The brother of Katie Allan, who killed herself in Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution in June 2018, has spoken out for the first time about his grief at her death and his anger at the criminal justice system.

Scott Allan, who was 15 when Katie died, is about to celebrate his 21st birthday. Katie spent her 21st birthday behind bars and died a few weeks later. Scott says his sister was his best friend who “carved a path” and pointed the way forward.

He told the Herald on Sunday: “It unsettles me that I am going to be older than she ever got to be. It brings tears to my eyes to think there’s so much of her life she never got to live, so many dreams that will never be fulfilled.”

An ongoing FAI into the deaths of Katie and William LIndsay, 16, who took his own life in Polmont six months after Katie, has heard how Katie’s mental health deteriorated in the face of bullying and the loss of up to 80% of her hair through alopecia.

READ MORE: Katie Allan's brother on grief, loss and why he's challenging law

“When all this began, I was very young and I had a subconscious faith that everything around me worked as it should,” Scott said. “But after Katie was sent to Polmont, I quickly began to lose faith in the system to the point where I now think it needs to burn down and be remade.”

Katie, originally from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, had knocked a 15-year-old boy unconscious while drink driving. She was jailed despite her victim’s family pleading for a non-custodial sentence. Scott has called for more scrutiny of sentencing decisions and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), and for offenders to be treated as human beings and supported to rebuild their lives.

His plea comes after it emerged Sheriff Simon Collins KC, who is presiding over the FAI into Katie and William’s deaths, may defer his determination until after the FAI into the death of Jack McKenzie, 20, who took his own life in Polmont in September 2021.

Jack, of Shettleston, Glasgow, who lost both parents to drugs, had been in Polmont for eight months and had been due to face trial over allegations he was involved in a violent disturbance.

READ MORE: Katie Allan ‘petrified’ of other inmates day before she died - inquiry

Sheriff Collins will also preside over the FAI into Jack’s death, which is expected to begin later this year. The current FAI has heard evidence of changes brought by the SPS in in the wake of Katie and William’s deaths to prevent further suicides. Delaying the determination would allow the effectiveness or otherwise of those changes to be scrutinised.

The news that Sheriff Collins will also preside over Jack’s FAI has been welcomed by Katie’s mother Linda Allan, who has criticised death in custody FAIs for considering each death in isolation, without looking at the bigger picture.

Aamer Anwar, who represents the families of Katie and William, also praised the move. “Year after year, in FAI after FAI, the Scottish Prison Service claims real changes have taken place to protect life. We know from experience that this isn’t true,” he said.

“The families I represent think it is only right that, several years after Katie and William’s deaths, the empty words of ‘lessons will be learned’ are not trotted out, but that answers are given on what went wrong.”