Scotland

Coronavirus in Scotland: Sex offender becomes first inmate to die

John Angus Image copyright Lesley Donald

A serial sex offender has become the first Scottish prisoner to die after being confirmed to have coronavirus.

John Angus had been in custody at HMP Edinburgh after being convicted in 2011 of drugging and assaulting a woman in Aberdeen and breaching a court order.

The 66-year-old died on Wednesday and the BBC has been told that he was a confirmed Covid-19 case.

It is understood several members of staff who dealt him have been told to self-isolate.

Angus was placed on a lifelong restriction order for the indecent assault on the 21-year-old woman in 2010 and breaching a ban which prohibited him from travelling without notifying the police.

He had previously been given an 11-year jail term for tying up and gagging a primary school teacher in Easter Ross and abducting a school cleaner at the same school at knifepoint in 1994.

About 30 prisoners are currently self-isolating in 10 Scottish prisons with symptoms of coronavirus, according to the SPS.

There are currently some 7,500 prisoners in custody in Scotland, down by around 500 from the start of the lockdown.

Asked about the death of the prisoner at her daily briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declined to comment specifically, saying that a fatal accident inquiry would take place.

She added: "Let me say that we take the health and wellbeing of everyone in our prisons whether that's prisoners, prison officers or our healthcare workers extremely seriously.

"The death of a prisoner in prison is always one that is a matter of great regret.

Emergency legislation to tackle coronavirus that was passed by the Scottish Parliament last week allowed for the release of some prisoners, excluding those who had committed sexual or terror offences.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We would always see prisoner release as a last resort and I think people would expect us to do that.

"But we have made sure that the powers are there if we think that is something that is required to keep our prisons safe places for prisoners and those who work in them."