A murder probe is under way after a Perthshire man’s body was found inside a burning car.
Polish national Rafal Lyko visited his family in Auchterarder shortly before his death, detectives revealed yesterday.
The 36-year-old’s remains were discovered by police inside a stolen Mercedes in the Lanarkshire town of Blantyre last week.
Emergency services were scrambled to the scene after witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion.
The father-of-one had moved from Tayside to Poland several years ago, but had flown back to Scotland to visit his parents.
Neighbours at his family home in Auchterarder town centre spoke of their shock.
“The family are just devastated,” one resident said. “Rafal hadn’t been back home for a while, but they always kept in touch.
“He moved to Poland a few years ago and hasn’t been back much since. They are such kind people and they’re struggling to come to terms with what’s happened.”
There was no response from Mr Lyko’s parent’s address last night.
Investigators are now trying to piece together Mr Lyko’s final moments.
It is understood he also visited Crieff, before travelling to South Lanarkshire.
The car is believed to have been in East Kilbride and Cambuslang before it was found alight in Blantyre’s Greenhall Park just before 8pm on Monday.
Residents raised the alarm, reporting a loud bang in the area where the car was found.
Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team have now launched a murder probe into the grisly death and appealed for information from the public.
Detective Chief Inspector Davie Scott said: “We are issuing a photo of Rafal and are hoping that anyone who remembers seeing him will contact us.
“We have had a good response from our appeals to date, but we still need to piece together Rafal’s last known movements.”
He said: “Rafal arrived at Edinburgh Airport on Saturday, February 9, from his home in Poland. From there he travelled to the Tayside area to visit relatives.
“Officers are working hard to gather as much information on Rafal’s death and work out where he then travelled to after that. We are keen to speak to anyone who has any knowledge of Rafal’s movements after Saturday, February 9.”
Police had earlier revealed the Mercedes had been stolen in the Oxgangs area of Edinburgh last month.
Det Ch Insp Scott added: “The Mercedes GLE car he was found in is undergoing extensive forensic examination and officers are continuing to track it from when it was stolen from the Oxgangs Road area of Edinburgh on Thursday, January 24, 2019 to when it was seen in South Lanarkshire on Monday, February 11.
“On that Monday morning it was seen near East Kilbride town centre. We believe the vehicle was later in the Halfway area of Cambuslang before it was found on fire near Greenhall Park, Blantyre.
“I would urge anyone who recognises Rafal, or who saw him after Saturday the 9th of February to contact us.
“Any small piece of information on his movements or the car involved could be vital to our investigation”
It was reported that Mr Lyko was so badly burnt that there was a delay confirming his identification.
Farmer Andrew Smillie, who lives near the crime scene, said: “I couldn’t see the car, but I could see the glow from the fire and then I heard a loud bang, as if the engine had exploded.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting reference number 3663 of February 11 or call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.