Mum of man killed in Cameron House hotel fire speaks out as second FAI hearing held


The heartbroken mum of Cameron House victim Simon Midgley says she feels she has been “let down” by the system as she fights for answers about how her son died.

Speaking last week after a continued preliminary hearing prior to a full Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) starting in August, Jane Midgley said that her five-year wait for answers has been unacceptable and she feels let down by the Scottish justice system.

An FAI into the fire which killed Simon, 32, and his partner Richard Dyson, 38, has been arranged for August 15 – and is expected to last for three weeks at Paisley Sheriff Court.

Simon’s mum Jane has been fighting for answers since the tragedy at the five-star resort on the banks of Loch Lomond on December 18, 2017.

Hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd was previously fined £500,000 and night porter Christopher O’Malley was given a community payback order over the fire.

At a continued preliminary hearing, which took place virtually on Wednesday ahead of the FAI, Crown counsel Graeme Jessop said he does not plan to call relatives of the men who died as witnesses but will invite them to provide written “pen pictures” of the pair .

Mr Jessop said the FAI will “undoubtedly be a relatively lengthy and complex inquiry”.

Jane welcomed the opportunity to provide a statement, but hit out over a lack of support from the Crown Office.

The families of the men killed in the Cameron House fire will be invited to give statements to the fatal accident inquiry
The families of the men killed in the Cameron House fire will be invited to give statements to the fatal accident inquiry

She told the Lennox: “It will be two years since the criminal case and nothing has changed.

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“To wait five years for changes to be made with the fight we’ve had is beyond words.

“We’ve had the door closed on us so many times. It’s been very upsetting and stressful.

“I feel like I’ve been made to feel that I’m an inconvenience.

“I’m hoping that, in the future, the Lord Advocate will look at how long these cases take and change the way families are treated.

“The Crown Office say that they are in regular contact with me.

“They ask me if I have questions, I ask them and they say that unfortunately because it’s part of an inquiry we can’t provide answers. But we’ll update you in two weeks.

“That’s what regular contact means.

“Nothing has helped me grieve or feel positive that something good comes out of it. I just feel an inconvenience.

“The system is a big letdown.

Simon Midgley (right) and Richard Dyson died in the hotel blaze on the banks of Loch Lomond on December 18, 2017
Simon Midgley (right) and Richard Dyson died in the hotel blaze on the banks of Loch Lomond on December 18, 2017

“And my heart breaks for the families who have had to wait longer than me.”

Jane added that she fears a similar incident will occur before any changes are implemented.

She continued: “What have the Crown done to make sure this never happens again?

“This is a fight to make sure health and safety is spot on across the country.

“Until we know there is legislation in place to prevent things like this, then this tragedy could happen again.”

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard in January last year that the fire started after O’Malley, of Lennox Street in Renton, emptied ash and embers from a fuel fire into a polythene bag and placed it in a cupboard which contained combustibles including kindling and newspapers.

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Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd, owner and operator of the hotel, admitted failing to take the fire safety measures necessary to ensure the safety of employees and guests between January 14, 2016, and December 18, 2017. The company admitted two charges of breaching the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

O’Malley admitted breaching sections of health and safety laws which relate to the obligation on an employee to take reasonable care for the health and safety of people affected by their acts or omissions at work.

And Jane has said that she will not be able to start grieving until she has answers.

She added: “As a family, we’ve not been able to grieve. We eat, sleep and breathe this and have done for five years. There are so many unanswered questions.”

Sheriff Thomas McCartney set a further preliminary hearing for August 2.

The Crown Office did not respond to our request for a comment.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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