Death of Oban inmate could have been avoided, rules FAI
THE death of an Oban man who was murdered by his cellmate in 2014 could have been prevented, a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) has determined.
Colin Penrose, 22, was in Barlinnie Prison for sexual offences, when his cellmate John Clark, strangled him in the early hours of March 20.
Clark, 22, was serving time for assault and robbery with a knife.
However, Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, who carried out the FAI, said that if a ‘bullying marker’ had been added to Clark’s ‘risks and conditions’ record, the death could have been avoided.
Sheriff Turnbull said: ‘A reasonable precaution, whereby the death of Colin Donald Penrose might have been avoided, would have been for a bullying marker to have been added to John Clark’s risks and conditions.’
He added: ‘Prior to his death, no adequate guidance or training was available to SPS [Scottish Prison Service] staff in relation to the recording of entries within a prisoner’s risks and conditions on the SPS PR2 system. SPS did not act in relation to those failures prior to the death.’
In his conclusion, Sheriff Turnbull wrote: ‘The tragic events of the evening of March 19/20, 2014, while not unique in recent times, are, thankfully, extremely rare, there being only one recorded homicide in a Scottish prison since 2005. That that is the case is in no small part down to the diligence and professionalism of those who work within Scotland’s prisons.
‘Cell sharing is an unavoidable part of the current system. That is unlikely to change without either the building of more prisons or a material change in Scotland’s approach to custodial sentences.’