A DYING stabbing victim was not found by police for more than an hour, it emerged today.
Billy McPhee bled to death while officers tended to his wounded friend, unaware another victim lay nearby.
Lothian and Borders Police discovered the 43-year-old’s body in a pool of his own blood, minutes after he died as a result of a knife attack by William McArdle.
He was repeatedly stabbed by McArdle following an argument over a bar of chocolate.
An inquiry by Strathclyde Police has now revealed officers failed to locate Mr McPhee on the tenth floor of a high rise in Gilmerton, Edinburgh.
The officers had found his best friend, Colin Stewart (41), stabbed on the first floor and mistakenly assumed he was the only victim.
McArdle, 25, was sentenced to life in prison following the attack on January 11.
The Strathclyde investigation found that a number of separate calls were made about both the injured men on the night of the attack, but Lothian and Borders did not realise the calls related to two people.
Even though two ambulances arrived at the scene, officers assumed the victim on the tenth floor had already been moved to the first floor.
Mr McPhee had tried to attract attention to himself by pressing the emergency button of a nearby lift.
A senior police official is said to have told Mr McPhee’s widow Roseanne, that it had been a “chaotic situation” and that police officers had “presumed the guy from the tenth floor had come down to the first”.
He reportedly added: “We cannot get this communication mix-up again, this is a situation of life and death here.”
Mr McPhee’s wife Roseanne, who has terminal cancer, today demanded an apology from Lothian and Borders Police.
She said: “My husband should be here with me. Fair enough, he was not murdered by the police, but he would be here with me if they had not responded that way. Doctors have said he would still be alive if he had got to hospital sooner.
“They (the police) have owned up, they have come forward, but it still has not changed the way I feel. I can’t accept what happened, I can’t deal with it. The police have said they’ll make sure these mistakes never happen again, but it has already happened to my husband.”
A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police carried out an investigation into the murder of William McPhee at Castleview House inEdinburghon January 11.
“Following the investigation the force requested that Strathclyde Police carry out an independent review into the police response to the incident, which has recently been concluded.
“Mr McPhee’s wife has been kept fully updated on the progress of the review and recently a senior officer, along with the family liaison officer, visited Mrs Mchpee to give her a personal update.
“The findings of the review will be fully considered by Lothian and Borders Police and a report will be sent to the deputy chief constable for his consideration.”