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Police to review shocking case of Kirk minister who ‘robbed’ OAP brothers of £1MILLION

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Police have dramatically agreed to review the case of a Kirk minister who helped to defraud three elderly brothers out of more than £1 million – after an official report condemned officers’ handling of the investigation.

In a shocking case which has been repeatedly highlighted by The Scottish Mail on Sunday, the Reverend Ivan Warwick and a businessman friend embezzled property, land and savings from the vulnerable victims – but were never charged by police.

A scathing new report by a care watchdog said officers ‘failed to identify any evidence of financial exploitation’, even after the brothers went to a police station to make a formal complaint.

Kirk minister the Reverend Ivan Warwick could yet find himself in court

Kirk minister the Reverend Ivan Warwick could yet find himself in court

The review called on the police to apologise to the family of David, Hugh and Roddy McCulloch

The review called on the police to apologise to the family of David, Hugh and Roddy McCulloch

Despite being told that hundreds of thousands of pounds had been drained from the victims’ bank accounts – and the farmhouse they had lived in for decades had been taken off them – police refused to believe a crime had occurred.

The review called on the police to apologise to the family of Hugh, Roddy and David McCulloch and consider bringing a prosecution.

And in a sensational development yesterday, Police Scotland, along with NHS Highland and Highland Council, offered a formal apology to the brothers’ relatives. 

Police also said they would look again at the evidence to decide whether to press criminal charges – meaning Warwick, who once preached to King Charles, could yet find himself in court.

Even though the elderly victims are all now dead, one of their relatives, who repeatedly tried to force the police to take action, said the move was a step towards justice.

Helen Fraser, a cousin of the McCullochs, said: ‘The poor souls were robbed of their home, their farm, their land and their money. 

It should have been a criminal case right from the start. They would still be living yet if it hadn’t been for what happened to them.

‘They never got justice from the police when they were alive. But justice could still be done.’

The McCullochs, all unmarried, lived together at Logie Farm, near Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, for 30 years, looking after each other while raising cattle and sheep.

Warwick, minister of nearby Fodderty and Strathpeffer Parish Church, befriended the vulnerable siblings, along with his friend, businessman Douglas Stewart.

In 2013 the two men tricked the McCullochs – by then in their late 70s and 80s – into giving them power of attorney, then duped the brothers into giving away their home and land for free.

Warwick and Stewart evicted the brothers – two of whom suffered from dementia – and sold the farmhouse for £390,000, as well as taking £800,000 from their bank accounts.

In 2017 two of the brothers, accompanied by Ms Fraser, who was worried about what was happening to them, went to Dingwall police station to complain that they were being ‘ripped off’.

Work under way in 2022 at the Ross-shire farm from which the brothers were evicted

Work under way in 2022 at the Ross-shire farm from which the brothers were evicted

Prince Charles on his way into Canisbay Church accompanied by Rev Ivan Warwick

Prince Charles on his way into Canisbay Church accompanied by Rev Ivan Warwick

Although their complaint triggered an investigation by social services, the police did not accept a crime had been committed.

The case has never been prosecuted in the criminal courts, but middle brother Roddy launched a civil case in the years before his death. 

It resulted in Warwick, Stewart and their wives being ordered to repay the £390,000 proceeds from the sale of the farm.

A review of the case, seen by The Scottish Mail on Sunday, describes how police were also hoodwinked by Warwick and Stewart. 

Quizzed by officers over the missing money, the pair insisted it had been ‘shrewd business planning’.

The police later refused to take action, even when further evidence was produced of large-scale fraud. Instead, officers decided it was a civil dispute. 

The newly completed report was commissioned by the Highland Adult Protection Committee and undertaken by social work expert David Crawford

He concluded: ‘Social work and Police Scotland should jointly offer an apology to the family of the McCulloch brothers for the failure… to identify the risk of financial exploitation and for concluding the investigation in a way which left the brothers exposed to continuing harm.’

Police Scotland yesterday said it is reviewing the case. In a joint statement, the police, NHS Highland and Highland Council apologised to the McCullochs’ relatives for the ‘missed opportunities at various stages… to identify the risks to the brothers, and… to protect them from further harm’.



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