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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Inspectors to look at death case
Colyn Evans
Colyn Evans, who was told he must serve at least 17 years
A report into the case of a 16-year-old girl killed by a high-risk sex offender is to be scrutinised by official inspectors, MSPs have been told.

The involvement of the Social Work Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary was announced by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson.

Colyn Evans was jailed for life for killing Karen Dewar in Tayport.

The report by Fife Council and Fife Police, published last week, dealt with the authorities' handling of Evans.

The council and the police have welcomed the review of their joint report.

The 18-year-old was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh last week after admitting strangling the childcare student, pushing her body into a bin and setting it on fire.

Judge Lord Philip said Evans, originally from Aberdare, south Wales, must not be considered for parole for 17 years.

I have asked my officials to look in more detail at the crossover between the youth and adult justice systems to see if there are any lessons that can be learnt
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister

Although he was accused of committing 14 offences between the ages of 10 and 16, officials were powerless to enforce compulsory supervision because Evans was not a registered sex offender as he had been dealt with by the children's hearing system.

Ms Jamieson said the two inspectorates would work with the council and police to expand their report "and look in more detail at the issues raised".

The inspectorates will pass on their findings to ministers, who will then meet the council's chief executive Douglas Sinclair and Fife Police chief constable Peter Wilson to discuss what further lessons may be learned.

System crossover

Speaking in a Holyrood debate on the management of offenders, Ms Jamieson told MSPs: "I have also asked my officials to look in more detail at the crossover between the youth and adult justice systems to see if there are any lessons that can be learnt - particularly in relation to young people who have committed sexual offences."

The minister said she was also concerned at the "consistency" of local inquiries of the type carried out in this case.

"I have therefore also asked my officials to look at drawing up guidelines to ensure that these inquiries, if any should be required in future, are undertaken in a consistent manner," she said.

Karen Dewar
Karen had befriended Evans after feeling sorry for him
The Fife case was raised during the debate by Tricia Marwick, SNP MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, who said the joint report had revealed "a catalogue of failure".

She said Ms Jamieson's announcement was to be welcomed and would "bring some comfort" to the family of Karen "who was let down by the system and let down by the initial investigation".

The First Minister Jack McConnell publicly expressed his sympathies to the Dewar family and pledged to take action if needed to ensure youngsters involved with sexual offences were not "lost" by the authorities once in adulthood.

Conservative MSP Ted Brocklebank said: "We need to know all the circumstances around this tragic case and particularly the consideration of legislation to close any loopholes in procedures for the supervision of Non-Registered Sex Offenders.

"We cannot allow the mistakes made in this case, which were highlighted by the earlier joint report by Fife Constabulary and Fife Council, to be made again."

The victim's family blamed social workers for "dumping" Evans in their village.

Karen, an only child, lived with her parents on the same street as Evans.

She was said to have befriended the teenager along with a group of friends who "felt sorry" for him.

'Difficult case'

Fife Council leader Councillor Anne McGovern said it had always been the intention of the authority and the police to make their joint report available to "all relevant agencies".

She added: "It is clear that the executive's proposal is an opportunity for the national inspection agencies to look at the content of the report, the conclusions we came to and the action points we are already taking forward."

Fife Chief Constable Peter Wilson said that some complex procedural issues had been highlighted for everyone involved in "this difficult case".

He added: "We hope this further review will help provide clarity in the way authorities manage such cases in the future."

Student's killer jailed for life
10 Jun 05 |  Scotland
Father's anger at care officials
10 Jun 05 |  Scotland
Killer's flat 'covered in blood'
13 May 05 |  Scotland
Teenager admits student's murder
12 May 05 |  Scotland
Dewar family pay tribute to Karen
12 May 05 |  Scotland

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