Sunday, 29 March 2015

Willie McRae Part 22: I Can’t Agree with Fergus


I am in a very difficult position!


In 1985, Willie’s family, including brother Fergus, said that they did not want a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) to be held into his death. 

No FAI was held, the police and Crown Office, having already come to the view that Willie had committed suicide.

P 21 LA page 1[Source]


Over the years, Fergus’ view hasn’t changed and now, just three weeks ago,  he has re-stated his position in the Express.

P 21 Express 20150308 A


Paula Murray’s article states,

Dr Fergus McRae said demands for a public or fatal accidents inquiry were “futile” and insisted he did not for a moment believe there to be any suspicious circumstances.


Fergus Macrae is quoted as saying,

I was completely confused at the time but I knew some background that a lot of people didn’t. It is not something I was willing to go into at the time and it is not something I am willing to go into now either.


I don’t understand why this is still going on. I find it very difficult to understand, I don’t know what their [campaigners’] motives are. All the people I know have had this fully explained to them but for some reason this goes on and on and on.

There is no question in my mind of what happened. There was no murder or anything like that. I am absolutely positive about that. He did not discover anything that would have put his life at risk.

There is no reason not to accept the official turn of events.


I understand Mr Macrae was approached for comments only a few days after a group ‘announced it was planning to petition the Lord Advocate to launch a fresh investigation into the case.


Yes, I am in a very difficult position because I believe that there should be an inquiry!

And I still do despite knowing Mr Macrae’s current views.


Many will think I am wrong and ask,

What gives you the right to go against the expressed wishes of Willie’s brother?

What gives you the right to drag details of Willie’s death and life back into the public domain?

Why can’t you leave Willie and his family alone at last after 30 years?


Let me try to explain but first I must point out that I give my views only.  Although I have been involved with the campaign group to which Paula Murray alludes and I share their aims neither do I speak for them nor do I know their views on this matter.


I can’t know the pain that Fergus and the Macrae family suffered with Willie’s sudden, premature and violent death: it is beyond my imagining.  This would be terrible even if they had found peace as the years passed but they have not been afforded this. 

Countless times over the last 30 years, individuals – and I am one – and groups have returned over and over again raking over the details bringing Willie’s death and life back into the public realm and, I imagine, re-opening the sore.

It is no wonder Fergus wants an end to this.

He is as convinced as it’s possible to be that Willie took his own life.  He ‘knows’ an inquiry will bring nothing new but will bring back old pain.  Please stop!


I know this and yet I will not stop. 

I continue not because I know what happened and want to have it proved.

I continue because I do not know what happened.

I continue because there are questions and doubts about the suicide label.

Justice might have been done with the police and Crown Office investigations but justice hasn’t been seen to be done. 

There will only be closure when the public see that justice has been done.

Justice is for all of us. 


That is why within the ‘Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976’ legislation, which underpins the Scottish system of Fatal accident Inquiries, there is a role for the public.  The relevant paragraph is

1 (1) b

it appears to the Lord Advocate to be expedient in the public interest in the case of a death to which this paragraph applies that an inquiry under this Act should be held into the circumstances of the death on the ground that it was sudden, suspicious or unexplained, or has occurred in circumstances such as to give rise to serious public concern, [emphasis is mine]

It is to this paragraph that I’ll be looking as I lay out the story of Willie’s death as it is told beyond the documents released by the authorities. [Parts 1 to 20] cover this portion of the mystery].


And so I can’t agree with Fergus Macrae.

I can’t stop.

But I hope my writing will respect Willie, his life and his family.



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  1. "In 1985, Willie’s family, including brother Fergus, said that they did not want a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) to be held into his death."

    That is rather powerful, but you are, of course, free to write what you wish, within the law.

  2. I don't see it as powerful It is very clear but no more: it binds no-one.

    Re free to write. I am free to write whatever I wish, even outwith the law, provided I am prepared to bear the consequences. Having said that, I have no intention of going beyond the law.