Family of teen who died in custody cell ‘expect answers’

William Brown – also known as William Lindsay – died at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution.

Family of teen who died in custody cell ‘expect answers’ PA Media
He died just days after being sent there on remand.

The family of a teenager who took his own life in a custody cell will “expect answers” from one of Scotland’s most senior legal figures when they meet her next week.

William Brown – also known as William Lindsay – died at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution on October 7 2018, aged 16, just days after being sent there on remand.

The following September, the Crown Office said they would not bring charges against the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) over his death.

In October last year, the office of the family’s solicitor, Aamer Anwar, assisted by Dorothy Bain QC, who subsequently took up a post as Lord Advocate in June, presented a victim’s right to review arguing that the SPS must be held accountable.

Now, approaching three years later, the teenager’s family will meet Scotland’s second highest law officer, Solicitor General Ruth Charteris QC, at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) office in Glasgow on Monday.

In a statement on behalf of the family, Mr Anwar said: “Despite a known history of several suicide attempts, multiple child supervision orders, being in and out of care at least 19 times since the age of three, the absence of a space in a children’s secure unit resulted in him being remanded to Polmont.

“On October 7 2018, William’s body was found in his cell, after he had taken his own life. He was the fourth young person to do so that year.”

The statement continued: “It is unacceptable that as we fast approach the third anniversary of William’s suicide that still no decision has been taken by COPFS and the SPS continues to operate behind a veil of secrecy which allows it to cover up systemic failures and preventable suicides.

“Yet again, the pain of another grieving family has been cruelly prolonged. On Monday, William’s family will expect answers from Ruth Charteris QC.”

The Scottish Prison Service declined to comment.