A grieving mum has hit out after learning she faces an eight month delay to find out why her 23-year-old son died suddenly.

Michelle Jackson is desperate for answers after son Callum's death before Christmas, but a toxicology services dispute means she faces a long wait.

Her sister Jen fears the delay is holding up a police investigation.

Callum's body was found at a property in Edinburgh, the Daily Record reports.

Michelle, 41, has told the Crown, saying: “Sort it. This is not good enough.”

And Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: “I am appalled that the Jackson family could be forced to wait eight months for the post-mortem report into Callum’s tragic death.

“This is causing a grieving family additional torment and sadly we know that thousands of other families across Scotland are being hit by these cruel delays.”

Have you been affected by delays because of the dispute? Email [email protected]

Callum's mum Michelle Jackson (left) and his aunt Jen Jackson-Robertson

Sudden and unexplained deaths are reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), which can order toxicology tests to be carried out as part of the post-mortem.

However, a dispute between the COPFS and Glasgow University, which carries out the service, has created a huge backlog.

Grieving families have been told the hold up could result in final post-mortems taking 12 months to complete after a death.

He worked in various jobs as a young man, including at Scotmid and Argos, and was described as a "people person" by his family.

Callum also suffered from drug-related mental health problems and was admitted to hospital after an episode of psychosis.

Speaking to the Record at her home in Currie, Michelle said: “As a mum, I felt helpless.”

Michelle said she has been left feeling helpless

Aunt Jen Jackson-Robertson, 38, said: “He was vulnerable. People used to take advantage of Callum.”

Although Callum was initially sectioned, he successfully challenged the decision at a tribunal and was discharged from hospital.

He was later helped by a charity that specialises in working with people who are homeless or suffering with addiction.

His mum believes the sessions had a positive impact on Callum’s life. She said:  “When he started going to the groups, he said he really liked that. He said ‘I need to meet new friends’."

However, Callum went missing and was found dead at a property in the Wester Hailes area of the capital on December 13th.

His family are desperate to know how he died, but the dispute between the two public bodies over toxicology services has prevented them from getting answers.

Michelle said a letter from the Crown “didn’t say much”, but a staff member later confirmed a delay and said could be "seven or eight months".

A letter from the Procurator Fiscal to Callum's grandad Andrew

She said of the lengthy wait: “One, if it is eight months, that it is Callum’s birthday month. Two, it’s just about a year after he passed.”

Jen, who has described the ordeal as “torture”, said she and other family members have been taking sleeping pills to cope.

She added: “I just can’t sleep. I keep thinking about all the unanswered questions, because we still don’t know how he died.

“There are so many families going through it. It’s just ridiculous.”

Michelle said she feels her son is being treated as a “drug user who got unlucky”, while Jen said the knock-on effect of the delay is another agony for families. She added: “It’s absolutely crazy. This is people’s lives. It’s unacceptable.”

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Lennon, who has campaigned for affected families, said: “With some bereaved relatives being told by the COPFS to expect delays of 12 months, this is a very serious situation that is also impacting on the work of the police, the courts and public health professionals.

“The First Minister and the Lord Advocate must set out a clear recovery plan to end these delays and put practical support in place for families at this vulnerable time.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Following an investigation into a sudden death at an address in Dumdryden Gardens, Edinburgh, in December 2019 a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

A COPFS spokesperson said: “COPFS appreciates the impact of the delays in toxicology analysis and has apologised to the families affected. COPFS has been in contact with Mr Jackson’s family and kept them informed of timescales.

“The Crown relies upon contracts with external experts for laboratory work and is finalising arrangements to reduce this backlog as quickly as possible.”