Death investigations

Fatal Accident Inquiry Determination published following prisoner’s death

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) notes the conclusion of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of William Kirkwood, 50, in HMP Grampian in Peterhead on 29 April 2022.

The inquiry was a mandatory inquiry since the death of Mr Kirkwood occurred while he was in legal custody.   


The purpose of an inquiry is to establish the circumstances of the death and to consider what steps, if any, may be taken to prevent other deaths in similar circumstances. 

Unlike a criminal trial, a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) seeks to establish the facts surrounding the death and is not a hearing which apportions blame. 

The Procurator Fiscal, who acts in the public interest in such Inquiry, led evidence on the facts and circumstances of Mr Kirkwood's death. 

Following the publication of the determination, Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on fatalities investigations for COPFS said: 

We note and welcome the Sheriff’s determination.     

“The Procurator Fiscal ensured that the full facts and circumstances of Mr Kirkwood’s death were led in evidence at the mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry."