Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cupar soldier's father in 'no doubt' Darren Lackie was murdered in Portugal

The father of a Fife soldier who died while on holiday in Portugal has told The Courier he "will not rest" until he uncovers the full circumstances surrounding his son's death.
darren lackie
A family photo of L/Cpl Darren Lackie.
Speaking from the resort of Albufeira, Graham Lackie said he has "no doubt" his son Darren was murdered — and revealed a fresh inquiry has been opened.

Police initially suggested the 21-year-old from Cupar had died following a drunken fall, but medical reports have shown he had not been drinking heavily prior to his death.

Graham believes Darren's drink was spiked with barbiturates, and suggested his son's girlfriend Ashleigh Wilson had also been drugged.

Darren and Ashleigh had been enjoying what should have been a dream holiday to celebrate her 21st birthday.

Graham flew out immediately after his son was hospitalised — Darren was initially placed on a life support machine — and was at his bedside when he died on Mother's Day.

He spoke to The Courier following a meeting with prosecutors in Portugal.

"Prosecutors asked me to put my case forward, explaining why I believe what happened was no accident," the 51-year-old said. "I cited the medical reports and told them that I believe Darren was assaulted.
"Darren was not drunk when he died and I told them to take that out of the equation.

"They listened to everything I said and asked if I wanted them to open a criminal investigation. I replied that of course I did and they logged that."

Graham said Portuguese detectives are now looking into the death to "see if there is more to it" than was initially suggested.


"I feel we have taken a big step forward," he continued. "A number of expats have been in touch since I got here and they say there have been a lot of muggings but that they are kept pretty quiet — presumably because it is bad publicity.

"However, I will not rest until I get to the truth of what happened to Darren."

A post mortem was held on Monday and Mr Lackie hopes Darren's body may be repatriated this weekend.
"The insurance firm is going to pay to fly Darren home, so it has just been a case of trying to get an operator prepared to take a coffin on board," he said.

"I spoke to him at about 7.30pm (last Wednesday night) and he and Ashleigh were getting ready to go out. At 9.30pm Ashleigh felt drowsy and sick so they returned to the hotel.

"There is no way on earth Darren would have left her alone to go out drinking. Ashleigh fell asleep for nine hours which is very unusual. I suspect they both had their drinks spiked."

Mr Lackie believes Darren also fell asleep before leaving the hotel.

"Police assume he left to go to a bar, but he may have simply gone for something to eat," he added.

"One English-speaking doctor has told me the injury behind his left ear is inconsistent with him falling over.

"He may well have been hit with a hammer or something like that. It just doesn't ring true."