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Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Death of Robert Shreenan, Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart, Dumbarton Sheriff Court, 18th April 2011


In terms of section 6(1)(a) of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, the sheriff found that Robert Shreenan (DOB 09.01.60) died on 14th July 2008 at an indeterminate time after 18.15 hours and before 18.45 hours. The place of death was Cell 17, Clydebank Police Office, Montrose Street, Clydebank. In terms of section 6(1)(b) the cause of death was plastic bag asphyxia. A formal determination was made under s.6(1)(c).
On Monday 14th July 2008 at or about 6.30am Robert Shreenan was arrested at his home address at 11 Apple Close, Blackburn and taken to Blackburn Police Office. At 11.45am the deceased was transferred to Clydebank Police Office by Reliance officers. At that time the only bags in use on Reliance vans were clear, plastic, non-perforated bags. Mr Shreenan was nauseous during the journey and was given a plastic bag. He arrived at Clydebank Police Office at 5.45pm. The bag was not removed from him nor were custody officers advised that he had a bag in his possession. His cell was checked at 6.45pm when he was found with the plastic bag over his head and two socks tied around his neck. Emergency CPR was administered however Mr Shreenan was pronounced dead at the Western Infirmary of Glasgow at 7.38pm
In terms of s.6(1)(c) Robert Shreenan's death might have been avoided if Reliance officers had ensured that the plastic bag given to him was retrieved and if they had then informed custody officers at Clydebank Police Office that the bag had not been retrieved.