Fresh calls for fatal accident inquiry after killer’s appeal rejected

A bereaved father has called for a full inquiry to be carried out after his son was stabbed to death while his attacker was “unlawfully at large” on a home detention curfew.

Michael McClelland said his son Craig had been “killed by someone who had no right to be on the streets”.

The father-of-three, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, was fatally stabbed by James Wright in July 2017.

Craig McClelland was stabbed to death by James Wright (Police Scotland/PA)

After an appeal from Wright – who had disabled his electronic tag at the time of the attack – was dismissed by judges, Mr McClelland repeated his call for a fatal accident inquiry into the killing.

He said: “No family should have to go through what we have.

“Not only was Craig taken from us but he was killed by someone who had no right to be on the streets of Paisley that night. Someone who should have been behind bars.

“The system that is supposed to keep people safe broke down and, as a consequence, my son was murdered.

“A murderer has been convicted but there has still not been a full, independent inquiry into why this happened.

“The authorities need to be held to account, too.”

Mr McClelland added: “The Lord Advocate promised us a decision on whether he would order a fatal accident inquiry after the appeal.

“Now the appeal has been dealt with, there is absolutely no reason to delay a decision any further.

“The Lord Advocate has the power to give us an inquiry and to do it now.

“Only a full inquiry can help us find the answers we need about why this was allowed to happen and how we can stop it ever happening again.”

Neil Bibby, Labour MSP for the West of Scotland, said: “The only way to restore confidence in the tagging system and help this family find the answers they need is to order an inquiry into the McClelland case.

“There must be a fatal accident inquiry into the failures that led to Craig McClelland’s tragic murder.

“It is not just in the interest of Craig’s family that they find answers, it is in the public interest that this tragedy is fully investigated and the lessons are fully learned.

“What happened to Craig McClelland cannot be allowed to ever happen again.”

He added: “We have known since March that the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit have been examining this case, preparing the ground for a potential FAI ahead of James Wright’s appeal.

“The Lord Advocate himself promised the McClelland family that a decision on whether to order an FAI would be made once the appeal had been heard.

“Now that the appeal has been thrown out, there is no good reason for the Lord Advocate or anyone else to stand in the way of a fatal accident inquiry.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “We note the decision of the Appeal Court.

“The Lord Advocate has instructed that the circumstances of the death of Craig McClelland and the concerns raised by the family, be examined by the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit.

“The question to hold a fatal accident inquiry, which would establish the circumstances of this death and consider what steps if any might be taken to prevent other deaths in similar circumstances, will be addressed upon completion of further work.

“The nearest relatives will be kept informed of progress in line with the COPFS family liaison charter.”

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