Death investigations

Court process begins for the FAI into the death of care home resident

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has lodged a First Notice to begin the court process for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of Robert McPaul. 

Mr McPaul, aged 70, died in Sir Gabriel Wood’s Mariners’ Home, Greenock on 30 March 2018 after choking on food that was not appropriate for his dietary requirements. 

A preliminary hearing is set for 19 July 2023 at Greenock Sheriff Court.     

Preliminary Hearings and Dates of Inquiry (      

The purpose of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) includes determining the cause of death; the circumstances in which the deaths occurred, and to establish what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.     

Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.      

This Inquiry will explore the circumstances of Robert McPaul’s death, with particular focus on control and supervisory measures in relation to dietary requirements during meals. 

Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on death investigations for COPFS, said:     

“The death of Robert McPaul occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry should be held.  

“The lodging of the First Notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the Sheriff.     

“Mr McPaul’s family will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”