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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Saturday May 18, 2024
Saturday May 18, 2024

Fatal accident inquiry reveals University student’s tragic suicide in young offenders institution

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Katie Allan, 21, took her own life at Polmont yoi, Stirlingshire, after being sentenced for dangerous driving

In a heart-wrenching revelation during a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) at Falkirk Sheriff Court, it was disclosed that Katie Allan, a 21-year-old university student, took her own life at Polmont Young Offenders Institution (YOI), Stirlingshire. Allan, who had been sentenced for dangerous driving, faced a terrifying experience at the facility, according to her mother, who reported that she was “berated by fellow inmates” on the day of her tragic death.

The FAI, which aims to investigate the circumstances leading to the deaths of Katie Allan and another inmate, William Brown, 16, began with an emotional account of the events. William Brown, deemed a “potential risk to public safety,” was remanded in custody and found dead in his cell the day after his suicide watch was discontinued because he posed “no apparent risk.”

Katie Allan, originally from Glasgow, was sentenced to 16 months in prison on March 5, 2018, for dangerous driving while over the drink-drive limit. She was initially taken to Cornton Vale Prison, Stirling, where she revealed her history of self-harm to a nurse upon arrival. Two days later, she was transferred to Polmont YOI, near Falkirk.

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On June 3, 2018, the day before her tragic death, Katie was visited by her mother and brother. After the visit, her mother informed an officer that Katie “was being berated by fellow inmates and was terrified.” The last sighting of Katie alive by staff occurred around 8:10 pm that day, while she was watching TV in her cell. The following morning, she was discovered dead, having taken her own life, leaving notes on her desk and letters to her mother, grandmother, and a friend on her bookshelf.

The FAI disclosed that Katie had lost over a stone in weight during her three months at Polmont. The court also learned about the circumstances surrounding William Brown’s death, with a history of suicidal statements. Despite initial precautionary measures, a case conference held later deemed him “at no apparent risk of suicide.” William was found dead nearly 12 hours after his last contact with staff.

Outside the court, the families’ solicitor, Aamer Anwar, called on First Minister Humza Yousaf to work towards removing Crown immunity, which shields the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) from prosecution for deaths. The grieving families urged accountability and transparency, emphasizing their quest for the truth.

As the inquiry continues, the Scottish Government expressed condolences to families affected by prison suicides and stated their commitment to carefully considering the FAI outcome.

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