HC Deb 12 February 1979 vol 962 cc434-5W
Mr. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in what circumstances he authorised payment of £500 to the mother of Alex Shepherd, who died in the State Mental Hospital, Carstairs, in 1974; what investigations were made into Mr. Shepherd's death; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Harry Ewing

Subsequent to the death of Mr. Shepherd on 1 July 1974 a fatal accident inquiry was held at Lanark sheriff court on 17 October 1974 at which a formal verdict was returned that Mr. Shepherd died from cerebral anoxia—lack of oxygen to the brain. The sheriff stated that there was no evidence to suggest fault on the part of the nurses involved in the incident or fault on the part of the medical staff.

On 18 January 1977 the solicitors acting for Mrs. Shepherd intimated a claim on her behalf against the Secretary of State. The legal advice given to my right hon. Friend was that he had no legal liability in respect of Mrs. Shepherd's claim but having considered all the circumstances of the unfortunate death of her son I agreed in June 1977 to pay Mrs. Shepherd an ex gratia payment of £500 plus expenses without any admission of liability on my right hon. Friend's part or on the part of his agents or employees.