RAPE ACCUSED'S FAMILY BACK LAW CHANGE

Scottish Parliament considers anonymity legislation

THE family of a young man who hanged himself after being accused of rape believe the stigma cost him his life.

Keith Beattie was found dead in a derelict house near his home in Shieldhill in February just 10 days after being accused of raping a teenage girl.

On Tuesday, his heartbroken dad John backed moves to protect innocent men from false allegations of rape.

The Glasgow-based UK Men s Movement petitioned the Scottish Parliament in a bid to achieve new legislation which would include the accused s right to anonymity until conviction.

Tragic dad John Beattie (44), said: ''Our family is still devastated. But we are determined to clear Keith s name.

He added: ''If legislation had been in place earlier this year to protect my son s identity, he would still be alive today. I have no doubt it was the shame of the accusation that led Keith to take his own life.

My son was capable of many things. But he was totally incapable of raping a girl. We believe he was falsely accused and, although he was innocent, Keith could not live with the stigma.

Unemployed Keith left an eight-page letter at the scene of his lonely death pleading his innocence. He left another tragic note in his own bedroom and a heartbreaking ''I love you message on his dad s answering machine.

Keith Beattie (22) appeared on petition at Falkirk Sheriff Count on February 28. During the brief private hearing, he was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl at a house in the Falkirk area the day before. He was also accused of having sex with the under-age girl.

Beattie, a single man, made no plea or declaration. He was released on bail for further inquiries.

His 22nd birthday came just a few days after his release from custody. Keith told his lawyer he was determined to fight to prove his innocence through the courts.

But, tormented by the rape allegations, he took his own life.

His heartbroken father John said: ''Raping someone just wasn t in Keith s nature. I want a full investigation into the circumstances leading up to my son s death. I believe it was a false allegation which forced him into taking his own life. My son was the victim of a terrible lie and I ll do everything I can to prove it to clear his name.

Keith s body was found in a derelict house on the outskirts of Shieldhill by officers from Central Scotland Police force after his worried family raised the alarm. He left a note which said: ''I m accused of something I didn t do.

The family s lawyer Mr Dick Sandeman, confirmed Keith s father wanted his son s case investigated.

He said: ''The death of Keith was a terrible tragedy and waste of a young life. His father told me Keith 'just went to pieces after the rape accusation. On behalf of the Beattie family, I will be asking the procurator fiscal to conduct an inquiry into the death of Keith.