POLICE were first told that a neighbour was worried about a charity volunteer a full week before he was found dead in his own home, the Evening News can reveal.
The body of Andrew Bow, 36, was discovered on Wednesday, March 23 – seven days after broken windows in his flat were first reported to the city council.
It is understood that the council passed the information on to Police Scotland shortly afterwards – but it wasn’t until several days after a call to police from a second worried neighbour later that week that officers visited Mr Bow’s Southside home, where they found him dead.
The News told on Saturday how the police watchdog was investigating the force’s response to Mr Bow’s death.
Exactly when he died and the cause of his death remains unknown.
The first caller to report the broken windows at the flat in East Crosscauseway said he thought they had been smashed by vandals, and decided to inform the council.
The neighbour said: “I was out in the yard on the morning of Wednesday, March 16 with my dog when I noticed the windows on one of the first-floor flats had been broken.
“I don’t live in the same block, but we all share the yard that’s how I noticed them.
“It was the kitchen and the bathroom windows that were damaged, but at the time it didn’t occur to me as anything more than smashed windows.
“There was glass all over the grass – it was as if the window had been smashed from the inside.
“I decided to let the council know, as I thought it was vandalism.”
After reporting his concerns to the city council via e-mail, the neighbour received a call later that day informing him that the matter would be reported to the police.
He said: “At the time I didn’t know it was Andrew’s flat – I didn’t even know Andrew’s name until I read it in the paper a few days ago.
“I’d seen him sitting out the back [of the flats] a few times but I didn’t know him to speak to.
“I reported the broken windows to the council on March 16 and got an automated e-mail that said they would reply to me by April 1.
“But later that same day I got a phone call after someone had obviously read my message and I was told the matter would be reported to the police.
“It just concerned me when I read in the paper that his body wasn’t discovered until March 23 – that’s a week after I initially reported it to the council. He could have been lying dead for that whole time for all we know.”
The calls expressing concerns over Mr Bow were made to the same Bilston Glen police service centre in Midlothian which handled reports last July about a couple’s car which had crashed off the M9.
Police took three days to find the Renault Clio after failing to log the call properly.
John Yuill, 28, died at the scene, while mother-of-two Lamara Bell, 25, was left with his body until officers arrived. She later died in hospital.
Prosecutors have now instructed the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) to look into Police Scotland’s handling of Mr Bow’s death.
Politicians said the public deserved “transparency” on what went wrong. Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh Western at the forthcoming Holyrood elections, said: “We need to get to the bottom of these tragic circumstances.
“It’s dreadful to think that concerns may have been raised about Andrew Bow’s whereabouts but might not have been acted upon.
“The public deserves transparency on what went wrong here and I’m sure the Pirc investigation will leave no stone unturned.”
Mr Bow, who worked as a volunteer in the kitchens at the Southside Community Centre, near his home, is understood to have had no family living nearby.
Neighbours have told of how he “kept himself to himself” and didn’t have any friends in the block of flats where he lived.
A spokesman for the Pirc said: “The Pirc has been instructed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to carry out an independent investigation after the body of Andrew Bow was discovered at a residential address in Edinburgh on March 23.
“The investigation will focus on the initial police response leading up to the incident, which included a report of concern about the welfare of the occupant of the property.”
“The Pirc is aware of new information from the City of Edinburgh Council that may be relevant to our investigation.
“We are now following up that information, and as it remains a live inquiry it would be inappropriate to go into further detail.”
A spokesman for the city council said: “We will pass on any relevant information to the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner to assist in their ongoing investigation.”
Police Scotland declined to comment.