HC Deb 21 June 1906 vol 159 cc371-2
MR. STEWART (Greenock)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he will now make further inquiry into the circumstances attending the escape and recapture of the lunatic Patan, and his attack on Ex-Bailie Mitchell, at Greenock, on May 18th, in view of the unsatisfactory statements of the Morningside Asylum authorities, which traverse the explicit declarations of Superintendent Christie, Sergeant Cunningham, and Constables M'Aulay and Cameron, of the Greenock police, to the effect that, on his arrest, Patan was wearing institution clothing; and if, as stated by the Mourningside Asylum officials, they were ignorant of the fact that the lunatic Paton was in correspondence with Captain Angus, Mr. Mitchell, and other prominent Greenock citizens, whether he will inquire into the neglect on the part, of the asylum authorities in allowing; dangerous lunatics to correspond with the outside world without the censorship, supervision, or even knowledge of the asylum officials.


I have made further inquiries, and am informed that Paton was wearing institution clothing when he escaped and when he was brought back. No letters from him to Captain Angus, Mr. Mitchell, or other Greenock citizens were seen by any asylum official or known to have been sent from the asylum. It is quite impossible to prevent patients who are so far sensible and acute in mind, from getting letters posted in a modern asylum. About 300 visitors come every week to see their relatives, and so letters are frequently sent out without the knowledge of the authorities. Paton was not put in admission papers as a "dangerous lunatic," and had never assulted anyone at the asylum. Recently he was a good deal better mentally in some respects.


Will the right hon. Gentleman censure the authorities, of the asylum for having put him in possession of information which was, contrary to the facts?


I will compare the two Answers, and if there is ground for censure, there shall be censure. I think, however, there was a misunderstanding; about the description of the clothing. I shall be glad to confer with the hon. Member.