Could scientific advances solve mystery of homeless Harrogate man’s 2007 death?

A forensic review has been launched into the death of Harrogate homeless man Robert Pride-Mcleod
A forensic review has been launched into the death of Harrogate homeless man Robert Pride-Mcleod

Detectives investigating the death of a Harrogate man found dead in a homeless hostel cellar in 2007 hope scientific advances could help them find out what happened to him.

North Yorkshire Police say they are carrying out a “full forensic review” into the death of 49-year-old Robert Pride-McLeod, who died a few days after being made homeless.

This involves reviewing all the items recovered from the scene during the investigation in the hope of recovering DNA evidence that could shed light on the death.

Mr Pride-McLeod was found dead in a cellar in a homeless hostel on Robert Street, Harrogate, on January 21 2007. Police believe he was assaulted prior to his death.

The 49-year-old, who was ill at the time and needed a Zimmer frame to get around, was made homeless on January 12, 2007 and was given a room on the first floor of the hostel. At the time he only weighed five stone.

The following Monday morning his room was checked and he wasn’t there. Despite police appeals for information, nobody has ever come forward to say they saw him after he was helped to his room by a security guard when he arrived at the hostel.

His case was re-opened last year by North Yorkshire Police. Detective Inspector Mark Pearson of the force’s Major Crime Unit said: “As part of the on-going investigation into the death of Robert Pride-McLeod, a review of all the forensic items recovered during the original investigation is being undertaken.

“There have been significant advances since 2007 in techniques that increase the ability to recover DNA evidence from forensic samples. This review is one particular line of enquiry in this investigation that remains open.

“I am committed to following all potential lines of enquiry that could assist in determining what happened to Robert when he went into the hostel and to find out who is responsible for his death.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to ask again that if anyone does have information in relation to Robert’s death that they contact North Yorkshire Police.”

Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for the Major Crime Unit. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.