A terminally ill paedophile could be spared jail after a court was told “basic” prison healthcare and unreliable transport could threaten his treatment for cancer.
Former NHS psychiatric nurse Duncan Trueland is facing at least 12 months in prison and would likely die of bladder and lung cancer before he was freed.
His solicitor is arguing Trueland, formerly of Dundee, should be allowed to serve his sentence in the community so he can receive chemotherapy and be with his wife.
A report from the sex offender’s cancer consultant brands the Scottish Prison Service’s healthcare facilities “basic” and claims prison transportation is not reliable enough to get him to hospital appointments.
Defence agent Ian Woodward-Nutt told Aberdeen Sheriff Court these concerns mean it would be “unsafe” to imprison the 66-year-old, given he would need to be taken to hospital twice a week for blood tests and chemotherapy.
‘I don’t feel prison is a safe environment’
Mr Woodward-Nutt quoted Trueland’s doctor’s report which stated “healthcare facilities in prison at best are basic”.
The consultant added: “Fifteen years of austerity and privatisation of transport services has made this situation significantly worse.
“The unreliability of transport would also mean that if he didn’t get his bloods taken on the Monday chemotherapy could not be undertaken.
“If he is not brought for treatment he would be deprived of that, notwithstanding the waste and cost to the chemotherapy unit.”
She went on to say: “I personally don’t feel prison is a safe environment.
“I understand the nature of his crime is such that a custodial sentence is likely but unless he presents a danger to the public …”
Mr Woodward-Nutt was cut off from quoting more of the report when Sheriff Ian Wallace interjected to say that “at that point, the doctor goes outwith her area of expertise”.
A report from HMP Grampian in Peterhead, where Trueland would serve his sentence, highlighted a lack of night-time nursing cover as a potential issue, given nurses there only work from 6.30am to 6pm.
Sheriff Ian Wallace once again deferred the sentencing of Trueland, of May Baird Park, Aberdeen, to further to obtain further information from the prison service with regard to concerns about nursing care and GeoAmey.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “The health and wellbeing of those in our care is a primary concern for the SPS.
“NHS Scotland has been responsible for providing healthcare to those in Scottish prisons since 2011.
“We work with NHS partners to meet the healthcare needs of our population and if overnight care is required, we would look to put an appropriate management plan in place.
“GEOAmey are contracted to operate external prisoner logistics on our behalf.
“As per agreed contract, performance levels are monitored by us, and any service failures will be managed within the terms of that contract.”
A spokesman for the prisoner transport provider said: “In spite of the challenges related to a very tight labour market, GEOAmey has fulfilled 93% of the hospital appointments booked during 2023.
“We remain committed to working with our partners to continuously improve performance and provide an efficient service.”
‘He’s unlikely to survive’
He said jail time would weigh “significantly heavier” on him given he’s “unlikely to survive a time longer than that sentence”.
The plea comes after Trueland, who previously worked for NHS Tayside, was found with more than 700 images of children on his laptop when police raided his Aberdeen home.
It is the second time Trueland has been convicted of possessing indecent images. In 2013 he was jailed for 18 months after amassing almost 12 days’ worth of indecent images and extreme porn at his home in Dundee.
The court was told Trueland had been amassing the child sex material over a period of six years before his home was raided on January 28 last year, uncovering a device with 716 indecent still images on it.
Of those images, 130 were classed as Category A – the most serious – 83 Category B and 503 Category C of girls and boys aged between six and 14.
Previously jailed for indecent images
Trueland admitted downloading child sex abuse material to his computer between January 2016 and January 2022 at each of his homes on Thorter Way and Riverside Drive in Dundee and May Baird Park in Aberdeen.
He was previously jailed at Dundee Sheriff Court in 2013 after amassing a massive haul of indecent child images and extreme pornography – which he claimed was “a form of nostalgia”.
On that occasion, he admitted to downloading almost 12 days’ worth of indecent videos on his computer at his home address in Dundee’s Lawers Road over the course of more than four years.
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