THE BROTHER of a toddler who died in care more than 60 years ago wants her body exhumed in a new investigation to prove that she was murdered - as he revealed a new fight for justice putting Police Scotland in the dock.

The force has apologised for withholding evidence that two-year-old Alexina Kelbie suffered extensive injuries indicating abuse before she died.

The toddler died of a brain hemorrhage suffered while living with foster parents in Dundee in 1960, but no crime was ever established by officers at the time.

Alexina’s brother Peter, an actor from Gretna, who has been fighting for answers over his sister’s death for almost four decades, says that the apology is not good enough, has rejected a £25,000 compensation offer from the force and that a new investigation should be launched including an acceptance that it is a murder inquiry.

He says both his true mother Elizabeth and father had a mental health collapse after the death of Alexina.

He says his father Alexander committed suicide in August, 1966 at the age of 33 having been unable to cope with his daughter's murder.

Mr Kelbie says he has now taken the "scandal" to the force watchdog, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for Scotland believing that the case has still not been properly dealt with.

And he says he wants the body of his dead sister, buried in Eastern Cemetery in Dundee to be exhumed as part of the investigation to examine the remains, including the skull.

At the time of her death, it was decided the girl's injuries were self-inflicted as the toddler was prone to banging her head to cope with pain from a broken arm which had not healed properly.

Mr Kelbie pushed for reviews into the police investigation in 1988 and 1993 where it was decided the death had been fully investigated.

Sixteen years ago, freshly-uncovered post mortem photographs showed evidence that Alexina was assaulted but notes from the review found the new information was deliberately withheld from the family.

The images of Alexina revealed her body was covered in bruises and other injuries, including a bite mark.

Officers traced the photographs back to the officer who took them, Sergeant John Underwood, who said at the time he was unhappy with the suggestion Alexina’s injuries were self-inflicted.

Mr Kelbie, who has already rejected £25,000 in compensation from the force believes he has evidence that Alexina was fostered to a family connected to a police foster family.


"The girl had so many injuries. It clearly was not neglect. It was murder," he said.

"The question should be who did this to Alexina.

"I am dissatisfied that, following the death of my two year old sister in care, police did not contuct an adequate investigation into her death or thereafter and it remains unresolved.

"Alexina must be exhumed as soon as possible and she must eventually be placed in our mum's grave in Aberdeen.

"I want her exhumed as part of the investigation. I know it is sensitive. We need to examine her skull There needs to be a new post mortem. "We don't have human rights. This is murder. It is a scandal. And they have covered it up.

"I am requesting a review by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner and as it is something I have to do."

In a new message being sent to PIRC he says: "It is intolerable and unsatisfactory that Alexina’s murder should not have been properly investigated by the police for 63 years. So many victims have been made due to the failings of police...

"Such incompetency of Police Scotland leaves us to conclude that lessons must be learned in the future protection of children in care specifically in foster care."

Lorna Ferguson, chief inspector of Police Scotland's professional standards department said in response to Mr Kelbie's police complaint that the discovery of graphic photographs showing extensive injuries to Alexina had "cast doubt" on the findings of 1960.

She apologised when accepting that the images should have been located prior to reviews carried out in 1988 and 1993.

She also apologised in accepting that the recovery of information regarding the recovery of the post mortem photographs in the 2006 review should have been shared with the family.

An investigation of the family complaint found that during reviews in 1988 and 1993, the destruction of records held by Social Work, Health and the Procurator Fiscal's office had meant "significant and important information was not available" which would have allowed a more detailed and informed picture of Alexina's life and the subsequent investigation into her death.

It also discovered that during one review Patricia Turnbull, the assistant pathologist who carried out Alexina's post mortem examination told of a recollection of speaking with Alexina's foster mother and being aware of a pre-existing injury to her arm, which from records was believed to have occurred prior to Alexina being placed in foster care.

Force records showed that Alexina's foster parents were interviewed as well as neighbours and the possibility of abuse considered as one neighbour specifically recalled being asked if she had ever witnessed any ill treatment.

