A criminal who featured in television documentary The Scheme died in prison a week before he was due to be freed.

Thomas Leiper had a combination of drugs in his system, a fatal accident inquiry was told.

Leiper, 43, appeared in the fly on the wall BBC Scotland documentary which followed the lives of residents in an estate in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

In 2015 he was jailed for four years for assault and possession of a bladed item.

An inquiry at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard the parole board had approved his release in February 2018 and he was due to be freed on April 4 that year.

He had been serving his sentence at HMP Kilmarnock, but was transferred to Glasgow's Barlinnie prison on March 26 after he was seriously assaulted.

That night he was seen to be under the influence of a substance and placed under observation.

Leiper was found unconscious in his cell the next morning and could not be revived.

He was found to have heroin substitute methadone and the sedatives etizolam and amitriptyline in his system.

HMP Barlinnie

He was being prescribed methadone, but the amount found was significantly higher than his usual dosage and it alone could have killed him.

Police were unable to find out how Leiper got the other drugs in prison.

While Leiper was supposed to be checked every 15 minutes because of his intoxicated state, this did not happen between 6.50am and 8.45am when he was found lying unresponsive on his bed.

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In his findings, Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull said this failure was "regrettable". It appeared that each officer involved had assumed that someone else was doing the observation.

But the sheriff added: "I am satisfied that the defect did not contribute to Mr Leiper's death."I accept the doctor's evidence that even if Mr Leiper had been observed and taken to hospital there was virtually no chance of him surviving."

Leiper, a schizophrenic who had addiction issues, appeared in The Scheme in 2011.

But the day after he featured in an episode of the programme he was jailed for six months for offences including supplying methadone, possessing cannabis and breaching bail.