Unsolved Murders

Kevin McLeod

Age: 24

Sex: male

Date: 9 Feb 1997

Place: Wick Harbour, Wick, Caithness

Kevin McLeod was found dead in Wick harbour on 9 February 1997.

His death was ruled as accidental, but his family believe he was murdered. They said that marks on his body showed the he had been murdered.

The night before he was found in the harbour he had been on a night out with friends. He was last seen in the early hours of 8 February 1997 with his friends.

His family said that they thought that there were people in Wick area who either saw something, knew what happened or knew someone that had been involved.

It was heard that the police had failed to keep his clothing or submit it, and that they had not acknowledged the presence or marks on his body at an early stage of the inquiry.

It was reported in 2007 that the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland said that the Northern Constabulary had behaved with institutional arrogance in the way it handled complaints from Kevin McLeod's family in relation to his death.

In February 2017 it was reported that Kevin McLeod's death was being looked into again by the Police Scotland's specialist crime division.

It was also reported that the Northern Constabulary, which had initially looked into his case, had been criticised for the way it handled Kevin McLeod's family's initial complaints and stated that Police Scotland where assessing information relating to the case. However, they later concluded that there was no evidence left with which they could clearly indicate the circumstance surrounding his death for them to determine whether it was accidental or criminal.

In December 2017 the police made an unreserved apology, made personally by the Deputy Chief Constable after it was determined that failures in the initial investigation meant that they could not determine with certainty how he had died.

The police said that that as a result of the case they had rewritten the crime management handbook.

The former Northern Constabulary chief constable said, '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 and I am further disappointed that their complaints were treated in a dismissive manner in the years which followed Kevin’s death. During a recent comprehensive reassessment of this case 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, either criminally or accidentally. Kevin’s death remains as unexplained, as directed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service. Police Scotland is fully committed to investigating any new evidence which may come to light. I fully understand that such a conclusion must be difficult for Kevin’s family to accept and on behalf of the policing service I regret the pain and anguish that this has caused them over such a long period of time. I hope that this unreserved apology may go some way to bring some form of closure to Kevin’s family and once again on behalf of Police Scotland I apologise unreservedly for the past failings of the police services in Scotland'.

In January 2018 a witness came forward to say that he had seen two people in the harbour. He said, 'I was walking home and I decided to walk on a little hill above the harbour. I heard a commotion, voices and scuffling, then a splash. I went to investigate. I saw two people and Kevin in the water. I believe he kind of went under the water. I must have made a noise because the two people looked round and one gave chase'.

The statement from the new witness was said to have turned the case on its head. The new witnesses, who was said to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, was due to make a formal statement with help from a social worker sometime after January 2018.

In July 2019 Police Scotland announced that they had asked for an independent review into his death.

Kevin McLeod was an electrician.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.