Fatal accident inquiry into hotel blaze which claimed two lives set for August

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A fatal accident inquiry into a hotel fire which claimed two lives will begin in August, more than four and a half years after the blaze.

Simon Midgley, 32, and his partner Richard Dyson, 38, from London, died in the blaze at the five-star Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond on December 18 2017.

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

At a continued preliminary hearing, which took place virtually on Tuesday, Sheriff Thomas McCartney agreed the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) will begin at Paisley Sheriff Court on August 15 and will take place in person rather than virtually.

Simon Midgley (right) and Richard Dyson died following the blaze (Family handout/PA)

(PA Media)

Graeme Jessop, lead counsel to the inquiry, said Mr Midgley’s mother has a “strong preference” for the hearing to be in person.

He said: “Jane Midgley, the mother of the deceased Mr Midgley, has expressed her determination to be present and hear all of the evidence at the fatal accident inquiry.

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

Mr Jessop said that Mrs Midgley, who lives in the Leeds area, does not have wi-fi access at her home address and listened to the hearing remotely at Victim Support offices in Yorkshire.

Sheriff McCartney said: “That is a strong reason why you would submit that a live hearing within court is the appropriate forum for this.”

Three weeks has been set aside for the FAI and there will be a further preliminary hearing in late June.

The hotel was badly damaged in the blaze (Andrew Milligan/PA)

(PA Archive)

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

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

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

O’Malley admitted breaching sections of health and safety laws which relate to the obligation on an employee to take reasonable care for the health and safety of people affected by their acts or omissions at work.

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