Fire ravaged Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond; victims Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson; Jackie Baillie; First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Lord Advocate James Wolffe.
By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie, MSP for the Dumbarton Constituency, hit out at First Minister’s Questions in parliament this week over the lack of answers received by the families of those who lost their lives in the fire at Cameron House Hotel almost 1,000 days ago.
This follows a letter sent to the First Minister from Jane Midgley, mother of Simon Midgley, who lost his life in the fire, along with his partner Richard Dyson.
The letter states that, despite the fire having taken place almost three years ago and Mrs Midgley’s constant requests to the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal office, no charges have been brought forward and no prosecution undertaken.
Mrs Midgley has admitted to having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety due to the lack of answers that she has been given since her son’s death in December 2017.
Jackie Baillie has worked with Mrs Midgley since the fire in an effort to obtain answers about what happened.
To date, there have been no substantive findings.
Jackie Baillie asked Nicola Sturgeon to get an update from Lord Advocate James Wolffe and for the First Minister herself to meet with Mrs Midgley in the near future. The First Minister agreed to a meeting.
She pleaded: “It is almost 1,000 days since this devastating fire occurred and still the families of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson have been unable to get any sense of closure due to the time being taken by the Crown Office to come to a conclusion about the cause of the fire.
“Reports have been submitted by the Police and Fire Service and have been on the desk of the Crown Office for about a year.
“Jane and other family members have been incredibly patient but the lack of answers is having a terrible impact on their well-being.
“As we approach 1000 days since this awful event, I am once again urging the Crown Office to show some compassion and provide these families with much needed answers.
Work in progress on the restoration of Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomondside.
“I welcome the acceptance of a meeting by the First Minister and hope that this encourages progress to be made in the investigation so that these families can finally grieve the loss of their loved ones in peace.”
“I sympathise deeply with Mrs Midgley for her loss, the loss that her family has suffered and the frustration caused by the delays in any process around the investigation of what happened at Cameron House, which will be contributing to her grief.
“What I tried to do in my letter—I will not go into all the details, because it was a letter to Mrs Midgley—was explain the reasons.
“Jackie Baillie already understands those reasons. No matter what my personal feelings are or the anguish that I feel on Mrs Midgley’s behalf, I cannot seek to intervene in any decisions about criminal investigations or potential criminal prosecutions—it simply would not be right for me to do that.
“I know that that is always hard for victims or people who have suffered loss to understand, but I do not serve them well unless I set that out clearly.
“I am sure that the Crown Office would give Jackie Baillie an update. It is simply not appropriate for me to seek to direct it in these matters in any way.”