Scottish prison officers crack down on inmates’ secret Facebook use


PRISON chiefs shut down 80 Facebook accounts used by inmates last year, after investigations into the use of social media behind bars.

Out of 118 “potential” accounts identified by bosses two-thirds were removed from the popular site following investigations by officials.

Despite measures taken by the Scottish Prison Service to limit access to the internet and social media sites, some inmates are finding ways to get online.

In some cases, prisoners have used social media to boast about their life inside – and event to taunt their victims.

The sheer number of cases suggests prison bosses are still struggling to control the number of mobiles getting into prisons.


A selfie posted by
An inmate’s suspected account

The worst prison in Scotland was HMP Shotts, where 21 Facebook accounts were shut down out of 27 that were investigated.

Aberdeen had 14 pages out of 15 identified removed from the site.

HMP Perth removed six Facebook profiles out of a possible 11, while HMP Barlinnie closed three.

In Edinburgh Prison there were six accounts closed out of a potential nine and in both HMP Dumfries and Polmont a further six were shut in both out of a possible eight profiles.

HMP Lowmoss removed four profiles from Facebook after investigating the possibility of six.

It is believed that many of the accounts were being run by prisoners who had been able to sneak in phones, or in some cases were having their profiles operated by friends or family outside prison.

Killer David Gilroy, from Edinburgh, still has a Facebook page, despite the crackdown.

Gilroy was convicted of killing his former lover Suzanne Pilley, 38, in 2010 after she was reported missing by her parents,

Despite Gilroy being sentenced to life in 2012, the body of Ms Pilley, also from Edinburgh, has never been found.

Gilroy is currently in Shotts – the worst prison for Facebook abuse.

The privacy settings on the page mean it is impossible to see what, if anything, has been posted. But among Gilroy’s five “friends” are his children.

It was also revealed last year that murderer Scott Nesbitt was using Facebook to brag about using cannabis in his jail cell.

Nesbitt, who is serving life for the brutal killing of Morgan Proctor, was trying to cover his tracks by using the alias Follow Rfc Rangers.

In 2008 Nesbitt killed Mr Proctor by slashing him across the face with a Samurai sword, slicing through major blood vessels and nearly severing his jaw.

Writing on his Facebook from behind bars he said: “Chillin skining a doobwa. Aww Cany wack it happy day days peace out.”

Last year Michael McIness, 23, who was jailed for attempted murder taunted police by posting pictures of himself on drunken nights out with friends while he was on the run from prison.

McIness, who was jailed for six years in 2010 after leaving Kevin McNee brain damaged after repeatedly stamping on his head, failed to return to Castle Huntly prison, near Dundee, after a home visit.

Michael McIness 22



Rather than going into hiding McIness used Facebook to boast about his drunken parties and night club visits.

His friends were clearly amused by his posts, one writing: “You’re the hide and seek champion lol.”

At the time, Amanda McNee, sister of his victim posted on his page and said: “You f****** animal.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that the Scottish Prison Service was trialing new technology which would make it impossible to use a mobile phone from inside prison.

Signals would be blocked meaning there would be no internet access as well as meaning calls and texts could not be received or sent.

Amanda Everitt, Chairwoman for Mothers Against Murder and Aggression said: “Everything that can be done should be done to prohibit the use of social networking sites by prisoners serving custodial sentences. It completely re-traumatises victims if they stumble upon the convicted murderer of their loved one having a great old time on Facebook.

“Most of this access seems to be via the use of mobile phones which offenders are not meant to have access to.

“Simply installing phone jammers would stop this abuse outright, and there is no excuse not to install them in all prisons. Public protection and impact this has on victims alone is enough to warrant immediate action on this.”

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell MSP said: “Prison is a place for learning and rehabilitation.

“But I find it difficult to see what role Facebook can play in this.

“The internet can be a force both for good and bad and I have serious reservations about how the prison service intends to monitor Facebook usage.”

It was claimed last weekend the murderer behind the notorious “pizza box killing,” Brian Sim was using his Facebook account to flirt with women.

Sim, who was sentenced to life in prison for brutally stamping a man to death in Glasgow, was using the popular social media site from his cell at Shotts Prison, with his profile picture even showing him in his prison poloshirt.

It is thought he was accessing the site through a mobile phone smuggled into the prison.

Earlier this year, the Facebook account for Rosdeep Adekoya, who has been charged with murdering her four-year-old son, Mikaeel, was removed after the SPS were alerted that it had reappeared online.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “SPS makes use of all legal powers to address the problem of mobile phones in prison as well as the development of intelligence.

“In most cases, the discovery of phones in prisons is down to the professionalism of staff.”


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