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Death of boy by falling memorial stone 'could have been prevented'

25 January 2018

The death of an eight-year-old boy who was hit by stone falling off an old memorial he and his friends had jumped on to in Craigton Cemetery in Cardonald, Glasgow, could have been avoided, a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) in Scotland concluded on 25 January.

The boy who died was Ciaran Williamson. He and some friends had entered the cemetery through an unrepaired hole in a perimeter wall of the cemetery on 26 May 2015. Ciaran climbed into a tree and jumped on to the memorial, which broke (see the NSS original report of the incident here).

Sheriff Linda Ruxton ruled that the absence of an active system of inspection to ensure the safety and stability of memorials in Glasgow cemeteries and, in particular, in Craigton Cemetery, was "a defect in Glasgow City Council's system of working which contributed to Ciaran's death and the accident resulting in his death".

She added that hand inspections at various heights on the memorial to test for movement would have been a "reasonable precaution" and that the Scottish government should issue guidance on inspecting large, traditional monuments in the cemeteries of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

She said: "Given the potential danger posed by large, leaning memorials, these should be given special attention and clear guidance issued as to the procedures for testing their safety and stability in order to assess whether there is concerning movement associated with such structures."

She recommended there should be an overhaul of existing industry guidance on memorial safety.

Ciaran was taken to hospital after the incident in 2015 but was declared dead within an hour of it.


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