Priest’s death in Scotland: Police talk to relatives in India

The body may not be flown to India before July 1

By Tomy Vattavanal

London: The police in Scotland on June 26 contacted the family of an Indian priest, who was found dead on a beach in Edinburgh.

The brother and nephew of Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira in Kerala, southern India, attended the video conferencing with the police that lasted about 40 minutes, reported on June 27. It was part of the police probe into the 33-year old priest’s mysterious death. The police informed the family about the progress in the inquiry

The Carmelite of Mary Immaculate (CMI) priest had gone to Scotland early last year to pursue doctoral studies in Edinburgh University.

Father Tebin Francis Puthanpurakkal, who was deputed by the CMI to liaise with the authorities in the United Kingdom, was present with the police officers.

The investigating officers listed whatever they had done since Xavier’s body was found on the Dunbar Beach near Edinburgh but did not share any information on how he died.

The authorities are supposed to submit a report within 10 days of finding a dead body. An autopsy may be held either on June 27 or 28. Father Puthanpurakkal talked to the fiscal officer to urge him to fast-track the process and release the body.

The priest said that he would meet officers in the Indian consulate in Edinburgh on June 27 to talk about the proceedings to fly the body to Xavier’s home in Kerala. He said he was getting all support from the police and the consulate.

Father Puthanpurakkal denied reports that the priest’s body was decomposed and urged the media to be sympathetic with the family members who were pained by the unconfirmed reports. He said that he would share a copy of the first information report as soon as the police give him one.

The Edinburgh diocese has decided to perform special services in memory of Father Xavier after the body is released by the police. The body may not be flown to India before July 1.

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