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