Prisoner who murdered girlfriend in Fife 15 years ago died from multiple health issues

A prisoner, who murdered his girlfriend then hid her body in a cupboard in Fife 15 years ago, died after suffering multiple health problems for a number of years.

The body of Lisa Nelson was found at a flat in Haughgate Street, Leven, in 2006. pic: google
The body of Lisa Nelson was found at a flat in Haughgate Street, Leven, in 2006. pic: google

David Whitelaw, 60, strangled Lisa Nelson to death with a cord at his flat in Leven in 2006. He wrapped her body in layers of black plastic bin bags then hid her in the cupboard, locked it, then fled.

Miss Nelson was last seen alive in September 2006 but her body was discovered weeks later. Her family became concerned when she did not show up to her father’s funeral.

Whitelaw was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years before he could be considered for parole.

A fatal accident inquiry determination by Sheriff Linda Nicolson, published on Friday, said Whitelaw had suffered poor health over a number of years before his death on December 31, 2019, at University Hospital in Wishaw. At the time of his death he was a prisoner at HM Prison, Shotts.

A heart attack, ischaemic heart disease and type 2 diabetes were all listed as causes of death.

The report said he suffered multiple long-term medical conditions which included asthma and angina and had a history of acute kidney injury, severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction, and had suffered previously from heart attacks. He was also obese and was registered blind in 2014.

Whitelaw’s health deteriorated throughout 2019, leading to acute hospital admissions on several occasions between May and December of that year.

The report said no precautions could reasonably have been taken which might realistically have resulted in the death being avoided. There were no defects in any system of working which contributed to the death.

During his time in Shotts, Whitelaw was subject to integrated case management assessments on a regular basis and was described as having a “challenging” and “anti-authoritarian” attitude towards staff in the prison.

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