Coronavirus has killed three of Scotland’s most notorious violent prisoners in a matter of months.
Covid-19 was named on the death certificates of two brutal killers and a violent armed robber as a string of outbreaks continue to plague the country’s jails.
Prison records show the virus was a factor in the deaths of callous murderers John ‘Jock’ Reid and Asif Rehman.
Post officer robber Graham Wise, who blinded a woman, was the latest of the three to fall victim to the virus just a year into his sentence.
Details of their deaths emerged as prison chiefs confirmed almost 200 prisoners across the estate were this week Covid-19 positive and more than 1000 are self-isolating due to exposure to the virus.
But a fresh probe by a prison watchdog has said predicted “catastrophic outcomes” for inmates had been avoided during the pandemic despite issues with overcrowding in jails.
Torture killer John Reid died while serving a life sentence at HMP Glenochil in July this year.
The 63-year-old was jailed in 1999 for a vicious attack on 46-year-old neighbour Elaine Collie at her home in the Muirhouse area of Edinburgh.
Reid conned his way into his victim’s flat and hit her on the head with a weapon, tied her to a bed and gagged her with a towel before sexually assaulting her.
He then tortured her with electric shocks from a blanket before suffocating her and stealing her jewellery and cash.
His death certificate said he died of “Covid-19 disease and viral pneomontis” – known as pneumonia.
Asif Rehman died in September after being rushed to hospital from HMP Shotts, where he was serving life over the murder of Irishman William McKeeney, 57, in 2012.
The 29-year-old was jailed for a minimum of 16 years and three months after he stamped his labourer victim to death in Glasgow’s Pollockshields as the victim’s partner watched on in horror from her window.
In March this year we told how Rehman left two guards with horror burns after targeting them with boiling water, hurled from a full kettle.
Records show Rehman died of a blood clot in the lung and Covid-19.
Later that month, fellow Shotts inmate Graham Wise died of Covid, as well as complications from diabetes, obesity and epilepsy.
The 42-year-old had blinded terrified Carol Lindsay after spraying her with ammonia during a Post Office robbery in Alloa , Clackmannanshire, in January last year.
A court heard Wise shouted “give me the f***ing money” as he raided the store with his face partially covered.
Two days later he held up a shop in Stirling with a knife and fled with hundreds of pounds before being found by police hiding in a friend’s cupboard.
He was sentenced to six years and four months in jail after admitting the attacks at the High Court in Edinburgh in June last year.
Paedophile priest Francis Moore was also killed by Covid while serving time in HMP Dumfries in February this year.
The 85-year-old was jailed for eight years for abusing three children, the youngest aged just five, over the course of more than 20 years.
In March, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf revealed that eight prisoners had at that point died from Covid-19 while in custody.
As of Tuesday, there were 187 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among those in SPS’s care and 1,053 individuals who are self-isolating across 11 establishments due to a potential contact with a confirmed case.
This week, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) issued it’s annual report, which said the SPS, NHS and the Scottish Government should be commended for “swift action” in responding to the pandemic.
Chief Inspector Wendy Sinclair-Gieben said Scotland must reduce its prisoner numbers, saying issues with “overcrowding” and “social isolation” had intensified during the pandemic, but this had not led to a surge in Covid-related prisoner deaths.
She said: “The predictions by numerous academic and third sector groups of catastrophic outcomes, thankfully did not come to pass in Scotland’s prisons and, despite numerous Covid-19 outbreaks, the number of Covid-19 deaths remained low.
“This significant achievement by caring prison and health service teams deserves greater recognition.
“I wholeheartedly commend the commitment, determination and courage of all the staff who continued working throughout this period and indeed the cohesive leadership that emerged during the crisis. We also commend the tolerance and resilience of prisoners forced into extremely restricted conditions.”
An SPS spokesman said a wider challenge remained addressing a spike in jail fatalities involving illegal and psychoactive substances.
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