Rapist who tried to escape prison time by claiming he was too fat for court found to have died from obesity and heart disease
Stanley Sandison was found dead inside his cell at HMP Glenochil in December 2016, just 15 months into his seven-year sentence
A morbidly obese 336-pound man who was accused of raping a string of young girls in Moray, Scotland, in the 1960s and 1970s, who had tried to escape justice by claiming he was too fat to appear in court, died of heart disease, an inquiry has found.
Stanley Sandison, of Forth Place, Lossiemouth, was convicted for the rapes in July 2015 after he had been excused on numerous previous occasions after the presiding judge was told the then-68-year-old suffered from "morbid obesity." A specially-convened trial had to then be set up at the Tiny Sheriff Court building in Elgin close to Sandison's home because his counsel said he was physically unable to travel to a "far away" location such as Glasgow or Aberdeen.
Sandison was then brought to court each day on a wheelchair after being transported to the court in an adapted car designed to cope with his weight. He is said to have shuffled into the dock with the help of a Zimmer frame, though he would not have to wait too long for the verdict. A jury took just over an hour to find the 68-year-old guilty of six charges, including raping two schoolgirls and sexually assaulting three others, during a trial that lasted four days.
His lawyer even went so far as to request the judge that Sandison be allowed bail until he was sentenced, citing the defendant's need for a wheelchair because of his size as well as insufficient care available inside the prison as the reasons. The request was turned down and Sandison was eventually sentenced to seven years in prison.
However, Sandison died inside his cell at Her Majesty's Prison Glenochil in Alloa in December 2016, just 15 months into his sentence. An inquiry into the death was convened and has now found that the cause behind the rapist's death was obesity and heart disease.
Sandison had allegedly lost over 98 pounds in prison after embracing a new diet, but it ultimately proved futile. According to the Press and Journal, Sheriff David Mackie ruled that there were no reasonable precautions which could have been taken to avoid his sudden death.
In a statement addressing the issue, Mackie wrote, "The late Mr. Sandison was registered disabled as a result of obesity and required to use a wheelchair and zimmer frame to mobilize. During his period of incarceration, he had lost almost 45kg of weight as a result of a healthier diet and exercise. At about 8.35 am on December 17, 2016, a prison officer along with nurses attended at the late Mr. Sandison’s cell but were unable to rouse him."
"They thought he was dead," Mackie added. "A doctor attended the deceased's cell and pronounced life extinct."