Mur­derer fails in his bid to sue over lack of den­tal care

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special - Court re­porter

A Ruther­glen mur­derer who mowed down a Scot­land fan with his car has lost his fight for £15,000 over claims he did not re­ceive proper den­tal treat­ment be­hind bars.

Brian Venuti, 37, was caged in 2004 af­ter de­lib­er­ately plough­ing into Liam Hen­der­son at high speed while he was in a group of Tar­tan Army fans fol­low­ing a game near Ham­p­den Park.

He was also con­victed of the at­tempted mur­der of a sec­ond fan.

But brazen Venuti, who was on methadone in­side, launched a bid for com­pen­sa­tion af­ter claim­ing there was in­ad­e­quate den­tal treat­ment avail­able to him in HMP Shotts, La­nark­shire.

And fol­low­ing a civil hear­ing at Hamil­ton Sher­iff Court, he has failed in his bid to sue the Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice, NHS La­nark­shire and the Scot­tish Govern­ment.

Venuti, who rep­re­sented him­self through­out pro­ceed­ings af­ter the Scot­tish Le­gal Aid Board with­drew their fund­ing, was claim­ing dam­ages for the pe­riod be­tween Oc­to­ber 2011 and Septem­ber 2012.

He claimed he had been left in agony with toothache dur­ing his time in jail and that he was un­able to get den­tal ap­point­ments.

He also in­sisted he had been on the verge of pulling his own teeth out be­cause the pain was so se­vere, was wait­ing months for ap­point­ments and that there were no records kept for him.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence, he said: “When I put in for ap­point­ments I would not hear back from them.

“I would put in for emer­gency forms be­cause I was suf­fer­ing from toothache and maybe five or six months later I would hear back from them.

“I was told by an­other pris­oner and a mem­ber of staff that I could get a lawyer in­volved be­cause of how long I was wait­ing.

“I was nearly pulling my teeth out my­self the pain was that bad and I’m still get­ting den­tal treat­ment now to fix things.

“I have no den­tal records since be­fore 2012 when the NHS took over and they have im­proved the ser­vice which is avail­able but I find it hard to be­lieve no records were kept by the prison ser­vice.

“I have been in prison now for 12 and a half years and there are no den­tal records for me be­fore 2012.

“There was bad prac­tice in place for peo­ple seek­ing a den­tal ap­point­ment un­til the pro­ce­dure was changed.

“They were very un­der re­sourced which just wasn’t good enough.”

But Paul O’Neill, prison health­care man­ager, said he would ex­pect any com­plaints about health to be recorded by nurses work­ing in the jail.

He added: “If a pa­tient re­ports to a health­care worker that there was some­thing wrong with them then I would ex­pect it to be recorded within their health records.

“It would be un­usual for pain of any kind not to be re­ported to a nurse.”

Sher­iff Shiona Wal­dron re­jected Venuti’s bid for cash and branded his ev­i­dence as un­be­liev­able.

Sher­iff Wal­dron added: “No sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence was led that he was suf­fer­ing and that he did ask to see a den­tist.

“I did not find his ev­i­dence cred­i­ble or be­liev­able.

“De­spite a num­ber of con­sul­ta­tions with nurses, there was only one men­tion of any toothache.

“I did not find it cred­i­ble that if he was suf­fer­ing from the pain he said that he was, that he would not seek the help of a nurse.

“It was how­ever clear from the ev­i­dence that there were in­ad­e­qua­cies in pro­vid­ing den­tistry care and keep­ing records be­fore the tran­si­tion to the NHS and I do be­lieve his grievances have not been with­out foun­da­tion.

“But it has to be es­tab­lished that there were in­di­vid­ual fail­ures which left him in­jured and the pur­suer has failed to do that.”

Venuti, who was stay­ing in New­field Place at the time, killed 23- year- old Liam, of New­machar, Aberdeen­shire, and left Aberdeen fa­ther Rab Gaudie in a coma for nearly a month af­ter the 2003 crash.

They were with a group of Scot­land sup­port­ers, near Ham­p­den Park, who were on their way to a match against Hol­land. Venuti had ar­gued with fans be­fore get­ting his BMW and plough­ing into sup­port­ers. He was jailed for life and or­dered to serve a min­i­mum term of 15 years.

Killer Brian Venuti was caged in 2004 af­ter de­lib­er­ately plough­ing into Liam Hen­der­son at high speed

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