DETECTIVES have made a “significant breakthrough” in the investigation into the murder of Lee Duncan as a mystery donor offered a £1000 reward for information.
Intelligence-led searches of gardens and alleyways close to the Lauriston Place flat where the 31-year-old former heroin addict was killed have been carried out in a renewed bid to recover the murder weapon.
The body of Mr Duncan, who had won a battle with drug addiction, was discovered by his girlfriend on February 25 but seven months on his killer remains at large and the case is now the only active murder investigation in the Lothians.
Police have so far not revealed how Mr Duncan was killed or the type of weapon used.
But DCI Keith Hardie, who is leading the murder probe, said his officers had been buoyed by the progress made in recent days and were following new leads, although he would not reveal details.
“After this recent development I would say it’s a significant step forward,” he said. “I’m really delighted by this breakthrough. It shows that when you keep chipping away, you can eventually get the breakthrough you have been looking for.”
Mr Duncan’s sister, Melanie Purdie, said police had informed her yesterday about a significant development in the case and said news of the anonymous reward had raised the family’s hopes that the killer will be brought to justice.
“I was really surprised to get that call because the investigation has been going on for so long,” she said. “You start to lose hope and think maybe they are never going to find the person responsible.
Ms Purdie said her family could find some closure from a successful culmination to the police inquiry.
“We keep thinking whoever has done this is getting on with their own life after taking my brother’s life away,” she said. “It won’t bring my brother back and we are still trying to deal with everything and the loss of my brother but it would be great to have some closure.
“I just hope whatever information they have found leads to something positive and someone being charged with Lee’s murder.”
She said that there were still “hundreds of unanswered questions” about her brother’s death and the family yearn to know what really happened that night and the reason he was killed.
Ms Purdie also praised the generous offer of a sizeable reward for information.
“I can’t believe someone has been kind enough to put up a reward. I can’t thank them enough and it means a great deal to my family. We didn’t have the money to do that because my brother wasn’t insured and we are still paying for his funeral.”
Speaking about the reward money, DCI Hardie said: “It’s pretty much an incentive for people and we have to address the fact that the kind of life Lee led meant that he associated with people who are maybe motivated by money.”