Why weren’t we told about escaped killer’s violent past?


MINISTERS have been condemned for failing to reveal that an on-the-run psychiatric patient is a killer and former Carstairs inmate.

Steven Wilson disappeared while on unescorted leave from Leverndale psychiatric hospital on 30 March.

But two press appeals for information did not disclose that he was convicted of manslaughter in 1988 and has a “history of very serious violence”.

Anyone who has seen Wilson is urged to contact police

The truth only emerged after an email bungle by officials accidentally revealed details of Wilson’s past and the efforts to find him.

Tonight, Labour and the Tories united in criticising the Scottish Government for failing to warn the public that a potential killer is on the loose.

Wilson, 47, disappeared while on unescorted leave from Leverndale Hospital, Glasgow.

There are fears his disappearance was planned, as he broke his routine of contributing to the hospital’s “carry out” on the day he went missing.

Wilson has a four-inch scar on his face and the tattoo of a cannabis leaf on his left arm.

An exchange of emails accidentally sent to the media yesterday by a Scottish Government official reveals disturbing detail about Wilson’s past, and the fruitless search for him.

A “team leader” who works with restricted patients revealed that prostitutes hold the key to tracking down Wilson.

She wrote: “They have tracked several contacts via his mobile phone including the two females who had been in regular contact with him at Leverndale Hospital.

“They are known prostitutes.

“They are refusing to divulge any information as to his whereabouts.”

“The Vice Squad will be back on duty on Tuesday.

“They will have greater knowledge of the prostitutes in the area and local knowledge which will hopefully lead to locating him.”

She added: “There is certainly a history of very serious violence in the context of alcohol abuse.

“However given the absence of recent violence and no evidence of consumption of alcohol or drugs we do not think there is an imminent serious risk of harm.”


The team leader continued: “There was a stabbing at Park Bar, Paisley but the suspect is not Mr Wilson.”

Wilson was on his sixth week of unescorted ground leave at Leverndale when he absconded.

Wilson is classed as a ‘restricted patient,’ after stays in Ashworth High Security psychiatric hospital in England and top-security Carstairs, South Lanarkshire, known formally as the State Hospital.

He has had several previous attempts at conditional discharge which were recalled because of violence.

A warrant was issued to recall him after he went missing in 2007 while on conditional discharge. Police were later able to trace him.

The accidentally released emails also reveal how officials decided to send a ‘brief’ press release despite being aware of Wilson’s violent past.

An email from an official in the Directorate for Health & Social Care Integration, discussing a press release to be sent out on Monday, said: “The police are content that we merely update the previous press release and add the date the patient went missing.”

Another email, from the team leader dealing with restricted patients, discussed Wilson’s background in detail before recommending a “brief” press release.

It said: “I have discussed with…Giffnock Police…if he has not returned by 4.45 tomorrow then in line with current agreed practice I recommend that we issue a brief press release.”

Another part of the email says: “[Wilson] was considered by MAPPA [Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements] on 14 December. They did not oppose a plan involving unescorted leave. He was on week 6 of the plan.

“There has been no incidences of violence for several years.”

It added: “He had become disgruntled after feeling he was being “messed about”.

Opposition parties voiced their anger over the way the killer’s abscond was handled.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Lewis Macdonald MSP, said: “The priority must be that this dangerous individual, with a history of very serious violence, is tracked down as soon as possible.

“Despite the fact this man has been on the run for over two weeks, it is deeply worrying that the SNP government seems to have tried to conceal the fact that this individual had a history of serious violent offending.

“The bottom line is, when a convicted killer goes on the run, the public deserve to be told. Kenny MacAskill must explain why this did not happen.”

The Scottish Conservatives said they were concerned the disappearance was not being taken seriously.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman David McLetchie said: “I am concerned that the disappearance of this patient is not being treated with the seriousness which it merits given his violent past and the threat he may pose.”

The Scottish Government said in their official statement: “We are increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of a restricted patient who has been missing for over two weeks.

“Steven Wilson, a restricted patient, aged 47 failed to return from a period of unescorted ground leave at Leverndale Hospital on Friday 30 March.

“Mr Wilson is 5? 8?, slim build with receding black hair. He has brown eyes with a tanned complexion and he is clean shaven. He has a scar on the left side of his face which is 4? in length running from his mouth to ear.

“He has a tattoo of a cannabis leaf on his lower left arm and a tattoo of a love heart on the right forearm. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, red addidas tracksuit top, blue jeans and white trainers.

“We are anxious to trace this man and if any member of the public see him they should contact Pollok Police on 0141 532 5600.”