25 years on: Edinburgh family renew appeal for missing Iain McLean who struggled after break-up in Italy

An Edinburgh family has renewed their appeal to find their missing son and brother who disappeared 25 years ago to the day.

Iain McLean was 24 when he left the family home - one of the colony houses in Ashley Terrace, Shandon - without his glasses, passport or any money on Friday, December 8 in 1995.

He was last seen by his mother at around 6pm that evening before she went out for a meal - but when she returned he had gone.

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His sister, Shona Mathers (nee McLean), told the Edinburgh Evening News that police had done their best to find him but found no leads at all.

Iain McLean, who disappeared on the evening of Friday, December 8 in 1995.
Iain McLean, who disappeared on the evening of Friday, December 8 in 1995.

Nothing else appeared to have been taken from the house that day and his friends or family have not heard from him since.

Shona, 47, who was living in Brighton at the time of her brother’s disappearance but now lives in Edinburgh, said: “For me, it would be amazing if either he saw the newspaper and made contact, or someone who knows him or recognises him made contact. That would be the ideal, and to see him again would be amazing.

“We’re hoping but there’s no guarantee. When it’s been so long, we have to be prepared he could be dead and I have no idea of knowing.

“We have never forgotten him, and whatever his circumstances we would love to have contact. Even if he doesn't want contact, it would be comforting to know that he is safe and well somewhere. Our door will always be open for him with a warm welcome.”

Shona (right) with sister Alison and Iain at his graduation.

Iain’s family has joined with the charity Missing People to mark the 25th anniversary of his disappearance and renew their appeal for information.

‘It does not leave you’

Shona explained that Iain had been struggling with deteriorating mental health at the time he went missing following a relationship break-up in Italy, where he had been teaching English, leaving him “incredibly upset.”

He had also been given a diagnosis of depression and was unable to maintain his job and struggled for a while to get to sleep at night.

Iain is described as 6ft tall, of slim build with curly, black shoulder length hair at the time he went missing. He also has a noticeable scar on the side of his left eye.

His interests include current affairs, politics, travel and language and he would now be 49 years old.

Shona, who is now a care support worker, said: “It's the ‘not knowing.’ There is no conclusion process to go through. It’s not like a bereavement where you go through that process. It’s an unconcluded sad event in our lives.

“It’s been such a long time but when I bring my mind to it, I still get upset. It does not leave you. You have moments - birthdays, Christmas and other times - and it can be overwhelming and there is nothing you can do. But for me, I just have to not spend too much time thinking about it which is sad as well. It’s very, very difficult.”

Missing People publicity officer, Jemima Compton, said that if Iain or anyone who knows or recognises him reads the appeal they should call or text the charity on 116 000 or by emailing [email protected] or call police on 101.

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