Body found as police admit possible sighting of missing woman was not followed up

Janet McKay, 88, was reported missing from her home in Glasgow on Wednesday, but police have yet to make a formal identification

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The Independent Online

A possible sighting of a missing woman suffering from dementia was not followed up by Police Scotland, the force said as they revealed they had found a body and issued an apology.

Janet McKay, 88, was reported missing from her home in the Knightswood area of Glasgow on Wednesday, 16 September, and a member of the public contacted police on Friday evening to say they thought they had seen her.

However this information was not passed onto officers investigating her disappearance or to a police call-centre, Police Scotland said.

Last month, Sir Stephen House, chief constable of Police Scotland, announced he would quit the post earlier than expected amid criticism over call-centre failings. In July, Lamara Bell, 25, lay fatally injured for days after a car crash that killed her partner John Yuill in Stirlingshire, despite the accident being reported to a police control room. She died later in hospital.

In a statement on Thursday, Chief Superintendent Andy Bates said officers had discovered the body of a woman in the Clydebank area of Glasgow.

“Formal identification has yet to take place but we believe it to be Janet McKay who was reported missing last week. Janet’s family has been informed,” he said.

“Since she was reported missing last Wednesday, an extensive investigation and search has been conducted by my officers throughout the local area.

“On Friday evening… a member of the public provided us with information of a possible sighting of the missing person. This information was not passed to the call handling centres nor was it passed to the inquiry team.”

Mr Bates said further information about the possible sighting was received by a police call-centre on Tuesday and was “immediately passed… to the inquiry team”.

“Following further extensive inquiry, a body was discovered,” he said.

“I would like to apologise to the family for any distress caused at this difficult time and take this opportunity to express my condolences to the family and friends and thank those members of the public who supported the search for Janet. “

Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service have referred the handling of Ms McKay’s disappearance to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Crown Office is aware of the circumstances relating to the death of Janet McKay and in particular an issue relating to the search for her. On this basis the Lord Advocate has referred the matter to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for investigation under statutory powers.”