Mother whose son died in hotel fire hoping for answers by inquest date

The mother of a man who died in the hotel fire that killed two has said she is finally hoping for closure after a date was set for an inquest into a fatal accident in the 2017 fire .

Simon Midgley, 32, and his partner, Richard Dyson, 38, from London, died in the fire at the five-star Cameron House hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond on December 18 the same year.

Hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd has been fined £500,000 and night porter Christopher O’Malley given a community refund order following the fire at Dumbarton Sheriff Court in January 2021.

Jane Midgley said it was her ‘worst nightmare’ as she awaits answers about what happened and said she would not miss a minute of the Fatal Accident Investigation (FAI), which is expected to begin in August.

Simon Midgley with his mother Jane (Family Handout/PA)

In an ongoing preliminary hearing, which took place virtually on Tuesday, Sheriff Thomas McCartney agreed that the fatal accident investigation (FAI) will begin at Paisley Sheriff Court on August 15 and will be conducted in person rather than virtually.

Ms Midgley told the PA news agency: ‘Four-and-a-half years later is a long time for things to be straightened out and for changes to be made where necessary.

“It’s been my worst nightmare, waiting for answers, waiting to see what happens next, will there be any changes, why has it taken so long, why is it taking all this time – these questions need to be asked.

“Two young men lost their lives and four and a half years on what changed? What legislation has changed and what has changed in relation to health and safety in Scotland? »

Cameron House Hotel fire
Simon Midgley (right) and Richard Dyson died following the fire (Family Handout/PA)

Ms Midgley listened to Tuesday’s hearing from a distance and welcomed the decision that the FAI itself will be in person.

She said: “I’m very happy that it’s in person, it’s very important to me, very very important, that we get answers, that we make changes and that this kind of thing never happens again. .

“I just hope there are no more delays and we can sort this out and finally wrap it up. I’ll be there every day, I won’t miss a minute.

Earlier on Tuesday, Crown attorney Graeme Jessop told the hearing that Ms Midgley had a ‘strong preference’ for the FAI to be in person.

He said: ‘Jane Midgley, the mother of the late Mr Midgley, has expressed her determination to be present and hear all evidence at the inquest into the fatal crash.

“She wants it to be known that she has a strong preference for an in-person hearing.”

Mr Jessop said Ms Midgley, who lives in the Leeds area, does not have Wi-Fi access at her home and listened to the hearing remotely at victim support offices in Yorkshire.

Sheriff McCartney said: “That’s a good reason why you would say a live hearing in court is the appropriate forum for that.”

Three weeks have been reserved for the FAI and a new preliminary hearing will take place at the end of June.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard in January last year that the fire started after night porter Christopher O’Malley emptied ashes and embers from a fuel fire into a polythene bag and placed it in a cupboard containing combustibles, including kindling and newspapers.

Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd, owner and operator of the hotel, has admitted failing to take the necessary fire safety measures to ensure the safety of employees and guests between January 14, 2016 and December 18, 2017.

The company admitted two charges of breaching the Fires (Scotland) Act 2005.

O’Malley admitted to violating sections of the health and safety laws that relate to an employee’s duty to take reasonable precautions for the health and safety of those affected by their acts or omissions at work .

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