FAI ordered into death of Cornton Vale prisoner Victoria Teresa Black

The court process is to begin for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of Victoria Teresa Black in January 2022.

Fatal Accident Inquiry ordered into death of Cornton Vale prisoner Victoria Teresa Black SPS

A Fatal Accident Inquiry has been ordered into the death of a prisoner in hospital after she was found unconscious in her cell.

Victoria Teresa Black, 49, was an inmate within HMP Cornton Vale, Stirling, when she was taken to the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert on January 8 2022. She died on January 11.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has lodged a First Notice to begin the court process for an Inquiry into her death.

The inquiry is a mandatory inquiry under Section 2(4)(a) of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016.  

A Preliminary Hearing will be held on April 22 2024 at Dunfermline Sheriff Court. 

The Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held on May 20 and May 21 2024.

The purpose of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) includes determining the cause of death; the circumstances in which the deaths occurred, and to establish what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.  

Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.  

Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on fatalities investigations for COPFS, said:   “The Lord Advocate considers that the death of Victoria Black occurred while in legal custody and as such a Fatal Accident Inquiry is mandatory.  

“The lodging of the First Notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the Sheriff.”  

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