Andrew Bow death report submitted to prosecutors

Andrew Bow. Picture: contributed
Andrew Bow. Picture: contributed
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A watchdog investigating police who took a week to respond to concerns for a man found dead in his own home has handed its report to prosecutors.

The body of 36-year-old Andrew Bow was discovered in his Southside flat on March 23 – seven days after a neighbour called the council to report suspicious activity.

The council passed the message on to Police Scotland, who failed to attend the property on East Crosscauseway despite receiving a second call from a worried member of the public.

The calls were handled by the same police service centre which took a report from a motorist in July 2015 about a couple whose car had crashed on the M9 near Bannockburn, in Stirling.

Police failed to attend the incident and Lamara Bell lay next to her dead partner, John Yuill, for three days before she died in hospital.

The calls from members of the public in both incidents were handled by staff at Bilston Glen in Midlothian.

In March, prosecutors instructed the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) to look into the initial handling of Mr Bow’s death.

A spokesman for the watchdog said yesterday that the investigation had now concluded and a report of the commissioner’s findings had been passed to the Crown Office and procurator fiscal.

The spokesman said: “An investigation following the death of a 36-year-old man in Edinburgh has concluded.

“The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner focused on the initial police response leading up to the incident at a residential address in the city on March 23, 2016.

“This included a report of concern about the welfare of Andrew Bow, the occupant of the property.

“A report on the Commissioner’s findings is now with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for their consideration.”

Mr Bow, who lived alone, had been working as a volunteer in the kitchens at the nearby Southside Community Centre.

Neighbours, who described him as the type of man who liked to “keep himself to himself”, first became concerned for his welfare when they noticed his flat windows had been smashed, and reported it to the council on March 16.

A week later police and forensic investigators swarmed the property but his death still remains unexplained.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner has submitted a report to COPFS concerning the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the body of a 36-year-old man at a residential address in Edinburgh on March 23, 2016.

“The report remains under consideration, and the nearest relatives will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”

A police spokesperson said: “Police Scotland notes that the Pirc report has been submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and we are unable to comment further whilst they assess the independent findings.”

Just last week, Pirc found that Police Scotland took more than five hours to arrive at the home of an elderly man who was seriously ill in Edinburgh.

The incident happened after a neighbourhood support officer for the city council phoned Police Scotland to report that she had concerns for the 72-year-old, who was the subject of regular welfare visits but had not been seen for a few days.