Ross-shire Massacre: two years on

nothingSo, it’s been two years since 22 dead birds of prey were discovered in a small area around Conon Bridge in the Highlands. It was one of the most significant illegal raptor persecution crimes ever uncovered in the UK.

Are we any closer to finding the culprit(s)? Of course not. Here’s what we do know:

  1. 22 dead raptors (16 red kites + 6 buzzards) were found in the same small area over a period of weeks in March/April 2014.
  2. Sixteen of those raptors were later confirmed poisoned: 12 red kites + 4 buzzards.
  3. No cause of death has been given for the other six victims.
  4. The poison used was a banned substance.
  5. Nobody has been arrested.
  6. Nobody has been charged.
  7. Nobody has been convicted.

According to a ridiculous Police Scotland press statement, these birds “were most likely not targeted deliberately but instead were the victims of pest control measures“. Quite how they’d know this without having spoken to a known culprit is anybody’s guess (see here) and until they do, that’s all their conclusion can be, a guess.

The police are still withholding the name of the poison used – we’re told this is ‘for operational purposes’. We’re also told that this is still ‘a live investigation’.

What it actually is is a shambles and it has been from the start.

The first six dead birds were discovered between 18-24 March 2014 and poisoning was immediately suspected. The police put out a press statement on 25th March (here) but at that stage they hadn’t conducted a proper search, so by telling the world about this suspected crime they gave the culprit(s) every opportunity to hide any remaining evidence. A thorough police search didn’t take place until 9th April (see here) – three weeks after the discovery of the first dead birds. Unsurprisingly, no evidence to link the crime to a suspect was found.

Two years on and we’re no closer to seeing justice prevail. It’s just another unsolved raptor-killing crime amongst hundreds of others.

Previous blogs on the Ross-shire Massacre here

10 thoughts on “Ross-shire Massacre: two years on”

  1. Just come back from a drive round the Black Isle, I saw one red kite whereas I should have seen dozen’s, like I would have done on similar drive in the Chilton’s. Scotland should hang its head in shame, we are a joke when it comes to our wildlife. What makes this so sad is that at one time Scotland was the place to see wildlife, now we have fallen behind England.

  2. Chris,

    There is no competition between Scotland and England over wildlife criminality. The crime is that we allow it to continue – exactly how can we bring an end to this wanton destruction, shoot the gamekeepers and landowners who conduct and condone these acts of vandalism?

  3. Calling it a “live investigation” is just a way of preventing criticism and stifling discussion, in my opinion. They’ve either bollixed it up or are trying to cover it up and I would put money on them keeping on calling it a “live investigation” or other similar form indefinitely, and hoping everyone goes away and loses interest. I shan’t, and I hope nobody else here will either.

  4. Is anything known about the meeting proposed during the January RACCE committee meeting? As mentioned here:
    “Dave Thompson: You suggested a meeting between a range of bodies and parties, perhaps including myself. It would have to be before 23 March, because I am not standing again, although I am sure that my successor—whoever that is— would be happy to take part. Such a meeting would reassure people. Although the public accept that the police continue to look into the case and that they would dearly like to get any evidence that would allow them to conclude it, there are questions about how the police went about things at the beginning. Such a meeting would be really useful because frank discussions could take place and the issue could be talked through, without you having to divulge things that might prejudice the case. I would welcome such a meeting, if you are offering one.

    Assistant Chief Constable Graham: I am, and I offer to do it before 23 March.”

  5. Thank you for continuing to highlight this massacre, the utterly incompetent response by the police & then their obvious attempt to play down the seriousness of the incident. If the police want to draw a line under this sickening fiasco they should apologise to the Scottish public.

  6. Local police will keep this investigation live for as long as it takes for us to go away, so it’s going to be a long haul. The longer they keep it live just makes those who know the culprit more inclined to name him and be damned – at least it would bring things to a head very quickly. If we are charged with contempt, it will be a lot less than the contempt we have for the police and the courts.
    We know who did it, the police obviously know who did it and the Fiscals office know but the threat of contempt is wearing thin. I for one fancy a wee holiday at her majesty’s pleasure. At my age I’ve nothing to lose.

  7. For the record, I was interviewed by a local newspaper just after the raptor killings. I suggested that they ask the officer in charge of the investigation if there was a social connection, say through membership of a shooting syndicate for example, with any member or members of the investigating team and anyone under suspicion. The reply was that they had a good relationship with the local force and would not ask that question. We will out the culprit one way or anothet with or without endangering anyone’s pension!!

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