Edinburgh mum seeks justice for son who died in custody

The mother of a teenager who took his own life in a custody cell has said it is her duty to “cry out for justice for her son”.

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

The teenager’s mother Christine Lindsay, brother John Reilly and lawyer Aamer Anwar met with the new Solicitor General Ruth Charteris QC in Glasgow to discuss the situation on Monday.

The Crown Office said in September 2019 that it would not bring charges against the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) over his death.

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

A statement issued by Mr Anwar on behalf of the family after Monday’s meeting said: “We stated it was unacceptable that as we approach the third anniversary of William’s suicide that no decision has been taken by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and the SPS operates behind a veil of secrecy, covering up systemic failures and preventable suicides.

“The Solicitor General’s genuine compassion and empathy was welcomed as was her apology at the unacceptable length of time taken by Crown Office in trying to take a decision.”

The statement continued: “A civilised society is judged by the manner in which we treat our vulnerable, the weak, the dispossessed and our prisoners. We believe Scotland is failing the test.

“There was nothing inevitable about William Lindsay taking his own life, that was clear to anybody that cared to look.

“Locking people up in dungeons of despair doesn’t rehabilitate anyone, but increases the risk of suicide.”

William Lindsay’s family said they will fight to ensure that other lives can be saved while calling for answers over his death.

The statement concluded: “Christine says her son’s cries can no longer be heard, but as his mother it is her duty to cry out for justice for her son.”

Ms Charteris said: “I wish to express my gratitude to William’s mother and brother for meeting with me.

“I listened carefully to what they had to say about their experience and provided an update on the steps now being taken to progress the investigation into William’s death.”

The Scottish Prison Service has been asked for comment.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992