finance

Crown Office u-turn over Cameron House Hotel fire


A full inquiry into the Cameron House Hotel fire, which killed two men, will now be held.

The Crown Office announced in April that a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) would not go ahead, stating it was “satisfied that the reasons for this tragedy have been established”.

But following an appeal from Jane Midgley – the mother of hotel guest Simon Midgley, who was killed in the 2017 blaze alongside his partner Richard Dyson – the Crown Office reviewed this decision.

Simon, 32, and Richard, 38, were unable to escape the hotel, on the banks of Loch Lomond, as flames tore through it on the morning of 18 December 2017.



Simon Midgley (right) and Richard Dyson died in the fire at Cameron House Hotel

A total of 214 guests fled the inferno which was started after night porter Christopher O’Malley placed a bag of ash from a fire into a cupboard.

In January, Cameron House was fined £500,000 after pleading guilty to a string of fire safety failures, with O’Malley sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard the hotel had been given two warnings by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service over the storing of flammable materials in the concierge cupboard near a source of ignition.

Prosecutors said the general manager raised the matter with a head concierge and manager, but the practice remained unchanged, with jackets, leaflets, kindling and newspapers all being stored there before the blaze.

Announcing the u-turn, the Crown Office said today: “During two prosecutions, information on the causes and circumstances of the deaths of Mr Midgley and Mr Dyson were presented in court – meaningful changes have been made and lessons have been learned from the events.

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“Nonetheless, a review by independent Crown Counsel, with no previous involvement in this case has concluded that there are wider public interest issues around the safety of guests and building fire safety which ought to feature in a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“The Procurator Fiscal has now started work to initiate this inquiry and there are a number of legal steps which must be taken before it can commence.”

Cameron House Hotel is preparing to reopen in August.

Scottish Labour deputy leader and MSP for Dumbarton, Jackie Baillie, said: “This is a welcome development and will come as a relief to the families involved.

“Justice must be done for the families of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson and all the facts of the case must be brought to light.

“We must ensure that lessons are learned from this tragic event and that such a catastrophe is not repeated.”

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