Police handling of soldier’s death abroad “like Maddie case”
THE DAD of a brave Black Watch soldier who died on holiday in Portugal has compared police handling of his son’s case to Madeline McCann.
It has been more than a year since Lance Corporal Darren Lackie died in the Albufeira resort, but his dad Graham says he is still waiting for answers.
Police say the soldier died in a drunken fall and have stopped their investigation, but Graham is convinced he died after being mugged.
Graham’s MP, senior Liberal Democrat Ming Campbell, has taken up the case, saying he will drag in the Foreign Secretary if more action isn’t taken.
Graham, 53, says the case is chillingly similar to the handling of Madeleine McCann’s dissapearance in another Algarve resort in 2007.
The 21-year-old Afghanistan veteran from Cupar, Fife, was found unconscious with head injuries on 31 March 2011, and he died shortly afterwards.
He was hailed as a “gifted soldier” and a “tremendous young man” when he was laid to rest in April last year.
The squaddie’s father says he has seen toxicology evidence which cats doubt on the official version of events.
He says police are covering up his son’s killing to protect the tourist industry in the Algarve resort.
Graham said: “The police version of events is very different now from what it was 13 months ago.
“There are all sorts of glaring inconsistencies; for example, they said initially that there were eyewitnesses who’s seen Darren fall over but now they say there were no witnesses.
“They also said that Darren was drunk but now they say he wasn’t. I know for a fact that Darren hadn’t been drinking that night and I know he didn’t fall.
“Whatever happened to him wasn’t his fault.
“I think the police want to cover up the whole thing so as not to put off tourists, especially as it’s emerged that a British man was killed by a young Portugese gang in Albufiera just 10 days earlier.”
Graham added Darren’s mobile phone was only found 13 months after he died.
The police told him it had been taken by a maid at the hotel he was staying at.
Darren had injuries to the back of his head and behind his ear.
Graham said doctors told him these injuries were not consistent with a fall.
Toxicology reports showed there was hardly any alcohol in his system, but a rare sedative was present.
Initial reports that Darren was found ouside the bar were also inaccurate, Graham said.
“Darren is supposed to have to have fallen and travelled 50 yards,” he said.
He continued: “It’s like with Maddie, they’re making the story up to suit what they think.
“Nothing rings true to what they originally said.”
“They won’t admit they were wrong, especially in the wake of Madeleine McCann.”
English tourist Ian Haggarth, 50, died after being attacked less than a fortnight before Lance Corporal Lackie was found unconscious in the same resort.
And Garaham said: “Another guy died with the same injury as Darren about a month later.”
Graham’s quest for answers has been helped by his MP Sir Ming Campbell, who has written to the Foreign Office asking for answers from the Portugese authorities.
Lance Corporal Lackie was relaxing ahead of another tour of Afghanistan when the tragedy happened.
He had been on holiday with his girlfriend Ashleigh Wilson, 21, when he died.
Menzies Campbell MP said: “I shall be very dissapointed if if the investigations in Portugal have ceased.
“I shall be contacting Mr Lackie to discuss with him the consequences of any such decision.
“If necessary I will raise the matter with the Foreign Secretary.”
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