Care home choking death in Greenock to face fatal accident inquiry

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The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) announced that it has lodged a First Notice to begin the court process for an inquiry into the death of Robert McPaul.

The 70-year-old died in Sir Gabriel Wood’s Mariners’ Home in Greenock, Inverclyde, on March 30 2018 after choking on food that was not appropriate for his dietary requirements, the Crown Office said.

A preliminary hearing will take place at Greenock Sheriff Court on July 19.

The inquiry will explore the circumstances of McPaul’s death, with particular focus on control and supervisory measures in relation to dietary requirements during meals.

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Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on death investigations for COPFS, said: “The death of Robert McPaul occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary fatal accident inquiry (FAI) should be held.

“The lodging of the First Notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the Sheriff.

“Mr McPaul’s family will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”

Sir Gabriel Wood’s Mariners’ Home closed in February 2021.

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Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.

The purpose of an FAI includes determining the cause of death, the circumstances in which the death occurred, and establishing what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.

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