Erskine Bridge Suicides Inquiry: "Reasonable precautions" may have prevented deaths

Scotland
After 65 days of evidence involving 84 witnesses, Sheriff Ruth Anderson QC has issued her determination into the deaths of two teenagers, Niamh Bysouth and Georgia Rowe. 

Background

Niamh and Georgia absconded from a residential unit and later fell to their deaths from the railing on the west side of the Erskine Bridge.  The inquiry was discretionary, held in the public interest to ascertain whether any reasonable steps could or should have been taken to avoid the deaths. Such inquiries are an exercise in fact finding and not fault finding.

The Lessons

Sheriff Anderson found that the deaths may have been avoided had reasonable precautions been taken. She made a series of recommendations, including having sufficient staff on duty at the care home, additional security and monitoring, better verbal and documentary communication between staff, detailed, thorough and regularly updated risk assessments and robust policies on children who abscond.

Craig Watt of Dundas & Wilson's in-house advocacy team represented Transport Scotland at the inquiry.