51-year-old Robert Nobbs committed suicide after watching a Ross Kemp documentary on one of the most notorious prisons in the UK as he was scared of being sent there.
The alleged sex offender had been arrested and charged with possession of indecent photos of children. He was held at Low Moss prison in Bishopbriggs while waiting for his appearance in court.
But only hours after seeing the documentary Ross Kemp Behind Bars: Inside Barlinnie, he was found lifeless in his cell.
He left a note saying “he couldn’t handle Barlinnie” and had previously talked about being scared of serving a sentence at the place.
A fatal accident inquiry was held into the 51-year-old’s death.
Former Eastenders star Kemp stressed that sex offenders were the ‘lowest of the low’ as he checked conditions at the tough Glasgow jail during the show.
Sheriff Linda Ruxton has said that for Mr. Nobbs, seeing the documentary was the “last straw.” She also criticized prison bosses at Low Moss for keeping the man in isolated conditions which had a negative impact on his mental health.
“Shortly before his death, Mr Nobbs had been expressing to his sister his belief that he was going to receive a lengthy prison sentence and how afraid he was of going to Barlinnie. He was terrified at the prospect,” said Sheriff Ruxton.
“On the evening before he died, in the course of a telephone call, Mr Nobbs had encouraged his parents to watch a television documentary due to be aired that night about Barlinnie.
“This was the Ross Kemp documentary about the Barlinnie prison depicting its reputation as one of the country’s most notorious jails.
“During the evening Mr Nobbs watched the documentary in his cell. At one point during it the subject of the incarceration of sex offenders was examined in the course of which Ross Kemp apparently made derogatory remarks, asking prison officers how they looked after such prisoners whom he implied were “the lowest of the low”.
“At this point Mr Nobbs would have been able to hear the reaction from the mainstream prison from others watching the programme. There was a noisy response with jeering and name calling.”
She also added: “I am satisfied that the evidence supports the conclusion that it is probable that the lack of an appropriate regime for offense-protected prisoners and consequently the highly restrictive conditions in which Mr Nobbs was held had a direct causal connection with Mr Nobbs’ death.
“It is equally likely that the documentary on Barlinnie acted as the trigger for his suicide.
“Mr Nobbs was terrified of being sent there and the documentary itself together with the response from the mainstream prisoners in Low Moss would have compounded those fears.
“He wrote in his letter that he could not handle Barlinnie. The program, I suspect, was simply the last straw for Mr Nobbs.”
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