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Body of Alberta woman killed in Shetland Islands moved to Edinburgh

Family of murdered Alberta woman gets some answers from Global Affairs Canada, relieved they can make arrangements to bring the body of Clare Leveque back to Canada.
The body of 24-year old Claire Leveque, who was murdered in Shetland last month, "will be released to the family as soon as possible” according to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), the prosecution body in Scotland. File photo

Several weeks after Claire Leveque was murdered in the Shetland Islands on Feb. 11, her family is still waiting for her body to be released but are now relieved to know exactly where her remains are being held.  

The Westlock News reached out to Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), the prosecution body in Scotland, and was told via email this week that “the body of Claire Leveque will be released to the family as soon as possible.”

The Procurator Fiscal is responsible for directing all death investigations, including ordering post-mortems where necessary, and releasing the body after pathologists complete the post-mortem examination process.

“COPFS recognizes the impact any delay in the return of the body of a family member can have on the bereaved and we seek to ensure that loved ones are returned as quickly as possible once the necessary post-mortem examinations are conducted,” said a COPFS spokesperson. 

"The investigation is ongoing and the family will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”

The family announced an update Wednesday evening on the GoFundMe page that was created earlier this month, saying "Today we were, after an unfortunate delay, informed of Claire's current location. This allows us to make the necessary arrangements to bring her home to Canada once she is released," said organizer Chris Wallis. "Clint and the entire family are touched by the outpouring of support both locally and from the people of Scotland."   

After initial contact, there was very little communication between Police Scotland and the family for several weeks, noted a spokesperson for the Leveque family, who is going by the first name of Brenda for privacy reasons. She said Thursday morning that the family was told of the exact location of Claire's body, which was moved to the mainland from Shetland.  

"It was Global Affairs (Canada) that was able to get me an address. She's in Edinburgh," said Brenda. "We're certainly very eager to have Claire home, but we are very grateful for Global Affairs for finding out the exact location of her remains. Our next step is to work with a local crematorium to be able to bring her home but that won't be able to move forward until she is released," she added, noting the body is still being held by the courts. 

Brenda said that the family has learned the status of the case in the Scottish court system and have come to understand there is "no limitation of time" under Scottish law, which according to their legal system “does not put a limitation on how long the defence can take to request an additional autopsy,” which could potentially delay the release of Claire’s remains.  

“Obviously, the family desperately wants Claire home. We absolutely want to work within the confines of the Scottish legal system and we want justice,” said Brenda.  "…we certainly want to move forward towards a resolution. We will be actively involved in any way we can and Clint and at least one other person will be in attendance, if and when this does go to trial.”

Brenda said both Global Affairs Canada and the Victims Fund, who provides financial assistance for Canadians victimized abroad, have been “wonderful” and very helpful in assisting the family during their time of grief. Brenda did confirm that the family is applying for assistance under the Victims Fund, in addition to money raised via the GoFundMe page.   

Both Police Scotland and the COPFS confirmed that the case involving Aren Pearson, who is charged in Claire Leveque’s death, is currently “live (or active) for contempt of court.” 

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service also replied to questions via email and said that no further dates have been set at this time and that Pearson “appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court Feb. 22, for a full committal hearing on a petition. He was fully committed and remanded in custody.” 

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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