Mother tells of prison death

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The Independent Online
A teenager who is believed to have killed herself gave no indication in a final telephone call the day before her death of what she was going to do, her mother told an inquiry into the suspected suicides of three women at Cornton Vale prison, near Stirling - Scotland's only all-women jail yesterday.

Anne Bollan, 48, of Renton, Dumbartonshire, who was the first witness to give evidence at the fatal accident inquiry, said her daughter had always been cheerful despite fighting drug addiction.

Angela Bollan, 19, a single mother, is believed to have killed herself last April after being remanded for a month for reports before being sentenced for theft and contravention of bail. Six months later, Denise Devine, 26, of Edinburgh, was found dead in her cell while on remand at the prison. And on Christmas Eve, Yvonne Gilmour, 22, of Renfrew, is thought to have taken her own life while serving a three-month sentence for shoplifting, breach of the peace and assault.

Three other women killed themselves at the prison in the last 18 months.

Mrs Bollan told the inquiry at Stirling Sheriff Court that her daughter, who would have been 20 tomorrow, sought treatment for her addiction several times at units in Glasgow before she was remanded at the jail last April for the third time.

Mrs Bollan said she kept in contact with her daughter while she was on remand, writing letters and visiting her.

Mrs Bollan said that on her last visit to her daughter on 19 April 1996, she warned of the effect it was having on the child.

"I told her I was not coming up every single day because Stephanie was beginning to take notice of her surroundings. Angela said that was fine," Mrs Bollan told the court. She said Angela had telephoned her the day before her death and had given no indication that she was considering suicide.

The hearing at Stirling Sheriff Court was adjourned until today.