Death of Oban in­mate could have been avoided, rules FAI

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.’

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