Second Scottish prisoner dies after contracting COVID-19

Frances McCarthy was serving time in HMP Low Moss when he died

An inmate has died after contracting coronavirus making him the second prisoner in Scotland to die from the virus.

Double-killer Frances McCarthy was serving time in HMP Low Moss when he died.

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The 59-year-old was convicted at High Court in Paisley in 1985.

Frances McCarthy was serving time in HMP Low Moss when he died.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said the police have been informed and the matter reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

The first Scottish prisoner to die after contracting the virus was John Angus.

The 66-year-old was being held at HMP Edinburgh when he died last week after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

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About 30 people are self-isolating across the prison estate as part of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, while staff absence levels are currently at around 20 per cent.

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokesman Tom Fox said the prison population is at its lowest since March 2018 which is helping with social distancing, and praised the efforts of staff and prisoners.

He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: "We're currently sitting with 7,339 people in custody - to put that in context, that's 821 less than the same week last year, so the population has come down.

"That's probably due to the court business being interrupted and a variety of other factors, but it's actually helped us maintain a greater degree of social isolation in prison than would have been possible had that not been the case.

"The population has been declining since the lockdown started and that's obviously helped because we're trying to maintain the same levels of social distancing and isolation as people are being asked to maintain in the community.”

He said while the current pandemic is a challenge, controlling it is being made possible through the hard work of prison staff and NHS staff and the co-operation of people in custody.

Mr Fox added: "We've had two confirmed cases of COVID-19 as I speak, but the numbers actually self-isolating are relatively small, and I think that's due to the preventative measures that people have been taking right since the beginning of this lockdown."

Other reports have revealed a third prison death has occurred this week, but it is understood the man in question, serving time in Barlinnie, died of a stroke.

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