Ms Turnbull recalled the question of physical abuse being raised at the time of Alexina's death and that assault and abuse of Alexina were considerations but her recollection was the post mortem examination did not provide any evidence in support of this.

Ms Ferguson said: "It appears from initial investigation in 1960 and subsequent reviews in 1988 and 1993, there was a professional consensus of medical and pathological opinion as well as statements provided by carers that the injury to Alexina's arm and subsequent regular pain trauma suffered by her, led her to strike her head against solid objects, leading to a catastrophic head injury and her death."


Part of the initial police complaint

It emerged during a 2006 review leading pathologist Professor Derrick Pounder from Dundee University who had reviewed the post mortem photographs were not disclosed to the Kelbie family at the time.

In Ms Ferguson's complaint response, she said Sergeant Underwood, who was in charge of the Identification Bureau said he remembered he was "unhappy" with the explanation that the injuries were self-inflicted "due to the number of wounds and in particular an apparent bite mark to the outside of her left leg."

He believed he raised his concerns at the time with both the pathologists and the investigating officer.

Ms Ferguson apologised to Mr Kelbie about that the previously undisclosed photographs and associated information was "extremely graphic in content" and could cause distress.

Professor Pounder said the photographs showed multiple bruises and abrasions to the face, neck, upper chest and legs as well as possibly the arms and right side of the abdomen. The bruises to the head and neck were particularly prominent.

The complaint response said: “In his opinion, the overall pattern of injuries was assaultive and could not be explained by a simple fall or even a complex fall.

“The injuries to the neck were suggestive of pressure applied through clothing. There was an injury to the chin, nose and around the mouth with what appeared to be blood in the mouth. There were two distinct separate areas of impact to the forehead.”

Ms Ferguson added: “It was noted that the images appear to show a number of marks and bruises to her body. It has not been possible to establish where these photographs had been stored for the previous 46 years.

"During the 2006 review, officers involved in the previous reviews, confirmed they never had sight of any photographs of Alexina."

Mr Kelbie said he was "shocked" to learn the truth about what actually happened to Alexina while she was in care.

Ms Ferguson also said that a detective, now retired, took the decision not to inform Mr Kelbie of Professor Pounder's findings and was unable to find out why.

As a result of the 2006 review, Dr David Griffiths, then District Procurator Fiscal in Dundee, advised that before there could be any question of a prosecution the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscals Service (COPFS) must be able to establish firstly that a crime had been committed and secondly that an identified individual was responsible for that crime. Both these crucial facts required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

A memo dated July 30, 2009, from Dr Griffiths to a detective pointed out that Professor Pounder said it was not possible to establish a causal link between assault and Alexina's death.

Ms Ferguson said that Dr Griffiths felt the inquiry was "concluded".

She said that she was of the view the police did conduct an adequate investigation into the death but added: "There can be no doubt if similar circumstances presented themselves today the case would be handled very differently by the police and the pathologists".

She added: " Over the last sixty years policing has evolved and advanced. Investigation techniques have matured enormously with advances in forensic science, technology, digital capability and other specialisms that simply were not available sixty years ago."


Mr Kelbie, 60, who with Alexina and two other siblings part of a large Scots gypsy Romany family, were in care as children, believes that Prof Pounder's conclusions show that a there should be further investigations into murder and that Police Scotland were continuing to "simply wash the case under the carpet".

He said: "I believe it shows someone took her life, they killed her.

"It showed the sheer scale of the brutal attacks on Alexina's body."

He says he was told when his mother left the mortuary at Maryfield Hospital on the morning of September 1, 1960, she collapsed and said something like: "This is not accidental. She has been murdered, they've battered her, they've battered her black and blue."

His mother, who had become depressed for sometime over the murder, died in a road accident in Aberdeen at the age of 42, in August, 1976.

Mr Kelbie added: "Ms Ferguson found no fault finding on the 1960 investigation. She was wrong in many aspects. "We are left with a nest of vipers in a long battle to seek the truth on who murdered and why."

Police Scotland were approached for comment.