NEW CALL FOR KAREN INQUIRY

THE father of murdered Tayport teenager Karen Dewar has demanded an urgent public inquiry is held into the management of his daughter's killer Colyn Evans prior to her death.

Frank Dewar called for the inquiry following claims that Fife Council social workers failed to act on at least five warnings about Evans — information which could have saved his daughter's life.

A Sunday newspaper published the claims which it said were contained in a Strathclyde Police report on Geilsland School in Ayrshire, where Evans spent more than a year.

However, allegations that police considered charges of criminal neglect against the Fife social work staff involved in the "mishandling" of Evans have been categorically denied.

The local authority's chief executive, Ronnie Hinds, said: "The Crown Office has confirmed that at no stage did they 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.

"The speculation around Strathclyde Police's report has been misleading and the conclusions drawn inaccurate."

Nevertheless, there have been renewed calls for a public inquiry into the case in the wake of the Sunday newspaper report.

It was claimed that Fife social workers had been warned that Evans was having sex with other boys, some whom were underage.

"Fife Council failed to report these incidents to the police and failed in their duty of care," said Mr Dewar.

"The details of how Evans was handled have to come out in the open."

Evans attended Geilsland, a school for young people displaying social, behavioural and emotional difficulties, between December 2002 and April 2004, before being housed by Fife Council in a scatter-flat in Tayport, where he murdered Karen in January 2005.

It was also alleged that Fife Council social workers wrongly claimed they did not have jurisdiction to act on Evans' behaviour while he was at Geilsland.

"Geilsland gets boys from all over Scotland, but they are still the responsibility of the councils which send them there, so it was up to Fife Council to contact the police over Evans' behaviour," said Mr Dewar.

Mr Dewar's call for a public inquiry has been backed by Tricia Marwick MSP who said that a joint report by Fife Police and Fife Council, released on the day Colyn Evans was jailed, was a "disgraceful attempt to cover up their own shortcomings".

"It is vital that all of the information is put into the public domain and we now need a public inquiry which will reveal just how and who failed Karen Dewar," she said.

"A line cannot be drawn under this matter until all the facts are in the public domain.

"A public inquiry is the only way this tragic affair can now be dealt with. Her parents and the Tayport community deserve no less."

The case has already been the subject of a joint report by the Social Work Inspection Agency and Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary.

Although the report highlighted "considerable shortcomings" on the part of the local authority and Fife Constabulary, the report accepted that Karen's murder "could not reasonably have been predicted."

Mr Hinds said: "All the recommendations for Fife Council, including those related to communication between ourselves and Gielsland as highlighted in the SWIA/HMCI report, have been implemented as part of our action plan.

"We will also fully implement any national actions further recommended by SWIA.

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

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