Sunday, 2 December 2007

Family to sue SPS over murder of their Catherine Thomson

John Campbell was released from prison on home leave without a risk assessment, John Campbell when on leave from Castle Huntly stabbed Catherine Thomson 25 times. When will the authorities start to understand about risk assessment, the Sheriff's findings were that the prison staff were not trained in risk assessment and they just 2rubber stamped" the risk assessment. i do not support the American suing culture but how else will agencies like the SPS learn, if they know they will face litigation then risk assessments will be essential and staff will be trained to undertake them. - check out the report from the Court -

The family of a woman killed by a prisoner on unsupervised leave from an open jail are reportedly intending to sue prison bosses.

Catherine Thomson, 26, was stabbed in the jugular vein at her family home in Moodiesburn, North Lanarkshire.

John Campbell attacked Ms Thomson - his brother's girlfriend - while on leave from Castle Huntly prison in 2005.

A fatal accident inquiry ruled that a risk assessment should have been carried out before he was given leave.

Sheriff Thomas Millar ruled Ms Thomson's death could have been avoided.

Campbell was arrested and later plunged to his death from an upper gallery at Glasgow's Barlinnie prison, in an apparent suicide.

Lawyer Cameron Fyfe said Ms Thomson's family were taking legal action against the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).

Cameron Fyfe
What the family want is for the prison service to pay for the mistake that they made
Cameron Fyfe

Mr Fyfe, who is acting for the family, said: "We take the view that the determination from the sheriff gives us the basis to proceed on the basis that the prison service was negligent in allowing Campbell out without a proper risk assessment.

"The family really don't care about the compensation money, they haven't even asked me how much they could get.

"What they want, in their words, is for some justice to come out of this and for the prison service to pay for the mistake that they made."

Campbell, 34, was serving an eight-year sentence for two charges of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement when he was allowed out of prison on short unsupervised leave.

He had initially been placed on high supervision level when he was sentenced in August 2002.

In 2004 his supervision level was wrongly reduced to low, which meant he was eligible for unsupervised home leave when he was transferred to Castle Huntley prison.

Sheriff Millar found that officers there had assumed Campbell was of low risk to the community because he was on a low supervision level.

He added they failed to carry out a fresh risk assessment on Campbell because they assumed one had been carried out elsewhere and were simply "rubber-stamping" it.

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