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'Vulnerable' prisoner concerned over Covid outbreak at prison

By Court Reporter

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Porterfield Prison in Inverness, where the two Covid cases were confirmed.
Porterfield Prison in Inverness, where the two Covid cases were confirmed.

THE county's sheriff has heard about a Wick prisoner's alarm on being told that two cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the jail.

Lyall Shepherd's concern over the outbreak, at Porterfield Prison, Inverness, was revealed by Aberdeen solicitor George Mathers.

He told the court at Wick last week that the accused, who is on remand, received confirmation of the outbreak in a letter from prison authorities.

Mr Mathers said: "As a result, the two prisoners involved have been isolated and there has been a restriction placed on prisoner movements."

The solicitor said that an additional reason for Shepherd's concern was that he had had a breathing problem in his younger days and had to use an inhaler at primary school.

Mr Mathers added: "He thinks he might be vulnerable."

Shepherd (20) appeared for sentence on a video link from the prison. He previously admitted, on indictment, being in possession of a pepper spray. The weapon, manufactured in Germany for self-defence, can only be legally obtained with a firearms certificate.

Shepherd answered the door of a friend's house in Huddart Street, Wick, on April 17, to police officers, who wanted to speak to the householder.

The accused was searched and the pepper spray was recovered. He claimed he had obtained the weapon to protect himself from the 'people' he feared were looking for him. He had already escaped from them by jumping from his upper-storey council flat in Harrowhill, Wick, on May 23.

Sheriff Andrew Berry, who was advised that Shepherd may have been targeted because he had ended a relationship with a girl, continued the case until February 2 to establish whether he is suitable for a drug-treatment testing order.

However, the sheriff warned that a prison sentence was "highly likely".

Shepherd, who also admitted a bail breach, remains on remand.

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