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Liverpool connection to brutal murder of Inverness dad

By Ali Morrison

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Ross MacGillivray.
Ross MacGillivray.

An enforcer for a Merseyside-based organised crime gang may have been responsible for the brutal murder of a 36-year-old father in Inverness last weekend.

The man in charge of the investigation into the death of Ross MacGillivray, who was found dead from horrific injuries in a house in St Ninian Drive at around 12.10am on Sunday, admitted that "a significant level of violence" was used in the killing and there was a Liverpool connection.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin MacDougall said one suspect was black, around 6ft tall slim with short black hair and stubble. He had a Liverpool accent, and was wearing a blue puffer jacket, black tracksuit bottoms and white chunky trainers.

The second man had a local accent, was white, 5'8" tall, slim, brown hair shaved at the sides but longer on top. He was wearing a black waterproof jacket, grey and black trousers and black trainers.

Extensive CCTV footage from around the Dalneigh area and Inverness itself is being carefully examined by his colleagues in the hope that the two men can be identified.

He would not confirm that a knife or a weapon was used, that the death was drugs related or that he had been in touch with Merseyside Police.

He said: "It is a line of enquiry. We are not ruling out there is some link to drugs and as such there will be conversations with any force which can help us."

The DCI confirmed they are also investigating whether there is a link to other serious assaults where a man in Easter Ross was struck on the head with an axe. One of the suspects in that case was black and had a Liverpool accent.

He said he was aware of that incident and another where an Inverness man was stabbed and there was a Liverpool connection.

Defence lawyers in Inverness confirmed that some of their clients involved in drugs were concerned for their safety and were not returning to their homes or attending for unpaid work "because the Scousers would find me".

Detective Chief Inspector Martin MacDougall. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Detective Chief Inspector Martin MacDougall. Picture: Callum Mackay..

DCI MacDougall said: "I am aware of the incidents and they are being investigated as well as checking if there are any links to our current enquiry. If anyone has concerns, I recommend that they come forward and speak to us so we can keep the people of the Highlands and Islands safe from drugs gangs or organised crime groups.

"Inverness and the surrounding area is not alone with these groups coming to the area. I appreciate that people involved in drugs may be reluctant to come to the police but their safety is also of concern to us."

The appeal also centred on a woman who was possibly with the two men in the St Valery Avenue area of Inverness at around 12.20am on Sunday after the suspects had been seen entering the St Ninian Drive property at about 10.20pm on Saturday and leaving shortly after midnight.

The detective said a woman who was in the property at the time has been questioned but was being treated as a witness not a suspect.

He would not say if she was under any level of protection but added: "Her safety is obviously of concern to us and it is something we will address with her directly."

It has been revealed that the dead man was under bail conditions not to be in the St Ninian Drive property since a private Inverness Sheriff Court appearance in July and had breached that condition at the end of last week.

"Ross had certain conditions to prevent him from being certain places and that is part of the investigation," DCI MacDougall said. "Ross's history and his background also features. I don't know why Ross was at that address and why he became the victim of this crime.

"Incidents such as this are thankfully very rare in the Highlands and we fully appreciate the impact this tragedy has had in the local community and across Inverness.

"His family have expressed that Ross was dearly loved by them and have asked that their privacy be respected."

Police have maintained a presence at the house and on Sunday had cordoned off an area of the Caledonian Canal, where the two men were seen to be heading.

Anyone with information can call 101, quoting reference 0031 of Sunday, November 12, 2023, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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