Ten years after a man was found dead in a damp cellar in Harrogate, detectives are appealing for fresh information in a bid to catch whoever was responsible for his death.
Robert Pride-McLeod’s body was discovered in the basement of a homeless hostel on Robert Street, Harrogate, on 21 January 2007.
A grainy CCTV image – thought to be the last time he was pictured – shows the 49-year-old shortly before he died.
Following an initial investigation into Mr Pride-McLeod’s death, detectives believed he was assaulted shortly before he died. They reopened the case in 2015 and made a fresh appeal, which generated new information but did not lead to any arrests.
Police believe that there are still people in the Harrogate community that hold vital information about what happened to Mr Pride-McLeod, but have not yet shared the information with officers.
A cold case team from North Yorkshire Police and Cleveland Police’s joint Major Investigation Team is supporting the investigation into Mr Pride-McLeod’s death.
A forensic review is ongoing and police are conducting a systematic review of all material recovered from the scene. Items are undergoing forensic tests that were not available during the original investigation.
Detective Inspector Mark Pearson of the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team worked on the initial investigation in 2007 and is now involved in the cold case review.
DI Pearson said: Ten years have passed since we had to break the devastating news to Mr Pride-McLeod’s family that he had been found dead and alone in a cellar. I’m convinced that there are still people out there who hold the key to a number of unanswered questions.
Mr Pride-McLeod was made homeless on Friday, 12 January 2007 and was given a room on the first floor of the hostel.
The following Monday morning his room was checked and he wasn’t there. Despite police appeals for information, nobody has ever come forward to say they saw Mr Pride-McLeod since he was helped to his room by a security guard when he arrived at the hostel. He was found dead later that week.
The coroner recorded an open verdict at the inquest into his death. However a post-mortem examination revealed that he had a head injury and the police believe that he was assaulted prior to his death.
Three people were arrested during the initial investigation and released without charge.
The house where Mr Pride-McLeod was found is no longer a homeless hostel but at the time there were seven rooms and a flat which were occupied.
DI Pearson added: At the time of the initial enquiry people may have been reluctant, for whatever reason, to come forward. But people’s lives change considerably in the course of a decade and they may now realise that sharing information about Mr Pride-McLeod’s death is the right thing to do.
We’re as determined as we were ten years ago to get answers. Someone will know what happened in the final moments of Mr Pride-McLeod’s life and I’d urge them to get in touch.
Were you a resident at the Robert Street hostel in Harrogate when Mr Pride-McLeod arrived? Were you visiting someone at the hostel that weekend? Did you see what happened to Mr Pride-McLeod or have you heard anything about what happened to him? If you have any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please contact North Yorkshire’s Major Investigation Team on 01609 643 147. If you prefer not to give your name, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.