Courtroom in lockdown as ‘dangerous’ prisoner sentenced

Scott staged the dirty protest at Glenochil Prison. Picture: Neil Hanna
Scott staged the dirty protest at Glenochil Prison. Picture: Neil Hanna

A courtroom was put into lockdown today (Wednesday) for the sentencing of a transexual prisoner said to be one of the most dangerous and unpredictable in the whole of Scotland’s prison system.

Tiffany Scott, formerly known as Andrew Burns, was led into the dock, half naked to the waist, wearing the remains of a shirt torn to shreds, and shouted abuse at a sheriff.

Scott (26), of Kinglassie, smeared excrement over her cell, tore a drip needle out of her own arm, ripped up supposedly tear-proof clothing, and assaulted four warders and a prison nurse during days of “dirty protest” at Glenochil Prison, Clackmannanshire, one of Scotland’s toughest jails.

She was found guilty of the outrages last week.

The verdicts followed a trial held in her absence because she refused to leave her cell at Saughton Prison, Edinburgh, where she is now being held.

She was brought to Falkirk Sheriff Court amid top security after a warrant was issued forcing her attendance, because under Scots law, nobody can be jailed in their absence.

Members of the public were cleared from the courtroom, amid fears that Scott, who has been known to bite open her own veins and spray blood at people,presented “a clear danger”.

Surrounded by a phalanx of security guards and with police standing by, Scott replied “No” when asked by the clerk of court, “Are you Tiffany Louise Scott, formerly known as Andrew Burns?”

Sheriff Derek Livingston said: “I’m satisfied that’s who he is.”

Scott shouted: “I’m not ‘he’ anything – she.”

Local solicitor Dick Sandeman, appointed by the court to represent Scott, said he had been unable to obtain instructions.

Scott interrupted: “You don’t represent me – you’re involved in it.”

Mr Sandeman continued: “That’s correct.

“But I’ve not been instructed at all in this matter by Miss Scott, and there’s nothing therefore I can say in terms of mitigation.”

Scott swore as Sheriff Livingston jailed her for a further year on five charges of assault and one of criminal damage, ordering the term to be served consecutive to her present, indeterminate sentence.

He added: “Take him down.”

As Scott was led from the dock after a hearing that had lasted barely 90 seconds, she turned to abuse the sheriff again. Guards ordered her, “Shut up and keep walking.”

The charges followed incidents between August and October 2015 while Scott was in a segregation unit in Glenochil.

At the time, prison staff were complying with her requests that she should be known as “Mighty Almighty”, or Obi Wan Kenobi.

She covered herself in excrement which she also smeared round her cell door and over the observation port, and staged a self-hanging, rending her tear-proof clothing into trips and making a noose, which she suspended from a sprinkler valve.

Warders – wearing full-body protective clothing, including helmet, visor, and gloves, and carrying 4ft by 2ft Plexiglass shields amid fears that Scott was armed with a medical cannula she had ripped from her body during hospital treatment – had to burst into her cell to save her life.

Scott later assaulted prison officer Paul Lockie (45), throwing a cup of liquid, possibly urine, at him.

She also assaulted the jail nurse, Fiona Parker, in a consultation room, striking her on the back with a hurled chair, and another officer, Kenneth Hilton, by punching him in the face as Mr Hilton sat at a desk doing paperwork.

In further incidents, she spat at another officer, Adam Sneddon, and tried to bite him, during an ambulance journey between Glenochil Prison and the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, 14 miles away, and threw her dinner and plate at prison officer Vikki Hamilton, hitting her on the head.

The court heard that most prisoners would have been unable to rip up the special “anti-ligature” clothing that Scott was wearing in the segregation unit.

Mr Lockie said: “It’s supposed to be untearable, but Tiffany could rip it up no problem.”

Fellow prison officer Colin Park (41), said Scott had told staff she had “weapons secreted”, such as razor blades and needles, with which she could have harmed them, which was why he and his fellow officers had to wear full protective clothing to enter her cell and cut the noose from her neck during her attempted hanging.

He said she was blue in the face and he had to use a special tool to remove the tight ligature.

He said: “I lifted Mr Almighty, as he was then known, into the rest position, and called for medical attention.”

He added: “I wouldn’t say Mr Almighty was predictable. That wouldn’t be the word. Mr Almighty was very persistent in carrying out his behaviours. Whereas other prisoners would not have attempted it [tearing the ‘tear-proof’ clothing], he would.”

Mr Park said that the fire suppression valve that Scott had used as a ligature point was damaged, and had sprayed water all over the cell.

The case was initially due to be heard at Alloa earlier this year, but was dropped after an internal report warned Scott was “too dangerous” to be tried in public in the Victorian court house there.

After an outcry from prison officers’ union officials, it was re-raised in Falkirk, one of the highest-security court complexes in Scotland.

Scott is one of only some 100 offenders in Scotland subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR), meaning she will only be released when she is no longer considered an “unmanageable risk to public safety”.

She has a string of conviction for crimes including assaults, vandalism and resisting arrests.

In 2010, she assaulted a nurse when he escaped a hospital in Crewe, Cheshire.

Four years ago, she also admitted stalking a 13-year-old girl by sending her letters from her cell at Polmont Prison, near Falkirk.

She was sentenced to 14 months and given her OLR at the High Court in Glasgow.