Alexina Kelbie died in suspicious circumstances in 1960 but brother Peter has only just discovered that no post mortem examination was ever carried out nor was there any police investigation. He now wants to have two-year-old’s remains inspected by medical experts to look for any signs of abuse.
The 52-year-old is also campaigning for an apology for the hundreds of Scots gypsy children, including him and his five siblings, who were forcibly removed from their families. Mr Kelbie said he’s been given a number of stories as to how his sister died but he now believes she was killed by her foster family in Dundee.
He added: “I have only just found out there was never a post mortem done on my sister Alexina. The detective assigned to investigate the incident never did so. I have since found out my parents had to go and identify her body and it looked as if she had been battered.
She was in a coma yet the foster mother decided to remove her and take her to hospital instead of calling for an ambulance. That reeks of cover up to me, she should never have moved her. I am calling for Alexina’s remains to be exhumed and a post mortem to be carried out. I want to know how she really died. I am meeting with my lawyers next week to get the process started.”
Mr Kelbie, who lives in Gretna Green, Dumfries-shire, has spent years trying to find out what happened to Alexina.
At first he was told she had “taken a fit of bad temper in a bath and drowned” before officials said she had fallen and hit her head on a television at her foster home in Dundee.
Mr Kelbie said: “They didn’t even have a television. The University of Dundee keeps all the historical post mortem records and they’ve been unable to find any relating to Alexina and therefore concluded one was never carried out. Yet post mortems are meant to be carried out on any persons who have died of accidental or suspicious death. There is no option but to have one now.”
Alexina’s death certificate says she died of intracranial haemorrhage, which can be caused by a head injury. Her brother claimed there was no official investigation into her death because the “social work wanted to suppress” any potential scandal.
He said the incident “destroyed” his mother, Betty Stewart, who began drinking heavily after having all of her children taken into care.
He added: “To find out the truth about Alexina will serve no other purpose but to prove our family have been lied to, we have been treated unfairly. It will allow my mother’s name to be shine once again.
It will give me some peace of mind to know what happened and perhaps I could finally get on with my life even though I will never be able to get my hands on the person who did her wrong or put things right.
There might be an apology from the officials on how we’ve been treated but quite frankly, it’s too late for that now.”
Exhumations happen rarely and require legal authorisation. Most local authorities ask for the relatives to check with the cemetery administrator if the procedure is feasible before petitioning the Sheriff for a licence for the reinterment. Dundee City Council failed to respond to our enquiries but its website says the exhumation fee is 150 per cent of the cost of the interment.