Detectives investigating the murder of Inverness dad Ross MacGillivray have revealed he suffered a ‘very violent death’.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin MacDougall refused to rule out a drugs link to the case as he shared new details with a shocked community.
He also addressed concerns from locals in relation to the ‘level of violence’ of the murder as Ross’s ‘distraught’ family come to terms with his death.
Numerous lines of inquiry are being followed including establishing whether drugs were involved in the incident which led to the murder of the 36-year-old father-of-three.
DCI MacDougall said Ross was the “subject of a significantly violent crime” and that officers are working around the clock to trace those responsible.
‘Dalneigh community rocked’ by violent murder of Ross MacGillivray
He added that the incident has left the Dalneigh community on edge.
Speaking to The P&J, the chief inspector said he understands their concerns but stresses incidents of this nature are “rare” in the Highlands.
He said: “I do understand the concerns the local community have in relation to this level of violence being in the town.
“There is an increased police presence which is both detectives and uniformed officers so any concerns they have, just approach us or phone us.
“Incidents like these, thankfully, are very rare in the Highlands and we fully appreciate the impact this tragedy will have on the local community, particularly in and around Inverness.
“All I can say is come to us. We can try and alleviate those concerns.
“Ultimately, we are trying to find out who is responsible for Ross’s death.”
A large police presence remains at the St Ninian Drive property where Ross was found in the early hours of Sunday morning.
A blue and white tent has been erected in the front garden as forensic teams comb the scene for leads.
Police also cordoned off a section of the Caledonian Canal as part of their investigations.
DCI MacDougall confirmed a number of items had been retrieved from the canal area but stressed there was nothing to indicate a weapon was among them.
He said officers are still trying to piece together the reasons for Ross’s presence at the Dalneigh property and whether he knew the men police are searching for.
He added: “At this stage, we don’t know their direct connection to Ross and that’s obviously a line of investigation – to find out how he knew them or if he did indeed know them.
“We know Ross was subject to some conditions preventing him from being there, however, Ross has become the subject of a significantly violent crime and that is the main focus of my investigation, to find out who’s responsible for that.”
Descriptions released of suspects in Inverness murder case
Descriptions of two men wanted in connection with his death have also been provided.
The first man is described as black, around 6ft tall, of slim build, with short black hair and stubble around his mouth. He was wearing a blue puffer jacket, black tracksuit bottoms and white trainers, which were described as chunky. He is believed to have spoken with a Liverpool accent.
The second man is described as white, around 5ft 8ins tall, of slim build, with brown hair, which was shaved at the sides and longer on top. He was wearing a black waterproof jacket, grey and black trousers and black trainers.
‘It is a troubling time for Ross’s family’
DCI MacDougall said that his family have been left “distraught” as details of his death come to light.
He said: “It is a very troubling time for Ross’s family. This is sudden and unexpected. Ross has been subject to a very violent death, and they are very distraught.
“To them, Ross is a very loved son, so they are being supported by specialist officers to see them through this difficult time and allow me to feed updates to them and for them to get in touch with me.”