Cameron House blaze: Mother disappointed no date set for inquiry

Jane Midgley
Jane Midgley’s son died in the Cameron House fire on Loch Lomondside.

By Lucy Ashton

BBC Scotland is reporting that the mother of a man who died in a fire at a Loch Lomondside resort has said she is “very disappointed” that a date has not yet been set for a fatal accident inquiry.

Simon Midgley and his partner Richard Dyson died in the Cameron House Hotel blaze by Loch Lomond in December 2017.

Mother Jane Midgley attended the first procedural hearing for the FAI but no date was fixed for it to begin.

Afterwards she said there were still unanswered questions about the tragedy.

She said: “I need those answers to be able to move on – and it’s difficult. I’m doing this not just for the boys, I’m doing it for everybody.

“It’s not just about hotels you know, it’s about any public building and anybody to feel safe. Changes have got to be made and until we have this over and done with nothing is going to change.”

Richard Dyson and Simon Midgley
Richard Dyson, left, and Simon Midgley, who died, had been on a winter break.

Mr Midgley, 32 and Mr Dyson, 38 were staying in the hotel on a winter break on the night of the fire.

The blaze was started after night porter Christopher O’Malley placed a plastic bag of ashes in the concierge cupboard.

In January 2021, hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd was fined £500,000 and Mr O’Malley was given a community payback order for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company admitted failing to take the fire safety measures necessary to ensure the safety of employees and guests and two charges of breaching the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

The Crown Office initially said an FAI was not needed because the circumstances of the fatalities had been established – but a review overturned the decision after Mrs Midgley called for wider lessons to be learned.

A coroner in England ruled that the couple were unlawfully killed and raised concerns that he had not been allowed access to documents and CCTV footage by Scottish authorities.

“If I weren’t to have fought and begged for this, nothing would have changed anyway,” said Mrs Midgley.

“We’re going into the fifth year and none of us have [any] idea again. Is it going to go on to the back end of the year? It’s all up in the air again. I’m so very disappointed with what happened today.”

Graeme Jessop, lead counsel to the inquiry, told Paisley Sheriff Court that the Crown has instructed an architect to prepare a report for the inquiry as an expert witness.  The FAI is expected to last around four weeks.

Participants will include Cameron House Resort Loch Lomond Ltd, Mr O’Malley, a representative from Village Hotels and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Sheriff Principal Duncan Murray agreed to set the next hearing for 3 May.

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