18th MAY 2017
DOCHERTY’S ~ STEFAN SUTHERLAND ~ KEVIN MCLEOD time set 7min 45sec
MAY 12th 2017 time set 45min 30sec
STOLEN: FOUR SCOTTISH CHILDREN. Docherty Interviews & Transcript https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/08/20/scotland-4stolen-children/ https://archive.is/KJ12R
HIGHLANDER MURDERED: SCOTCOPS DO LESS THAN NOTHING Stefan Sutherland https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/01/25/highland-man-murdered-police-scotland-do-less-than-nothing/ https://archive.is/Qf4aG
20 YEARS After His Death, ScotCops Re-Open Kevin McLeod Case https://spidercatweb.blog/2017/02/03/kevin-mcleod/ https://archive.is/wKd1R
ELEVEN days after he was reported missing, the body of Stefan Sutherland was found lying on a beach. Damp sand, pebbles and seaweed marked the lonely end of a young life that had been full of love, friendship and hope.
An official investigation was quick to draw its conclusions: the 25-year-old had fallen to his death from nearby cliffs – and had either slipped in a drunken accident or jumped in a deliberate attempt to take his own life. Yet for his grieving family and friends, neither possibility made any sense.
In the 30 months since the tragedy in Caithness, those who knew him best have turned detective to find out what really happened on the September night in 2013 when they last saw Stefan alive.
While the authorities still insist there were no suspicious circumstances, his relatives – with the help of independent experts – have compiled a dossier of evidence they believe proves he was mur- dered. In an attempt to persuade police to reopen their investigation, Mr Sutherland’s parents have spoken to The Scottish Mail on Sunday.
In a boost to their case, we can reveal the Crown Office is now considering holding a fatal accident inquiry (FAI).
Last night, his mother Sandra said: ‘For over two years I have been haunted by how my son might have died and how he sustained such horrific injuries.
‘It is hard to adjust to the fact that we will never see Stefan again. He was so alive, energetic, so enthusiastic about football, cycling and starting to build our new house, then nothing. Now we just have memories.’
Like many young men in an area where employment prospects are limited, Mr Sutherland, who grew up in Lybster, had flitted from job to job in the building trade after leaving school, before finally finding work in a local egg factory.
Although his contract had ended a short time before his death, he had planned to buy a car and help his father build a new house. He was also in a relationship with a long-term girlfriend and seemed to have everything to live for.
But the close ties of kinship in a rural community can often create bonds that make locals reluctant to come forward when one of their own appears threatened – and Mr Sutherland’s family have found themselves frustrated by efforts to get to the bottom of what happened.
Driving their belief that he was murdered are a handful of key facts they claim are inconsistent with the official version of events. Crucially, they say a bloodstain matching Stefan’s DNA was found by police in a nearby property, suggesting he could have been attacked there before being dumped at sea.
They argue his injuries included a skull fracture, missing front teeth and the joints of his fingers being pulled apart – which they claim is more likely the result of a vicious beating than a fall from cliffs onto rocks.
They also say the position where his body was found does not fit with the theory he fell from the cliffs.
When Stefan was found, it was clear his body had been exposed to seawater for some days, as it had endured extensive interference from marine life. But one pathologist said there was no water in his lungs – meaning he had not drowned and was already dead before ending up in the sea.
His family also point out that his body was found on the high-tide line, which is some distance away from the foot of the cliffs. They argue that if he had fallen he would have been found directly below the cliffs.
Police Scotland and the Crown Office have always maintained there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and that no evidence has emerged that warrants taking action against anyone.
But Mr Sutherland’s family say most of the police action on the case has been about justifying the early decision not to pursue it as a murder, rather than delivering justice.
Sickened by what they see as baffling disinterest in the face of compelling new information, they have decided to speak for the first time about their ordeal – in the hope that it will shame the police and the Crown into conducting a comprehensive investigation that might finally deliver the truth about how Mr Sutherland died.
His father Sandy is certain nothing could have been further from his son’s mind than ending his life.
He said: ‘Stefan was going out with money in his pocket that night and intent on having a good time.
‘When we’ve argued against the suicide theory because we know his state of mind better than the police, they’ve gradually moved over to the accident theory.
‘But he would never have walked over the cliffs in the dark. He knew better. Also, far from being a short-cut home, a walk that way would actually have taken him further away.’
Mr Sutherland, who had seven siblings, lived in his own home, close to his parents. His father said: ‘He loved football and appeared to have plenty to live for. Earlier, we’d talked about a car he wanted to buy and I’d agreed his request to put up half the money.
‘He’d been working in an egg factory and that had come to an end, but we were about to build a new house. He was a decent builder and he’d agreed to work with me on that. We know he’d had a
No one can give us a credible account of what happened
drink. He was seen in the bars that night, having a laugh as usual. We think he must have been invited for a drink to someone’s home.
‘Eleven days later, he’s dead on the beach with all these awful injuries and no one can give us a credible account of how he ended up there.’
Police said Mr Sutherland, who was last seen alive on September 6 and was found on September 17, must have jumped or fallen to his death from the cliffs at Occumster.
But they cannot explain how he apparently lay undiscovered for so long without anyone raising the alarm.
Mr Sutherland Snr said: ‘He could not have been killed by a fall from the cliff and ended up in the water, as the incoming tide stops well short of the foot of the cliffs.’
Neither could he have survived the fall and walked with a fractured skull, broken leg and multiple injuries to the water’s edge before collapsing. The family’s theory is that his body was disposed of at sea and floated in with the tide.
The youngest member of the family, Andrew, was nine when he lost his brother. Now 12, he said: ‘I really wish the police could find out what happened. It is like a jigsaw and they need to put the pieces together.
‘Losing a family member is sad. It is like being robbed, but a lot worse, because instead of stealing your money it steals your happiness.’
Brother George said: ‘The whole situation has devastated the family. You have to lose a close family member to know how it affects you.
‘Our situation was made much worse when liaison officers told us 98 per cent of people interviewed in a door-to-door inquiry mentioned a name, yet detectives say there are no suspicious circumstances.’
Mr Sutherland’s girlfriend Catherine Georgeson, now a student at Aberdeen University, remains close to the family and supports their campaign. ‘I think everyone has a good idea Stefan was killed,’ she said, ‘but the police don’t seem to want to know.’
Three pathologists – two instructed by the procurator fiscal and one by the family’s lawyer – have reached varying conclusions. The first, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said Mr Sutherland had not drowned and must have entered the water dead. But a second said there was water in his lungs, so he could have drowned. Neither suggested foul play.
The family’s pathologist found a hole in Mr Sutherland’s skull that the other experts appear to have disregarded. She said foul play could not be ruled out.
Police finally searched a property in late January 2014 and found a bloodstain matching Stefan’s DNA.
But they concluded there were still no suspicious circumstances to warrant them taking the matter further. Yesterday, a Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘We can confirm, following a thorough investigation into the death of Stefan Sutherland i n September 2013, there were no suspicious circumstances.’
A Crown Office spokesman said: ‘Comprehensive and thorough investigations have been carried out into the death of Stefan Sutherland and no suspicious circumstances have been discovered. Consideration is now being given as to whether an FAI would be appropriate.’
But Mr Sutherland Snr said: ‘There is abundant evidence our son was murdered. He did not pull his own fingers apart at the joints or knock his own teeth out. He did not fall or jump from the cliffs and then walk into the sea. It is a matter for a criminal court, not an FAI.’ https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-scottish-mail-on-sunday/20160124/282144995361477
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