State continues to let down woman who took own life at Polmont, claims brother

The brother of a woman who killed herself in a young offenders institution has accused the authorities of continuing to let down his sister by “failing to hold to account the Scottish Prison Service”.

Scott Allan told of his “grief” after the death of his sister Katie in June 2018, when the 21-year-old took her own life in a cell at Polmont while serving a sentence for a driving offence.

He and his parents, together with the brother of William Lindsay, 16, who also killed himself in the same institution, met senior figures from the Crown Office in Edinburgh on Thursday.

After talks with Principal Crown Counsel Ashley Edwards KC, the families hit out, with lawyer Aamer Anwar alleging there has been “no justice” for them.

Speaking publicly for the first time following the death of his sister, Mr Allan (pictured, second from right) said: “What the Scottish criminal justice system has taken from my family is beyond words.

“Since Katie’s death, I have lost more than a sister, I have lost my dearest friend, I have lost hope in the ‘state’, and I have lost what remained of my childhood.

“The hatred I feel towards those responsible for Katie’s death is one that lingers even now.

“The state has taken from me my sister, but once again today it continues to fail Katie by failing to hold to account the Scottish Prison Service.”

After the meeting, Mr Anwar said the families had been told the Crown Office “believes that there was credible and reliable evidence of a breach” of health and safety legislation in relation to the two deaths.

But he added that Crown immunity “means there can be no prosecution of the Scottish ministers and therefore no justice for their families”.

Mr Anwar said while processes could allow for a “Crown censure of the Scottish ministers”, there is no guarantee this will happen.

Mr Lindsay took his own life on October 7, 2018, just 72 hours after he had arrived at Polmont, in Falkirk, on remand.

Miss Allan died four months before that, with just 21 days left of her sentence.

Speaking on the steps of the Crown Office in Edinburgh, Mr Anwar said Mr Lindsay had been “forgotten by all those who promised to never forget William”.

The lawyer gave a brief statement on behalf of Mr Lindsay’s brother John Reilly, in which he said “my mother Christine Lindsay died with her heart being broken that she was unable to fulfil her duty to her child William and give him justice”.

The statement added: “Today the Crown Office should hang its head in shame, because they tell us that there is absolutely nothing they can do other than offer my family a ‘censure’ of the Scottish Prison Service and even that is not guaranteed, do they really think my brother’s life is so cheap?”

Stephen McGowan, Deputy Crown Agent of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said afterwards he was “grateful for the opportunity to meet Katie and William’s families, and their legal representatives, to discuss the ongoing cases”.

Mr McGowan added: “They suffered devastating loss and the time taken to complete the investigations has undoubtedly been very difficult for them.

“However, significant progress is being made and we will continue to keep them advised of developments.”

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