THE sister of a man who died following an incident in Renfrew town centre has welcomed moves to ensure bodies of murder victims are returned to their families sooner.

Paul Mathieson, 37, was found with serious injuries in Houston Street, near the junction with Wilson Street, on Sunday, January 14.

He was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, in Glasgow, but died a week later.

READ MORE: Man faces trial accused of Paul Mathieson murder

Paul's family then had to wait six months for his body to be released so his funeral could take place.

However, proposals put forward by the Crown Office and Fiscal Procurator Service (COPFS) could now see that process sped up.

Rather than keeping a body so that a second post-mortem can be carried out by the defence, pathologists instructed by the Crown and defence services will now consult on whether a second post-mortem is necessary – giving the defence the option to forgo the examination.

Amanda Digby, Paul's sister, has described the move as "a positive step" but fears some families will still endure a lengthy wait for a loved one's body to be released.

She told The Gazette: "It is good that they have made that step and it, in theory, will make the process quicker.

“My concern is how it will be implemented in Scotland, as we have a lack of resources. That means, in reality, families will still have to wait.”

Amanda, 36, added: “We are hoping that we can avoid families like ourselves from going through the same kind of suffering that we did. If we can do that, we will continue to build on Paul’s legacy.”

The Crown Office, which consulted with the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and the Royal College of Pathologists in its review, said the concerns of families had “informed the development” of the proposals.

READ MORE: Closure for Paul Mathieson's family after six month ordeal

Anthony McGeehan, procurator fiscal for policy and engagement, added: “The loss of a loved one is a distressing time for families and we know that this can be exacerbated by delays to being able to arrange a funeral.

"The new protocol endeavours to ensure that post-mortem examinations are only conducted where necessary and loved ones are returned to their family as quickly as possible.

“This promotes the interests of the victims of crime within the criminal justice system whilst preserving potential criminal proceedings and the rights of the accused.”