A murderer has sparked a political row after revealing he is still being given methadone after 45 years in prison.
John McHugh told a court that he was still being prescribed the heroin-substitute almost half a century after being jailed for murder.
The 69-year-old said he was receiving a daily dose of the drug which costs up to £5,000 per year for inmates and has been termed a “liquid cosh” to control behaviour.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said the case would shock the public and call into question the long-term use of methadone in jail.
He said: “This is a grim case featuring someone who’s clearly not fit for release, and probably never will be.
“This case raises major questions about what efforts are being made to wean prisoners off methadone and into full recovery.”
Lifer McHugh had a further year added to his prison term after being found guilty at Perth Sheriff Court of a series of crimes within Castle Huntly jail.
McHugh – locked up since 1975 – was in the open prison when his final living relative passed away last year.
The court was told that McHugh now had no family or friends outside prison.
Solicitor Richard McKay, defending, said: “He has to be one of Scotland’s longest-serving prisoners. He has been before the parole board on numerous occasions and been refused.”
McHugh, who has been moved back to closed conditions at Addiewell, was found guilty of a variety of offences in Castle Huntly, near Dundee, on December 13 2019.
He was found guilty of headbutting and injuring prison officer Paul Elliot, and pulling down his trousers to expose himself to a female warder. He was also found guilty of damaging property by defecating into his hand and smearing faeces on his cell door.
Jailing him for a year, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: “Any sentence I impose will be somewhat academic.”
Before being jailed for murder in 1975, McHugh had already spent the majority of his adult life in detention, borstal or prison for a catalogue of theft and assault offences.
McHugh, from East Kilbride, went on the run from a psychiatric hospital in 1989 by climbing out a window.
He was given a life sentence at the High Court in Ayr in May 1975 for killing the head waiter of the Towans Hotel, Prestwick, where he had worked as a kitchen porter.
A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said: “The Scottish Prison Service would not be able to offer any comment.”
Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian said: “Due to patient confidentiality we cannot comment on individual cases.
“Both Lothian prisons have specialist addiction teams who work closely with patients and any healthcare provided is based on individual clinical need.”