Prisoner overdosed in cell weeks after being moved to cut off supply

Steven Gunn was relocated at HMP Addiewell when officers became concerned over his access to illicit substances.

Prisoner found dead in HMP Addiewell ingested cocktail of drugs weeks after being moved to cut off supply Google 2020

A prisoner found dead in his cell at a Scottish jail ingested a cocktail of drugs including diazepam before overdosing, according to a probe.

Guards at HMP Addiewell in West Lothian raised the alarm after failing to rouse Steven Gunn from his bed in the Lomond C wing in October 2018 – weeks after being moved in an effort to wean him off illicit substances.

The 41-year-old, who was just a year into his sentence for housebreaking in East Kilbride, could not be revived by paramedics when they arrived on the scene.

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) later uncovered he had taken a slew of unprescribed medication which led to his death.

Mr Gunn, who had a history of drug abuse, had been transferred to the C wing from the jail’s A wing on September 5 after in “an attempt to interrupt his access to unprescribed drugs within the prison”.

Dosages of methadone and pregabalin had also been increased by medics after Mr Gunn complained of issues sleeping.

Guards sounded the “code blue” alarm at around 7.54am on October 7 after receiving no response when they attended his cell.

A post-mortem toxicology report revealed “diazepam, phenazepam, alprazolam and mirtazapine” were all present in Mr Gunn’s system at the time of his death. The cause was ruled as multi-drug intoxication and ischaemic heart disease.

The FAI report also stated a police investigation failed to identify the source of drugs. A search of his cell following the death found a small number of alprazolam tablets which had not yet been taken.

Sheriff John MacRitchie, chairing the probe, found no precautions could reasonably have been taken that would have prevented his death.

“Mr Gunn had not consumed all of the unprescribed drugs available to him, in that the said alprazolam was discovered after his death in his cell,” he wrote.

“It is probable in considering the entirety of these circumstances that Mr Gunn had accidentally fatally overdosed in consuming the said unprescribed diazepam, phenazepam, alprazolam and mirtazapine.

“The medical and general treatment of Mr Gunn was adequate. While the said unprescribed drugs should not ideally have been available to Mr Gunn in a secure prison environment, despite extensive police investigations the source of these unprescribed drugs taken by Mr Gunn and those found in his cell after his death could not be ascertained.”

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