Community will remember loss of Karen (16)

Allison & Frank Dewar, from Tayport, in 'Karen's Garden' which will be lit up until after the service next Saturday. (Photo by Steven Brown)
Allison & Frank Dewar, from Tayport, in 'Karen's Garden' which will be lit up until after the service next Saturday. (Photo by Steven Brown)

The community of Tayport is to gather at the town’s memorial garden for a colourful act of remembrance for Karen Dewar, who was brutally killed just yards from her home.

The 16-year-old died on January 20, 2005 at the hands of 17-year-old Colyn Evans.

He was later sentenced to detention for life with the condition he serve at least 17 years.

Next Saturday (24th) at 3.00pm Karen’s parents Frank and Allison will be amongst those who will gather to commemorate her tragic death.

The ceremony will involve many of Karen’s friends releasing balloons from the garden in Castle Street.

The colourful, yet poignant display was Frank and Allison’s idea.

The family will then share some private time together.

The Christmas lights on the tree within the garden are to stay on until after the service.

‘Karen’s Garden’ opened in January 2008 following a fundraising campaign, supported by the Fife Herald, which raised over £50,000.

The garden was developed by students at Elmwood College where Karen was studying child care. It also features a sculpture by Newburgh-based artist Gail van Heerden entitled ‘Free Spirit’ and many lilac plants in recognition of Karen’s favourite colour.

On the day of the opening ceremony Mr Dewar thanked everyone who had been involved in creating the “beautiful, peaceful place.”

The ceremony was attended by 200 people including many of Karen’s friends. The police and Fife Council social work department, however, were told the stay away as the family still blamed them for failing their only child.

After years of local authority involvement and a history of sexual offences, Colyn Evans, who had grown up in Wales before his family moved to Kennoway, was placed in a Council ‘scatter flat’in Tay Street just yards from Karen’s own home.

She was part of a group of friends who tried to help Evans, who at the time had evaded police monitoring and was no longer being supervised by social work services.

In the months and years following his daughter’s death Mr Dewar fought for a Fatal Accident Inquiry but the request was rejected by the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd.

The FAI call was backed by Sir Menzies Campbell MP who said “ issues of both public interest and public confidentrce have to be resolved.”

A joint HMIC (HM Inspectorate of Constabulary) and SWIA (Social Work Inspection Agency) report into the handling of Evans highlighted “considerable shortcomings” on the part of Fife Council and Fife Police. It did, however, state Karen’s murder “could not have been reasonably predicted.”

Commenting on next Saturday’s service local councillor Maggie Taylor, who helped organise the event but will be unable to attend, said: “This is a very sad time for all Karen’s family and friends and my thoughts are with them.

“Karen’s Garden was created through donations given from family, friends and residents and planted with flowers in Karen’s favourite colour.

Councillor Taylor added: “It’s a lovely area to look at when passing by, as well as a very peaceful place to sit in and reflect.”