Mum of Duddingston Loch victim in plea for answers from police

The grieving mother of a French student who drowned after taking magic mushrooms has criticised Police Scotland for refusing to reveal details of his final movements.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 8:42 pm
Police at the entrance to Queens Park at Duddingston Loch. Pic: Ian Georgeson

The body of Antoine Vesterinen-Maury, 21, was recovered from Duddingston Loch two months after he vanished during a night out in October 2016.

It later emerged he had last been seen ripping off his own clothes and running away from friends – and that he had been reluctant to take the powerful hallucinogenic fungi after a previous “bad trip”.

Antoine’s mother, Laura Vesterinen-Maury, submitted a Freedom of Information request to Police Scotland for additional details of his final hours.

But her request was turned down due to data protection laws.

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Laura, 55, believes police have witness statements and details from Antoine’s mobile phone that could help her explain how he died.

She said: “Time passing does not diminish my need as a mother to understand better the circumstances that led to the death of my son Antoine.

“I think the only way for me to understand is to see the police investigation files.

“I cannot understand why this can be refused so easily without specific reasons when the case is closed.

“It makes me fear something unpleasant is being hidden from me.”

Antoine had boarded at St Leonards School in St Andrews and returned to Scotland to study music management at Edinburgh College.

His body was found in December 2016 close to the last sightings of him. He had run away from friends and removed his top and jacket before entering Holyrood Park.

In November 2017, one of Antoine’s fellow students, Scott Mckerral, then 19, from Campbeltown in Kintyre, was spared jail having admitted supplying magic mushrooms, a Class A substance, to Antoine and others.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard from his defence that he had been remorseful and deeply affected by his friend’s death.

The police reply to Laura’s FOI request says information is held but will not be divulged because it might assist criminals and compromise public safety.

The letter states: “Disclosure of the withheld information would provide material relating to specific police techniques and procedures undertaken when evidence is required to be gathered from mobile phones.”

The refusal also cites concerns about data protection.