Police face probe as missing Bo’ness man found dead in own home

Police tape outside the home of Arnold Mouat, inset. Pictures: SWNS/PA
Police tape outside the home of Arnold Mouat, inset. Pictures: SWNS/PA

A watchdog investigation is underway after the body of a man was discovered in his garage a month after police launched a high-profile missing person search.

Police Scotland yesterday confirmed the remains of Arnold Mouat, 64, were found at his home address in Bo’ness, Falkirk on Saturday.

Forensic officers and police at the home of Arnold Mouat, in Bo'ness. Picture: SWNS

Forensic officers and police at the home of Arnold Mouat, in Bo'ness. Picture: SWNS

It is understood Mr Mouat’s body was discovered by a family member in a garage which had previously been searched by officers.

He had been missing since 7 July, and the police search had included media appeals and the use of a marine unit to search water near Bo’ness.

The death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) is to investigate the police response to the incident.

In a statement, Superintendent Martin Fotheringham said: “This is a tragic set of circumstances and our thoughts and sympathies are with the Mouat family as they come to terms with their loss.

“Following a review of our response to this incident, Police Scotland has referred this matter to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

“We will provide them with all the necessary assistance and support they require during their investigation.”

The force later confirmed Mr Mouat had been found at his family home in Panbrae Road, but declined to give further details.

Following Mr Mouat’s disappearance, his family spoke of being “overwhelmed” by offers of help from the local community.

More than 50 volunteers helped with the police effort, searching areas where it was though Mr Mouat, a keen hiker, used to walk.

Originally from Aith in Shetland, he had moved to Bo’ness three years ago and was often seen walking his dog.

The discovery of Mr Mouat’s body in his own garage is certain to raise some difficult questions for Police Scotland, which handles 22,000 missing person inquiries every year.

Earlier this year the force issued an apology after a Pirc investigation identified failings in the search for 88-year-old Janet McKay, who was later found dead.

The body of Mrs McKay, who suffered from dementia, was discovered in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, in September 2015.

The discovery was made eight days after she was seen leaving her home in the Knightswood area of Glasgow.

In its report into the incident, the Pirc found that although the police had reacted swiftly, there were “procedural and investigative failings” in the subsequent inquiry.

Last month the force apologised for shortcoming following the death of vulnerable man Andrew Bow, 36, in Edinburgh in March 2016. The Pirc found officers were not sent to his home on four occasions when concerns were raised.

Commissioner Kate Frame said it was not possible to say whether Mr Bow would have been found alive if there had been an earlier response.

Commenting on the latest cases, a spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Even without knowing all the details, it seems there are very serious questions to be asked of police.

“People will be wondering why the home wasn’t the first place the police thoroughly searched and that’s understandable.

A Pirc spokeswoman said: “The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner is conducting an investigation into the response from Police Scotland to the missing person investigation for Arnold Mouat following a referral from Police Scotland.

“This investigation is in the very early stages and a report will be sent to the chief constable in due course.”