A prisoner from Fife smeared excrement over her cell, tore a drip needle out of her own arm, and ripped up supposedly tear-proof clothing, during days of disorder at one of Scotland’s toughest jails, a court heard today.
Andrew Burns, now called Tiffany Scott, from Kinglassie staged a dirty protest at Glenochil Prison, Clackmannanshire.
At the time she was calling herself Mr Mighty Almighty and had covered herself in excrement which she had also smeared round her cell door and over the observation port, preventing anyone from seeing in.
Prison warder Paul Lockie said he was one of several officers who had to wear full-body protective clothing, including helmet, visor, and gloves, and carry 4ft by 2ft Plexiglass shields every time they entered her cell in the all-male jail’s segregation unit.
Mr Lockie, 45, said he attended at the cell of Scott, who also called herself Obi Wan Kenobi, during his shift on August 19, 2015, and found she had torn a ligature from her anti-rip clothing, suspended it from the fire suppression valve in the cell ceiling, and placed it round her neck.
He told Falkirk Sheriff Court: “She was in anti-ligature clothing. It’s supposed to be untearable, but Tiffany could rip it up no problem.”
He said on another occasion during the protest, Scott had thrown “unknown liquid” at him.
Fellow 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.
He said that after a “short discussion” about what to do, he and his fellow officers entered Scott’s cell in their full protective clothing and cut the noose from her neck.
He said: “I lifted Mr Almighty, as he was then known, into the rest position, and called for medical attention.”
Mr Park said most prisoners would have been unable to tear the anti-ligature clothing.
He said: “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.”
He said medical staff had been wary of entering Almighty’s cell because it was thought he had a concealed sharp weapon.
He said: “He had been in the hospital and he’d had a cannula in his arm, one of these needles in his arm, and he had taken this out and secreted it and we had no evidence that he had given it up.”
But Almighty, who had been blue in the face and was having difficulty breathing until the noose was cut off his neck, recovered, and medical staff were satisfied he was uninjured.
Mr Park said that the fire suppression valve that had been used as a ligature point was damaged, and had sprayed water all over the cell.
Scott, aka Burns, Kenobi, or Almighty, is alleged to have assaulted four prison warders, including Mr Lockie, within a period of less than two months, between the last week of August and mid-October 2015.
It is alleged that on August 26, 2015 he spat at one officer, Adam Sneddon, and tried to bite him during an ambulance journey between Glenochil Prison, where he was then being held, and the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire; less than two weeks later threw the “unknown liquid” over Mr Lockie; then in separate incidents in Glenochil in October he is said to have injured prisoner officers Fiona Parker, by throwing a chair which struck her on the body, and Kenneth Hilton, by punching him on the head; and thrown a dinner plate at prison officer Vikki Hamilton, causing food which had been on the plate to hit her on the head. Ms Hamilton is not alleged to have been injured.
He further accused of staging the dirty protest and of making a false report to police, by claiming that warders at Glenochil had entered his cell while he was asleep and put a noose round his neck; that on the day he is said to have assaulted the warder in the ambulance, prison staff were present in the vehicle “with a syringe and a bottle of potassium”; and that on another occasion he was given poisoned water to drink.
It is alleged that he wasted police time by involving officers in the investigation of claims he knew to be false, rendering jail staff liable to suspicion and accusation of attempted murder.
The summary trial, which continues tomorrow, is being held in the absence of the accused.
Procurator fiscal Catriona Dalrymple said Scott, now a prisoner in Saughton Jail, Edinburgh, had “indicated she did not wish to participate in the proceedings”.
Local solicitor Dick Sandeman is appearing for Scott, appointed by the court to look after her interests.