Parents of student found dead on East Lothian beach still waiting for answers

The parents of a student found dead on an East Lothian beach are still fighting for answers from the authorities three months after his death.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 7:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 7:44 pm
Scott Dunn Calder, 23, whose body was found by a member of the public on the beach near a car park at Longniddry Bents in East Lothian. Pic: Police Scotland/PA

Scott Calder’s body was discovered at Longniddry Bents on Sunday, October 14, the morning after he had celebrated passing his exams with friends at a beer festival held at Gosford House.

After leaving the party, Scott – who was due to graduate with a Masters in Criminal and Forensic Psychology from Edinburgh Napier University – was picked up by police after a member of the public reported a man walking down the middle of the A198.

Despite being drunk and dressed in thin clothing, he was dropped off by officers at a bus stop in Port Seton with no money or a phone.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

His parents told STV News they still cannot understand why police didn’t do more to make sure the 23-year-old was safe.

Scott’s mother Karen, who lives in Ayr, said: “Scott was the light of my life, he had his whole life ahead of him.

“When he finished university it was a new chapter – he’d worked hard for his degree and his Masters.

“Even if he was of sound mind [that night] and able to think, ‘I need to phone home or I need to phone someone’, he couldn’t.

“Why, if the police were involved, was he not safe? As soon as I heard that, I was just stunned.

“I thought, ‘well, why is he not here? Why are we going through this?’ If I knew just another piece of the puzzle, just anything to help us to put it together, it would be a help. As a parent you want to know your child’s last steps, what happened, and I know we’ll probably never know exactly what happened, but there’s questions that need answered.”

His father Brian, who lives in the United States, said the Police Scotland account of events that night had changed from what he was initially told.

Officers initially told him they dropped Scott off at a bus stop in the centre of Port Seton, near shops and houses, before it emerged they’d left him at a more remote location closer to the beach.

Mr Calder said: “Losing Scott has left a gap that can never be filled.

“For that pain to be increased almost by a lack of communication from Police Scotland, or anybody...

“The police getting involved in the incident, I’m not saying the cause of death, but it’s led to my son not being here today.

“He may have stood a better chance walking down the middle of the road, despite the fact it was pitch black, no path and a 60mph road.”

Police Scotland are still investigating the events of the night Scott died and have told Scott’s family they will be kept informed of any developments.

Chief Inspector Stuart Reid said: “These inquiries are currently ongoing and, once concluded, arrangements will be made to fully update the Calder family with the outcome.”

The Crown Office said: “The investigation into the death, under the direction of Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, is ongoing and the family will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”