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Last Updated: Friday, 4 January 2008, 02:25 GMT
Crime scene clean-up bill 'crazy'
Forensics expert at crime scene
Victim Support cited cases where blood was left for families to clean
The families of murder victims should not have to pay for the crime scene to be cleaned up, an MSP has said.

Lib Dem justice spokeswoman Margaret Smith said it could cost thousands of pounds to have a home cleaned after the police investigation had ended.

She said the expense seemed "crazy" as it added to the agony of grieving relatives and called for a government fund to be set up to meet the cost.

One woman had to wash her dead father's blood off his kitchen walls.

The Scottish Government said it was examining how to improve the service.

About 20 to 30 families a year are currently left to pay for cleaning up their home after a murder. The bill can include removing the dried blood of victims from furnishings, with costs ranging from 200 to 3,000.

The blood was wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor. There wasn't an inch of the wall that wasn't covered in bloody handprints
Carla McIntyre

Among them was the family of a man beaten to death in his own kitchen who were forced to wash his blood off the walls themselves because they could not afford to hire a professional cleaner.

Former policeman Michael Mosey, 57, from Lanark was bludgeoned to death with his own truncheon by John Mackie, 33, in August 2006.

Mr Mosey's daughter Carla McIntyre, 29, said she and her relatives soon realised they were on their own.

Ms McIntyre said: "The blood was wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor. There wasn't an inch of the wall that wasn't covered in bloody handprints.

"The smell was indescribable. It would catch you at the back of the throat.

"When I went down to scrub the floor I was crying. We were covered from head to toe. This wasn't just any blood. This was my dad."

Carla McIntyre
Ms McIntyre ended up covered in her father's blood

Ms Smith said the relatively small sums of money involved in setting up a government fund would be an "affordable gesture that would make a huge difference to bereaved families at a difficult time".

The MSP added: "As well as coming to terms with their loss and attending to funeral arrangements, the families of murder victims have the added ordeal of a court case and, quite often, media attention.

"It seems crazy to add to this burden by forcing families to pay for the cost of cleaning up the murder scene if it occurs in their own home.

"I want the Scottish Government to consider my proposal to introduce a fund that would cover the cost of cleaning up homes after murder."

The figures for families involved were supplied by Victim Support Scotland.

A spokesman for the voluntary organisation said the creation of a fund to cover "reasonable expenses" of victims of crime who were not called to give evidence in court was at the heart of its Manifesto for Change 2007-2011.

He added: "It is encouraging to see that a political party is recognising there's a problem here for victims of very serious crime."

'Additional pressure'

The organisation said it knew of examples where parts of homes were sealed off as a crime scene in the aftermath of murders.

But when families were allowed to return "evidence of the murder in form of blood, etc" was still obvious.

The spokesman added: "It creates a very serious additional pressure for victims.

"We would hope that the government would recognise that there's something that can be done here at not a great capital cost."

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was providing about 41.5m this year to address a "range of issues" affecting victims of crime.

He added: "We continue to examine how best to improve the services made available.

"A working group, established by the then Scottish Executive in 2003, to review support for families bereaved by homicide, found that local authorities can recommend professional cleaning services, but would only meet the cost where they own the property.

"The group recommended, however, that local authorities be encouraged, through Cosla, to revise their current practice in relation to cleaning houses where a homicide had been committed."


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