First prison officer dies of coronavirus in Scotland

Officer worked at Polmont but is not thought to have contracted virus at the jail.

A senior prison officer has died from coronavirus, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old man worked at Polmont Young Offenders Institute near Falkirk but he is not thought to have contracted the virus at the prison.

The trade union Prison Officers’ Association (POA) Scotland offered “deepest condolences” to the officer’s family, saying he was a “well-known and much-respected member of staff in the SPS”.

A POA Scotland spokesperson said: “We were very saddened to hear the dreadful news about the death from coronavirus, of one of our colleagues who was an officer in Polmont prison, a young offender’s institution in the Falkirk area.

“The officer who was only 59 and widely known and respected across the service had been ill for some weeks we understand.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends and also to his colleagues in the establishment who will feel this loss deeply.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf described the officer’s death as “deeply sad news” and said his thoughts were with the man’s family, friends and colleagues.

Two prisoners have also died from the virus in Scotland.

Francis McCarthy, 59, died on Monday, April 13, after being taken to hospital from HMP Low Moss with suspected coronavirus.

He was sentenced to life after being convicted in 1985 of murdering 26-year-old Thomas McKirdy from Paisley.

The previous week, serial sex offender John Angus, 66, who was being held at HMP Edinburgh, became the first Scottish prisoner to die after contracting the virus.

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