Child rapist suffered 'great pain' in cell before dying in hospital

John Harrison was serving an eight year sentence at HMP Barlinnie for a string of offences against children.

Child rapist John Harrison suffered ‘great pain’ in cell at HMP Barlinnie before dying in hospital SNS Group

A convicted child rapist died in hospital after becoming seriously ill in his prison cell, an inquiry has found.

John Hanley Harrison, 73, was serving an eight-year sentence at HMP Barlinnie when staff found him dazed on April 8, 2020.

He described his head as being in “great pain” and the sensation of pins and needles in his arms before stating that everything was spinning.

Harrison was then transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he made a temporary recovery before his health took a sudden turn for the worse.

Authorities believe he had an aneurysmal bleed from his basilar artery which caused his death on April 10.

The death came a year into his sentence for a string of offences towards seven boys and four girls over four decades in Greenock, Inverclyde.

He was convicted of ten charges, including lewd and libidinous conduct as well as the rape of a young girl.

The Fatal Accident Inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court was told that Harrison had a history of epilepsy, cerebral aneurysm and a slipped disk.

Sheriff Paul Reid stated: “He described his head as being in great pain, had pins and needles in his arms and everything was spinning.”

He was unable to maintain his balance, had no hand grip on his right side and had slurred speech.

Harrison was taken to hospital later that night where he “appeared to be fine and in good spirits but continued to complain of a sore head.”

He was kept in for further tests where it was found that the existing aneurysm had increased in size.

Harrison was also diagnosed with a weakness or inability to move on one side of the body and an occipital headache.

The sheriff stated: “At 11.30pm his health deteriorated suddenly and an emergency was raised.

“He suffered a sudden loss of consciousness and impaired respiration.

“He was suspected to have suffered an aneurysmal bleed from his basilar artery.

“This was described as a catastrophic intracerebral event and health care staff concluded that there was no further treatment that could be provided and that he would no survive.”

A post mortem stated the cause of death to be “a subarachnoid haemorrhage due to rupture bacillary artery aneurysm.”

Sheriff Reid determined that he was satisfied with the medical care provided to Harrison.

He added: “There was no evidence to suggest that any alternative form of medical treatment, supervision or intervention would have prevented his illness or changed the outcome of it.”

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