The family of an Irvine man who killed himself in prison after being jailed for shoplifting, say they need answers.

Ryan Forbes was found hanged while he was on remand for shoplifting in Bowhouse on Tuesday, September 26.

He was 23.

Now his family and friends say they need to know how he managed to hang himself in his cell.

Former boyfriend Anton Docherty who was in a relationship with Ryan for five years until recently, said the entire family are devastated.

Speaking exclusively to the Times, he said: “We are just trying to come to terms with his death and we need to know how this has happened when he has been in custody. You think when you go to prison you would be safe and protected, but he obviously hasn’t been. We need answers.”

Anton says Ryan, who was a chef at Dundonald Links Golf Course, had been on remand for the shoplifting offence after “getting in with a bad crowd”.

He says he had struggled with his mental and emotional health since his mum Jacqueline died suddenly when he was just 10.

He told the Times: “For as long as I have known him Ryan struggled with his issues. He really, really missed his mum. She died 13 years ago, when he was just 10 and he still hadn’t come to terms with that. Then a few years after that his best friend Lianne died suddenly too. It was just too much for him. He told me many times he wanted to take his own life. It was something he talked about a lot.”

Following his mum’s death Ryan went to live with his grandparents Etta and Arthur.

Anton says the couple are totally distraught after losing their daughter and now their grandson.

He said: “They are just devastated. They have suffered so much already. Arthur is trying to be strong for Etta but he is just in bits.”

Anton says Ryan’s siblings Christopher, JohnPaul, Liam, Declan, Kelly-Ann and Charmaine are struggling to take in the news.

“The whole family are very upset. It’s hard because we are all trying to stay strong for each other but we are devastated. Today has been the first day that I have actually felt up to speaking to anyone.”

The exact circumstances surrounding Ryan’s death have not been disclosed by the Scottish Prison Service but a spokeswoman confirmed he had died at Bowhouse.

She said: “Ryan Forbes, 23, a prisoner at HMP Kilmarnock has died. He was convicted of theft by shoplifting at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on 21 September.

Police Scotland have been advised and the matter will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. Next of kin have been informed and a fatal accident inquiry may be held.”