Police probed over response to Portobello death

Douglas Iggulden was found dead in his flat last week. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Douglas Iggulden was found dead in his flat last week. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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THE police watchdog has ordered an investigation into the emergency response to an elderly man found dead in his Portobello home.

Douglas Iggulden’s body was found at his home in Adelphi Place on Sunday after police forced entry to his home amid concerns for his safety and that of his wheelchair-bound wife Elizabeth, 89. She was found collapsed nearby and remains in a serious condition at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

It is understood that the Crown Office has instructed the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) to probe the police response.The investigation is believed to relate to whether the decision to force entry to the flat could have been made earlier. However, it is not thought to concern call handling errors such as those at the centre of the recent M9 controversy.

Mr Iggulden, 88, was a full-time carer for his frail wife, who is believed to have had a stroke several years ago. The former RAF serviceman was described by neighbours as a private, cheery man who was devoted to his wife and her needs.

A family member is understood to have raised the alarm after growing concerned that Mr Iggulden had not made any contact for several days.

A local newsagent also told the News that he had not seen Mr Iggulden, who was a daily visitor to his shop, for “three or four days” before the tragedy came to light.

A spokesman for PIRC said: “The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner has been instructed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service [COPFS] to carry out an independent investigation into the initial response by Police Scotland to a call to attend at a residential address in Portobello on Sunday.

“Following a report of concern about the welfare of the occupants at the property, officers arrived to find the body of an 88-year-old man and a seriously ill 89-year-old woman, who remains in hospital. A report on the Commissioner’s findings will be submitted to the COPFS in due course.”

Police Scotland confirmed that it was aware of the investigation.

On Sunday afternoon, neighbours reported an “extensive” police response on Adelphi Place, including six marked vehicles as well as a fire engine and an ambulance.

They forced entry into the ground-floor flat and forensics teams scoured the property later that night.

Officers are continuing to conduct local inquiries in a bid to establish when Mr and Mrs Iggulden were last seen.

Mr Iggulden’s death is being treated as “unexplained” until the results of a post mortem are clear and a report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com