Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Gilchrist bath death FAI hears 999 call

Margaret Gilchrist Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Margaret Gilchrist died in the bath of her home in Glasgow

A fatal accident inquiry into the death of a vulnerable woman in a bath has heard the 999 call made by a carer who found her.

Margaret Gilchrist, 50, had severe learning difficulties from birth, was registered blind and had epilepsy.

She died at her home in Carntyne Road, Glasgow - where she was cared for full-time - on 26 September 2013.

In the call the carer described Ms Gilchrist as being "as white as a ghost".

A paramedic also told the FAI that the carer told him she had left Ms Gilchrist alone for 10 to 15 minutes.

The inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court is examining the circumstances surrounding her death.

'Calm down'

It has heard that she received full-time care provided by the learning disability organisation, Enable.

Another woman, who was supported by carers, also lived at the house in Glasgow's east end.

The 999 call made by Ms Gilchrist's carer was played at the inquiry.

In the call the carer sounds breathless and is asked to calm down by the operator. She then goes on to say that someone has drowned in the bath.

Asked "is she awake?", the carer replied: "No, she is as white as a ghost."

The carer said there was another woman in the house who had additional needs.

Asked by the operator about the woman in the bath: "How long was she in there? The carer replied: "Twenty minutes, half an hour."

The carer was then asked by the operator if she had pulled the plug. She replied that she had.

Asked if she was able to pull the woman out of the bath, the carer said she could not.

'I can't believe this'

The carer went on to say: "About 20 minutes ago I was down the stairs trying to do stuff in the house. I'm so sorry I can't believe this. I don't know if I left the water on...There's been that much happening tonight I cannot believe this."

The inquiry also heard from Stephen Mason who was the first paramedic on the scene at about 20:03.

He said he went into the bathroom and saw a woman lying in the bath who showed no signs of life.

The paramedic said there was just a trickle of water left but he believed her head had been under water as there was water in her ear.

He also said there was fresh skin on the sides of the bath and he had formed the impression this had come from either the woman's hands or hips.

He said a tap was still running but "not fast". He agreed it was just a dribble of water.

He said the carer told him she had left the woman for 10 to 15 minutes and she had told him that she did not know if she had left the taps running.

He said he believed the carer had told his colleague she had left the woman for half an hour.

The inquiry before sheriff Lindsay Wood continues.

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