Death investigations

FAI court process begins for man who died in custody at HMP Low Moss

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 77-year-old William Tucker.

Mr Tucker died within HMP Low Moss in East Dunbartonshire on the afternoon of 5 October 2022. Mr Tucker had been receiving palliative care prior to his death.

The inquiry is a mandatory inquiry under Section 2(4)(a) of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016.  

A Preliminary Hearing will be held on 11 March 2024 at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

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.  

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

“The death of William Tucker occurred while in legal custody and as such a Fatal Accident Inquiry is mandatory.  

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

Further information

COPFS has established a team of specialist prosecutors dedicated to investigating deaths in legal custody.

The creation of the Custody Deaths Unit (CDU) was announced by the Lord Advocate in her evidence to the Justice Committee in late 2021. 

CDU was setup as part of a number of reforms designed to reduce the time it takes to investigate deaths, improve the quality of such investigations, and improve communication with bereaved families. 

 For more information on Fatal Accident Inquiries see the Crown’s guide