Death of boy struck by headstone could have been prevented, sheriff rules

Ciaran Williamson died instantaneously after the gravestone fell on him. Picture: Contributed
Ciaran Williamson died instantaneously after the gravestone fell on him. Picture: Contributed
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The death of an eight year-old who was struck by a headstone in a cemetery could have been prevented, a sheriff has ruled.

Ciaran Williamson was critically injured in Craigton Cemetery in the Cardonald area of Glasgow after the memorial stone fell on him in May 2015.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry into the youngster’s death has concluded that Scotland’s largest local authority did not have an active inspection system in place to determine the safety and stability and memorials in the city.

The sheriff who helmed the inquiry said that had the large gravestone which hit Ciaran been subject to routine inspections, his death might have been avoided.

However, the boy’s mother said that the FAI process was “toothless” and said her family did not feel that justice had been done.

The youngster suffered two fractures to his skull as well injuries to his heart and liver in the incident on 26 May 2015.

He was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children but was pronounced dead. The FAI heard that his death “would have been instantaneous and painless.”

The FAI ruled that the tragedy might have been prevented had Glasgow City Council carried out repairs to gaps in a perimeter wall, through which Ciaran entered the cemetery.

In her 115 page judgement, Sheriff Linda Ruxton also called for an nationwide overhaul of local authority guidance on the safety of memorials which pose a potential danger to the public.

In the wake of the judgement, Ms Griffin said: ““Every day we are crippled with the agony of losing Ciaran but this conclusion has not brought peace, answers or even a sense of justice.

“Our suffering has been made worse as we’ve been dragged through a process that could have been shortened had Glasgow City Council not refused to concede to obvious failings.”

Ms Griffin added that FAIs were “toothless to the point of meaningless” and questioned whether the changes recommended by Sheriff Ruxton would be implemented.

Ciaran’s father, Ryan Williamson, said: “Had Glasgow City Council properly maintained the cemetery Ciaran would still be alive today.”