The judge who led the public inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence has died in his Perthshire home, aged 94.
Sir William Macpherson was a High Court judge who was heavily involved in his local community.
Tributes were led by the clan of which he was chieftain, local politicians and his town golf course, where he was a regular player and honorary member.
‘The world will have benefited from his 94 years on this earth’
The Clan Macpherson Association – of which Sir William was the 27th chief – announced the news on its website, hailing his presence and leadership.
The statement read: “I am saddened to have to bear the news that our 27th chief, Sir William Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie – ‘Cluny’ to us all – died peacefully at home on February 14, surrounded by his family.
“We were fortunate to have had his guidance, support and leadership for an incredible 50 years and the world will have benefited from his 94 years on this earth.
“His phrase ‘first amongst equals’ doesn’t even start to mark the presence he had.”
Sir William was a High Court judge in England between 1983 and 1996, when he retired from the bench.
Arguably, his most famous case was the trial in Newcastle of child killer Robert Black, which ended with the conviction of the Falkirk van driver for the kidnap and murder of Sarah Harper, Susan Maxwell and Caroline Hogg.
Macpherson Report accused police of institutional racism
He was asked by the government to chair the inquiry into the way the Metropolitan Police handled its investigation of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The Macpherson Report attacked officers for “professional incompetence and bad leadership” and levelled the charge of “institutional racism” against the force.
A raft of recommendations were made, aimed at improving the way the police and other public services dealt with people from ethnic minorities.
Before his appointment as a judge, Sir William was a Queen’s Counsel practising in London and abroad.
Blairgowrie community pays tribute
North Perthshire MSP John Swinney paid tribute.
He said: “He was a hugely respected High Court judge, whose seminal report on the death of Stephen Lawrence was a mark of the rigour, challenge, humanity and independent mind for which he was widely respected.
“His roots in Blairgowrie, and his constant connection with the area, brought him much joy and great benefit to the local community.”
Pete Wishart MP said: “In Blairgowrie, he’ll just be remembered for his immense contribution to the community.”
James Macfarlane, captain of Blairgowrie Golf Club, said members have been “saddened” by the death of Sir William.
He said: “Sir William was very pleased to have been appointed an honorary member of the club at its AGM last December.
“Having first played at Blairgowrie at the age of 11 in 1937, we believe that Bill was our longest-serving member.
“Obituaries will speak of his distinguished career in law and in other areas. It is for his contributions to the life and the wellbeing of the Blairgowrie Golf Club that we held him in such high esteem, however.
“He was ever a charming, witty and engaging personality and members will always remember him with affection each time we pass the bridge on Rosemount’s 17th, which was erected and named in his honour.”