The death of a Dundee man in custody could not have been reasonably avoided, a fatal accident inquiry has ruled.
Mark Allan, 47, died after taking a fatal cocktail of buprenorphine, a type of opioid, and chlordiazepoxide, a benzodiazepine or “benzo”.
A fatal accident inquiry held before Sheriff Gillian Wade QC concluded that Allan’s death at HMP Perth in July 2018 could not have been predicted or prevented.
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Allan, formerly of Nursery Road, had been serving a sentence of four years and six months after admitting to stabbing a man in a scuffle outside a Broughty Ferry takeaway in August 28 2017.
Sheriff Wade heard that Allan was found dead on his bed in his cell at 9am on July 19.
Prison officers summoned nursing staff but it became clear that he had been dead for some time, having shown signs of rigor mortis. He had been in jail for 10 days.
Investigators took witness statements from prison officers, nursing staff and Allan’s cellmate, who described seeing him using a white powder on a number of occasions in the days before his death.
This was not passed to prison officers until after Allan had died.
Medical records showed he had been prescribed chlordiazepoxide to treat alcohol withdrawl.
However, he appeared to have acquired the buprenophine from another prisoner at HMP Perth – who may have used their own prescribed drug as currency.
Sheriff Wade concluded that “reasonable precautions” had been taken by the Scottish Prison Service to reduce the risk of illicit drug use – but that there were always risks of the system being bested.
Her final report noted: “If prisoners are determined to obtain illicit drugs then they will find ever more inventive ways of doing so.
“While changes have been made … it is acknowledged that that can only minimise rather than eliminate all risk. It is clear to me that nothing (prison officers) did or omitted to do caused or contributed to that outcome.
“It remains for me to extend sincere condolences on behalf of all parties and the court to the family of the deceased for their loss.”