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INMATES at Scotland's high-security mental hospital are preparing for the third day of a rooftop protest.

Three men climbed on to a single-storey kitchen building at Carstairs during an unsupervised walk in the grounds shortly after 11am on Saturday.

Police set up a cordon as trained negotiators tried to talk the men down. The protesters were clearly visible lying on the roof dressed in thick winter clothes.

Hospital officials insisted there was no danger to the public but said they could not name the protesters due to patient confidentiality.

Security director Doug Irwin said: "While they have not stated reasons for their action it would seem they are unhappy about being at the hospital. The situation is under control.

"At no time has there been any threat to the public, staff or other patients.

"During the night and today, the patients were offered hot food and drink and provided with blankets.

"They have yet to state any demands. There are no other patients, members of the staff or public involved."

A hospital spokesman said the men had caused "minor damage" by throwing slates.

He added: "The men are among a small number of patients who are permitted to walk around the grounds at specific periods as part of their therapy.

"It is standard procedure for them to be unsupervised."

But angry locals said they had been left in the dark.

One said: "It is very worrying when you see police swarming everywhere.

"We are the ones who have to live next door to the hospital and I think we should be kept informed."

Another added: "I think they have been trying to hush this up because we haven't heard anything on the news.

"There were rumours flying round that there was a hostage taken."

The Scottish Health Advisory Service have said Carstairs patients are flouting a ban on sex with visitors.


CARSTAIRS provides high-security psychiatric care for around 250 patients who are admitted from other hospitals or prisons.

It houses some of the most mentally-ill paedophiles, rapists and killers in Scotland.

Patients include paranoid schizophrenic Philip McFadden, who stabbed a police officer to death in Glasgow and Gregor McGurk, who cut off his father's head in Kirkcudbrightshire.

The hospital also takes in patients from Northern Ireland, which does not have a similar facility.

These include Brian Doherty from Strabane, Northern Ireland, who was jailed for life in 1995 after torturing and killing an 11-year-old boy.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 10, 2001
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