Man accused of abandoning sick boy on bus before he died

Derek McNeill, 51, has denied a number of charges in connection with the death of 13-year-old Blake Ross.

A man has been accused of neglecting a 13-year-old boy, who later took ill and died.

Derek McNeill allegedly had care of Blake Ross at his home in Edinburgh in February 2017.

The 51-year-old is said to have abandoned the sick teenager on a bus before he passed away in hospital.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, McNeill denied the allegations.

He first faces a charge under the Children and Young Persons Act.

It spans between February 11 and 13, 2017 listing a number of addresses including McNeill’s house in Barn Park, Edinburgh.

The indictment includes claims McNeill knew the teen was a “missing person” and on his own with a medical condition needing treatment when he took him to his home.

It is said McNeill was someone who had “parental responsibilities” or was in “charge or care of a child”.

The charge alleges he did “wilfully neglect, expose and abandon” Blake causing him “unnecessary suffering or injury”.

McNeill is said to have failed to inform the authorities Blake was in his care.

Blake allegedly spent two nights with McNeill in “unsanitary conditions”.

It is further claimed McNeill did not get medical help for Blake and, despite his “deteriorating condition”, he then “abandoned” the boy unsupervised on a bus in the capital’s Murrayburn Road.

Prosecutors state Blake went on to develop ketoacidosis – a complication linked to diabetes – and died on February 13, 2017 at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

McNeill is then accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the police inquiry into Blake’s death.

It is alleged McNeill told officers Blake had never been in his home.

McNeill has also been accused of deleting his mobile phone call history.

He further faces separate claims under the Sexual Offences Act in connection with Blake.

Both McNeill’s lawyer Brian Gilfedder and prosecutor Jane Farquharson QC said they were ready for a trial to be set.

However, due to the current coronavirus pandemic, that was not possible.

Lord Arthurson instead fixed a further hearing for September 16 in Edinburgh.

It is expected any trial could last around ten days.

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