Death investigations

Joint FAI court process begins following death of two care home residents

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has lodged First Notices to begin the court process for a conjoined Fatal Accident Inquiry into the deaths of David Donnelly and Robert Thomson

David Donnelly, aged 83, died at Hairmyres Hospital on 14 January 2019. Robert Thomson, aged 99, died at Hairmyres on 2 March 2021. Both men had been residents at Lornebank Care Home, Hamilton. 

A Preliminary hearing will be held on 19 July 2024 at Hamilton 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 occurring 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 both deaths, with an anticipated focus on missed opportunities in relation to the care and treatment of Mr Donnelly and Mr Thomson and the policies, guidance and systems at Lornebank Care Home. 

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

“The Lord Advocate considers that the deaths of David Donnelly and Robert Thomson occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a joint discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held.  

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

“The families will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”    

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