A CARLISLE-born prison inmate died in hospital having earlier been found “slumped” in his Scottish cell, an inquest has heard.

Jason Irvine, aged 34, was handed a 27-month jail term in 2022 for attacking a priest with a glass bottle inside an Edinburgh cathedral; and assaulting a teenage girl after he’d fled the place of worship.

He was later released from custody. But, earlier this year, he was back in prison after being remanded by the city’s sheriff’s court on an unrelated matter.

Irvine died on Wednesday, 21st February, the Scottish Prison Service had confirmed.

An inquest into his death was opened at Cockermouth Coroners’ Court.

During a short hearing, assistant Cumbria coroner Ms Margaret Taylor noted that Mr Irvine had died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

“He was single at the time of his death. He had been born at Carlisle,” stated Ms Taylor.

“I’m told that at the time of his death Mr Irvine had been residing at HMP Saughton in Edinburgh and had been found slumped in his cell. He was put on to his bed and observations were taken and they seemed to be OK.

“Mr Irvine had then called his mother to transfer money over to another inmate which, it was suspected, was for drugs.

“There is a suggestion that he had been on suicide watch at the time of his death. There is a further indication that he had had an altercation with a prison officer and had a cut to the head. He was checked on, 30 minutes later, and found not to be well and transferred to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He had not regained consciousness.”

Ms Taylor concluded: “Given the place of Mr Irvine’s death and, I suspect, the need for a prison ombudsman’s investigation, I am going to suspend his inquest today to allow the Scottish authorities to complete their investigations.”

A full inquest will be held on a future date.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said after Mr Irvine’s death: “Police Scotland have been advised and the matter reported to the Procurator Fiscal.  A Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held in due course.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "On Wednesday, 21 February, 2024, officers were advised about the death of an 34-year-old male prisoner from HMP Edinburgh within the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. There are no suspicious circumstances, and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Irvine’s bottle attack on the priest had occurred inside St Mary’s Cathedral in July, 2021. Father James McMorrin had been kneeling for morning prayers when he was repeatedly struck to the body with the makeshift weapon.

Irvine then chased the terrified cleric through the building and placed him in a headlock. Plucky Father McMorrin was then able to grab a wooden chair and bravely fight off his drunken assailant.

Irvine later admitted assault aggravated by religious prejudice, and assaulting the girl.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC had described Irvine’s assaults on both the priest and teenager as “disgraceful”.