Fatal Accident Inquiry to be held into two police custody deaths

Declan Gallacher
Declan Gallacher died at Clydebank Police Office

By Democrat reporter

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) is to be held into the deaths of two men who died in police custody, one of them from West Dunbartonshire.

Declan Gallacher, 24, died at Clydebank Police Office on 23 December 2018.

David Berry died in custody at Govan Police Office in Glasgow on 11 July 2020.

FAI’s are mandatory after a death in police custody, and are used to establish facts rather than apportion blame.

After Mr Gallacher’s death a fundraiser set up to help with his funeral costs raised more than £3,000.

A message on the fundraiser at the time read: “Declan sadly passed away in a custody cell in a police station. He leaves behind a devastated family that need their community’s help in this time of need.

“We as a family can’t thank people enough for their support during the saddest of times. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said a preliminary hearing would be held in May at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

‘Full public airing’

Procurator fiscal Katrina Parkes, head of the COPFS Scottish fatalities investigation unit, said: “The lord advocate considers that the deaths of Declan Gallacher and David Berry occurred while in custody and as such a fatal accident inquiry is mandatory.”

She added: “An FAI will allow a full public airing of all the evidence at which families and other interested parties will be represented. The evidence will be tested in a public setting and be the subject of judicial determination.

“The families and their legal representatives will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”

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