Mother whose son died in hotel fire ‘very disappointed’ no date set for inquest

The mother of a man who died in a hotel fire that killed two said she was “very disappointed”. It remains unclear when an investigation into the fatal accident of the tragedy will begin following a court hearing.

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, 2017.

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, mother of Simon, was present at the Fatal Accidents Investigation (FAI) first procedural hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court on Tuesday, when a rehearing was set for May but no date was set for the survey itself.

Simon Midgley (right) and Richard Dyson died in the fire (Family Handout/PA)

Speaking after the hearing, she said: ‘I’m very disappointed today, half an hour and I came away still unsure of what’s going on and when it’s going to happen.

“I was hoping… we’re entering the fifth year and I have no idea yet, is it going to continue until the end of the year?” Everything is up in the air again. I am very disappointed with what happened today, very disappointed.

She added: “I’ve been waiting for five years and there are still unanswered questions and I need the answers so I can move on, it’s hard and I don’t just do it for the boys, I do it for the boys but I do it for everyone.

“It’s not just about hotels, you know, it’s about any type of public building and everyone to feel safe and changes need to be made, and until we have finished this, nothing will change.”

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

Cameron House Hotel fire
Jane Midgley (right) attended the hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court (Lucinda Cameron/PA)

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 counts of breaching the Fires (Scotland) Act 2005.

O’Malley admitted to breaching 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 .

Graeme Jessop, lead solicitor at the inquest, told Paisley Sheriff Court on Tuesday: “A fire started in a hotel concierge cupboard.

Cameron House Hotel fire
The hotel was badly damaged by the fire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“This caused an alarm at around 6.39am which led to the discovery of the fire and the initiation of a full evacuation.

“A subsequent roll call revealed that Mr Midgley and Mr Dyson were missing. During a search by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), the pair were located in a hotel stairwell by firefighters. Despite the best efforts of the Scottish Ambulance Service, both men died.

Mr Jessop said the Crown had commissioned an architect to prepare an inquest report as an expert witness.

The FAI should last about 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 Senior Duncan Murray has agreed to set the next hearing for May 3.

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