THE mother of a boy crushed by a gravestone in a Glasgow cemetery has called for a fatal accident inquiry shake-up that makes prosecutions possible after a sheriff ruled the death could have been avoided if safety precautions had been taken.

Ciaran Williamson, aged eight, was killed while playing with friends in Craigton Cemetery on May 16 2015.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) heard a group of five boys were playing a game involving climbing on to a large 1920s memorial, pushing off from the top to the perimeter wall and grabbing the branch of a tree to swing to the ground.


Ciaran had been standing at the base of the memorial, which weighed almost two-and-a-half tons, when it toppled.

The FAI found Glasgow City Council had stopped carrying out routine memorial inspections several years before the accident.

Sheriff Linda Ruxton ruled that if stability checks had been carried out, the memorial would have failed and been declared unsafe leading to a cordon or removal.

READ MORE: Ministers criticised by sheriff for lack of guidance over Scots cemetery safety

In her findings, the sheriff determined a routine inspection of the memorial was a "reasonable precaution whereby Ciaran's death and the accident that resulted in his death might have been avoided".


The sheriff also found that repairing the hole in the wall where the boys entered the cemetery was a reasonable precaution whereby the death might have been avoided.

But the sheriff stopped short in making a finding that there was a defect in the system of working that caused the accident and Ciaran's death under section 6(1)(d) of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976.

It came after it emerged the Crown stopped short of seeking the finding arguing that there was uncertainty over the likelihood of the memorial

READ MORE: Ministers criticised by sheriff for lack of guidance over Scots cemetery safetypassing or failing an inspection, had one taken place prior to May 2015.

Ciaran's mother Stephanie Griffin, 27, accused officials of increasing her pain by needlessly dragging out the process and fears they will ignore any guidance passed down by the court.

She has now called for FAI recommendations to be enforceable and for prosecutions to be made possibl in the light of relevant failings.

She 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.

“Instead it threw thousands of public money at a QC and advocate who specialise in criminal cases – this defensive approach shows it set out from day one to divert blame and muddy the waters."

"While we understand FAI’s don’t blame or punish and only give “recommendations”, there’s no rule to say the council are legally bound to act on them – and who checks to see if they do?

“The Crown refused to prosecute the council before the facts were fully investigated yet today, when the court does find faults, the council still escapes prosecution.

"“How’s that fair or in the public interest? It’s like the reputation of a public body takes priority and it makes FAIs toothless to the point of meaningless.


Sheriff Ruxton recommended new guidance be drawn up on memorial safety and stability testing for local authorities in Scotland with a focus on how to inspect large, traditional monuments, distinct from lawn memorials and other smaller structures.

Since the death, Glasgow City Council have carried out stability inspections in all city cemeteries.

READ MORE: Ministers criticised by sheriff for lack of guidance over Scots cemetery safety

Councillor Anna Richardson said: "I accept the Sheriff's findings. We are sorry and our thoughts remain with Ciaran's family and friends.

"It is clear that the Sheriff expects national guidelines and advice to be put in place for all cemeteries and, in particular, for dealing with larger and often older memorials. The council will adopt those guidelines once they are available.

"The council had already taken steps that address the Sheriff's other recommendations prior to the inquiry and used the expert evidence heard in court to further strengthen its procedures.

"We welcome the Sheriff's very clear statement that no cemetery is a safe place for play."

Ciaran's father Ryan Williamson said: "The very strong recommendations made by the sheriff are the best outcome we could have hoped for and I would like to thank her for the work she has done."