Tragic student sent banana rather than bandanna before taking her life in prison

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/student-who-killed-herself-prison-13532268

A student struggling with hair loss was brought a banana rather than a bandanna in the weeks before she took her life behind bars.

The parents of Katie Allan, 21, are compiling a dossier of failures they claim occurred before their daughter’s death at Polmont prison, near the Scottish town of Falkirk.

In one incident mum Linda and dad Stuart asked if Katie, who was being bullied by fellow inmates about her hair loss, could be given a bandanna to cover up.

They say a nurse sent bananas instead, The Daily Record reported.



The parents of Katie Allan claim she was bullied about her hair loss in the weeks leading up to her death.



Katie Allan took her own life in the Polmont Young Offenders Institute

Ahead of meetings with Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and Labour’s justice spokesman Daniel ­Johnson, the couple are compiling a dossier of incidents that occurred at Polmont and Forth Valley NHS.

Katie was found dead in her cell in June, three weeks before she was to be released on a tag.

She had been sentenced to 16 months for drink driving and causing injury by dangerous driving.

Her parents say she was failed by police, her lawyer, the courts, sheriff David Pender, the Crown and Polmont governor Brenda Stewart.

They have now turned their ­attention to Forth Valley NHS, who were responsible for Katie’s wellbeing.

The Allans are furious that a GP did not raise ­concerns after ­seeing Katie in the prison.



The victim’s family urged the sheriff not to hand down a jail sentence



Stuart and Linda Allan during a press conference at Glasgow University in October to launch a campaign to reform the way the justice system deals with mental health.

They say more should have been done to help when it became obvious Katie was ­suffering from ­alopecia.

In a letter to Forth Valley NHS’s director of nursing Angela Wallace, Linda wrote: “Katie’s legal representative emailed the governor of Polmont on the 26th of April, at our request, to seek medical ­intervention for Katie’s rapid hair loss.

“Katie had tried and failed on several occasions to access ­nursing or medical treatment and was being tormented and bullied because of her hair loss by other girls in her hall.

“The Scottish Prison Service highlighted this to the NHS staff as a direct result of our intervention.

“When Katie began to lose her hair I asked if Katie be allowed a head scarf or bandanna to cover the apparent areas of ­baldness.

“This was refused by the reception staff at HMP & YOI ­Polmont.

“SPS staff contacted the health centre before the 27th of April seeking advice on how to get Katie a head covering.

“Katie reported that a prison officer called the health centre and spoke with a member of the nursing team asking if Katie be allowed a head scarf or ­bandana.

“The nurse stated that they indeed had such items and would bring some to Katie’s hall. A nurse went to Katie’s hall with two bananas.

“As amusing as this story was at the time, it is a tragic ­representation of the blatant incompetence of the nursing staff.”



Stuart and Linda Allan with lawyer Aamer Anwar



Stuart and Linda Allan will meet with Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and Labour’s justice spokesman Daniel Johnson

Dad Stuart said: “It sums up the sheer incompetence that we have encountered every step of the way.”

Katie was locked up despite a plea from the family of Michael Keenan, 15, who was struck by her car in Giffnock, near ­Glasgow, in August last year.

The Scottish Prison Service have refused to comment until after a fatal accident inquiry.

Forth Valley NHS did not respond to requests for ­comment.

If you are affected by any issues raised in this story, contact The Samaritans for confidential support on 116 123.

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2 thoughts on “Tragic student sent banana rather than bandanna before taking her life in prison

  1. Such a sad and tragic story. Not only to be the victim of abuse and bullying when you’re already feeling isolated, but to have that added anxiety of alopecia…and not even the small comfort of a bandana to cover up the condition! My heart goes out to her family.

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