions will be put in place and that Merseyside will have free access to all relevant documentation to the case including that from the COPFS and all agencies involved to enable Merseyside Police to undertake a full and proper independent investigation.”
He added: “This latest development to invite Merseyside Police to review Kevin’s case from the outset was a tremendous victory for the family and we now hope that Merseyside police will leave no stone unturned.
“We look forward to meeting senior officers from Merseyside Police to discuss all aspects of Kevin’s case.”