28th Oct, 2016

Parents still looking for answers ten years on from Jack Macleod's death

Leamington Editorial 3rd Dec, 2015 Updated: 3 hours ago

THE SEARCH for answers continues for Jack Macleod’s parents ten years to the day since the Whitnash teenager went missing.

The 17 year-old Warwickshire College student disappeared following a night out with friends in Leamington. A month later his body was recovered from the River Leam close to where he was last seen alive by a footpath close to the Adelaide Road bridge.

A month on from the discovery of Jack’s body, following the broadcast of a Crimewatch appeal, an anonymous man made a call police describe as of “significant interest” but to this day he has never been traced.

In 2009 a manslaughter trial over Jack’s death collapsed at Birmingham Crown Court due to a lack of evidence and no one has been convicted of a crime in connection with his death.

Jack’s parents Sheena and Ewan Macleod simply want to know the truth of what happened to their son, as they told former Observer deputy editor Kevin Unitt this week.

The defiant couple said: “We are determined that the “truth of why?” will not go unanswered.”

They believe there are people still living in the community who know the real story of what happened that fateful night, and remain hopeful it will eventually come out.

The couple said: “Their friendships, loyalties and priorities will have changed over the last decade. They may have spouses and children of their own now, but can still only imagine what the sudden and unexplained loss of a child would do to them and those around them.

“Telling that story to the right people now would not only help us, our families and the community understand what happened, but will also bring to an end any gnawing guilt for anyone keeping such knowledge a secret.”

The couple, asked what the ten year anniversary meant to them, described it as a strange moment.

In fact a heartbreaking roll call of anniversaries hits around this time of year – the day they last saw Jack; the day they realised they would never see him again; the whole of December waiting for him to be found; the day Jack was found; the day they buried him.

They said: “To believe that it is ten years since we last saw our beautiful smiling boy is actually beyond comprehension. When you hear people say “it seems like only yesterday” or “where has a decade gone?” you know this is no exaggeration.

“We still feel the pain of loss and unanswered questions so acutely on a day to day basis. Jack’s friends and cousins, who were barely into their teens ten years ago, are now having their own children.

“These are the things that emphasise the passing of time and are also the reminders of our lost future – no wedding day and no grandchildren for me and Ewan.

“And still an incomplete picture of how and why our son was taken from us on the night of December 3 2005.”

The couple say they have received tremendous support from the community since Jack’s death – and continue to do so.

They added: “Grief does change over time. You learn to deal with feelings of anxiety and displacement from the “normal life” we had before.

“Slowly but surely and with the immense help, support and guidance from family, friends and the community of Leamington, Warwick and Hampton Lucy (where Ewan was brought up), and our old and new friends in Turkey, we have been able to create “a new normal”.

“With the passing of time come new memories, new experiences and new friends. We have met so many new people over the ten years, many of whom we would never have met but for Jack’s death – police, coroners, barristers, lawyers and the media.

“Some are now friends, who, through humour at the most difficult of times, have helped us get through.”

But there remains no closure, no sense of completion, and that is quest unchanged and undimmed throughout the past decade.

Warwickshire Police told The Observer no case was ever closed and appealed for anyone with information regarding Jack’s death to come forward.