A mother whose son was murdered is fighting to have the case reopened in a bid to find answers.

Distraught Mary Scroogie says she will fight to the end for her son Stephen who was murdered five years ago.

The mother-of-three had to face the torture of identifying her son’s body which lay in a mortuary following his death in the early hours of March 22, 2015.

Left in shock and disbelief and living in a fog for months, Mrs Scroggie then sat through a High Court trial and heard first hand the injuries which her son suffered.

Ryan McMillan, a former friend, was cleared of the murder of the 39-year-old in Cumbernauld following a trial in 2016. The jury accepted he acted in self-defence. The trial heard Mr Scroggie was armed with a knife when he confronted Mr McMillan at his home and claimed he had been bad mouthing him.

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Mr Scroggie died following a fight in which Mr McMillan was also injured.

After years of counselling and ill-health due to grief, Mrs Sroggie applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for damages.


Mary Scroggie's world was turned upside down by the loss of her son Stephen

Her initial application was refused in 2018, but subsequent appeals have led to her being asked to supply further case details and statements. It is during the course of seeing some information for the first time, that she is now calling for answers.

“I never thought for a minute I would ever be in this position, but I need to fight for my son,” said Mrs Scroggie, from North Lanarkshire.

The pain of losing her son will never leave her and she says it has left an emptiness that will never be filled.

“You are not supposed to bury your children,” she said. “That just isn’t the order of things. I have lost people and lost my parents before but when Stephen died it was completely different. I had never felt anything like the loss of my son.”

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Mrs Scroggie, 68, is the first to admit that her son, at times, was no angel, but said he had a great character and was full of life. He was a father-of-four and Mrs Scroggie said she saw a difference in him when he became a father.

“I wondered how he would be when the children came along, but he loved being a father. His youngest was only eight months old when he died and has grown up without knowing him. The loss of Stephen to society, the loss of him as a son, father, brother and friend is something we cannot get back.”

Mrs Scroggie saw her son regularly, but on the weekend of his murder, hadn’t seen him for a couple of days.

“It was just before noon on the Sunday when police turned up at my house and asked if they could come in," she added. "The police were sitting there when Stephen’s eldest daughter came in and said there was a commotion along the road and that she couldn’t get hold of her dad. I had to tell her there and then what had happened and she just fell to the floor.

“I wanted to see him - I needed to see him. I was told I couldn’t as it was a crime scene, but I needed to hold him. It was the most horrible and traumatic thing there was no turning back from this. I gave birth to him I should have been able to hold him when he was leaving this world. I kept thinking maybe there has been a mistake, but the police officer asked if he had any distinguishing marks. They said there was a couple of tattoos and I confirmed they sounded like Stephen’s.”

Drawing on every bit of strength she had, Mrs Scroggie was taken to identify him.

“I remember I was to look at a small TV screen, that was all that I was allowed. He just looked like he was sleeping. I wanted answers and I remembered asking what had happened and I was told he had a stab wound to the leg. I kept getting different figures for how many times he had been stabbed."

In the weeks after his death the family went through dark days. She often wondered had he come down her house that night only to find he couldn’t get in.

She added: “We had left a key in the door which never happened, and I kept thinking what if he had tried the door. What if I hadn’t fallen asleep or that I should have heard him. Everything goes through your mind. I remember people beginning to laugh again and I couldn’t bear it. I thought how can they do that when my son is dead.

“During the process I kept thinking my son was no longer a person, he was a piece of evidence. Even in court you don’t feel as if he had anyone speaking up for him. Now five years on I don’t know if I have been able to grieve properly.”

Mrs Scroggie sat in court for the short trial and even then felt there was no justice for Stephen. No one else was ever charged with his death.

“The more information I was asked to give the Criminal Injuries hearings, the more I realised something had to be done.

“I would like to meet Police Scotland the Crown and Procurator Fiscal service to have the case reopened or evidence re-examined. It is up to me as his mother and I will take this to my death.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “Any correspondence received will be carefully considered and responded to.”

While Police Scotland said: "Any concerns can be raised with Police Scotland through the appropriate channels."