Fife Council Rejects Criminal Neglect Claim

Fife Council has denied social work staff were under criminal investigation in the notorious Colyn Evans case. Last week, MSP Tricia Marwick rounded on the local authority over claims police had considered charging members of staff responsible for managing the former Kennoway teenager.

In January 2005, while living in a Tayport scatter flat, Colyn Evans (19) murdered local teenager Karen Dewar, prompting a public outcry.

A series of investigations into the handling of his case revealed communication failures, but Fife Council always maintained professionals could never have predicted the teenager would go on to commit murder.

According to a national newspaper, a subsequent enquiry by Strathclyde Police, commissioned by the Crown Office, into Evans’ time at Geilsland residential school in Ayr revealed criminal neglect on the part of Fife Council staff.

However, the Council stated there has never been any question of a criminal investigation of its social work department.

Ronnie Hinds, chief executive, said: “The Crown Office has confirmed that at no stage did it consider bringing charges of criminal neglect against Fife Council as part of this review. The focus of the police investigation was on the conduct of individuals within Geilsland School, not Fife Council.”

He added: “The speculation around Strathclyde Police’s report has been misleading and the conclusions drawn inaccurate.”

“The Crown Office has assured me the investigation by Strathclyde Police did not uncover any conduct which could amount to criminal neglect. “

Mr Hinds assured all inquiry recommendations for Fife Council – including those related to communication between the authority and Geilsland – had been implemented.

He said: “We will also fully implement any national actions further recommended by the Social Work Inspection Agency.

“We cannot change what has happened but we can ensure the lessons learned will be applied to make our procedures more robust.”