Tag Archives: crew

Plymouth house fire woman died after 999 call handler delay

Molly WigmoreImage copyright Keyham Community Partnership
Image caption Molly Wigmore’s sister said after the inquest: “We have lost a good soul”

A woman died after a call handler refused to send a crew to a fire in her house, an inquest was told.

Molly Wigmore, 76, died at her Plymouth home in October last year.

The first 999 call was made by a neighbour at 05:17 GMT but the caller was told it was “only smoke in the area”.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the call handler who took the first call had been sacked.

Another officer has received a final written warning.

More on this story and others from Devon

The second call by another neighbour was made at 06:44 with a fire engine arriving at 06:50, the inquest in Plymouth heard.

The hearing was told a neighbour shouted “if she’s dead, it’s on you,” at firefighters when they arrived at the scene.

Image caption “This was an individual failing rather than an organisational failing,” the fire service said

Station manager David Roddy said: “More care should have been taken by the operators to establish the full facts.

Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow said: “This was an exceptional case with a tragic outcome.”

Mr Arrow, who recorded a narrative conclusion, accepted that it was a “one-off individual failing”.

He added: “A decision not to deploy should be exceptional and made by the most senior person in the control room.”

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Ms Wigmore’s sister Sheila said after the inquest that she was “satisfied this was a one-off, but it is too tragic because we have lost a good soul”.

Neil Blackburn, head of operations for the fire service, offered the victim’s family and friends his “deepest condolences”.


Plans for Bradford firefighters to wear body cameras are shelved

PLANS for firefighters in Bradford to become the first across West Yorkshire to wear body cameras in a bid to reduce attacks on crews have been shelved after a fire authority committee refused to sanction a proposed trial of the scheme.

The Executive Committee of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) had been asked to approve the purchase of six Body Worn Video (BWV) devices, costing a total of £3,528, to be used at Bradford, Odsal, and Fairweather Green stations, along with one crew from Leeds.

Fire chiefs had stated that BWV could have been an “independent witness” offering a visual deterrent to those threatening to attack firefighters, with users also encouraged to give verbal announcements to indicate the cameras were in use.

It was hoped that a “limited and controlled trial” of BWV could have provided WYFRS with an indication of the potential benefits to crews before any consideration of a service-wide roll out of the technology. But, the trial was criticised by unions, with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) stating that the cameras would be like a “red rag to a bull” to attackers, and the Fire Officers Association expressing concerns over “trust in the use of the footage.”

The committee decided to defer a decision on any trial until further information could be provided to members, including a right to privacy report and a full breakdown of costs.

They also requested a full consultation on BWV with all firefighters, statistics involving prosecutions using the cameras, and evidence from BWV trials conducted in other areas.

WYFRS deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “Having considered the report regarding the feasibility of introducing Body Worn Video cameras, the Executive Committee have requested more information from officers in respect of a number of issues.

“A further report will be taken back to the committee at a later date.”

David Williams, secretary of the FBU in West Yorkshire, who said BWV recordings could put firefighters in “untenable” positions, said while he welcomed the trial being deferred, the idea should have been thrown out completely.

“I don’t know if the fire authority are kicking this issue into the long grass in the hope that the FBU will soften their stance, but that won’t happen,” he said.

“If this were to go out to consultation, it would be overwhelmingly and wholeheartedly rejected. Firefighters just do not want to wear these cameras.

“There are no assurances that could be given that would change our view.

“There is a very real risk they would stand to lose out rather than benefit, and they simply won’t take that risk.”

Memorial marks 80 years since Castlecary train disaster

castlecary train disasterImage copyright Pathe
Image caption Rescuers faced challenging conditions with sub-zero temperatures and snow

One of Britain’s worst train crashes is to be remembered in a memorial service.

The Castlecary rail disaster cost 35 people their lives in a freezing snowstorm on a December Friday night in 1937.

Another 179 were hurt in the tragedy when an Edinburgh to Glasgow express ploughed into a stationary train just west of Castlecary village.

Among the dead were the seven train crew and an eight-year-old girl.

The crash happened in the evening of 10 December 1937 as the express from Edinburgh Waverley was travelling at high speed in a blizzard.

Both the express and the other train, from Dundee, were bound for Queen Street Station.

Image copyright Pathe
Image caption The Edinburgh to Glasgow train crashed into the back of a stationary Dundee train heading for Queen Street
Image copyright Pathe
Image caption Thirty five people died and 179 were injured in the disaster

The Dundee train was running late and had stopped at signals outside Castlecary Station when the express train rammed into the stationary carriages.

An investigation after the incident found a signaller error was to blame, with driver error and challenging weather conditions contributing factors.

For years the disaster was remembered by the local people in Castlecary with a makeshift memorial by the side of the railway.

But, keen to create a fitting tribute to those who died and those who helped in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy, Castlecary Community Council created a permanent memorial in 2007, made from railway sleepers, pieces of track and a wheel from a piece of rolling stock.

It is at this memorial that the victims of the disaster will be remembered on Sunday evening.

Image copyright Pathe
Image caption Locals fought to save passengers
Image copyright Ministry of Transport
Image caption Official documents from the time of the disaster

Secretary of the community council Albert McBeath said the memory of the tragedy endured despite the passage of time.

“I knew a lot of people who remembered and had seen the aftermath,” she said.

“It must have been horrendous, in one of our worst winters, the temperature was -20C.

“I moved to the village 30 years ago and have always heard people talking about it.

“Even now, they have grandparents who remember what happened after the crash.”

Falkirk councillor Billy Buchanan will be joined for a short service by the Provost of North Lanarkshire to remember those who lost their lives.

They will also pay tribute to a later crash in 1968 which saw the loss of two men.

£53m of cocaine

The Galwad rusting
Image caption The men’s fishing boat, the Galwad, has not seen the sea for years

Six years ago, a group of fishermen were convicted for their role in one of the biggest drug smuggling hauls in British history. Campaigners – and one of the original jurors – say that serious doubts remain about the safety of those convictions. Last month, the men lost an official review of their case.

On 29 May 2010, a small fishing boat left the Isle of Wight on what its crew claim was a routine trip to catch lobster and crab in the English Channel.

At the same time, a major surveillance operation was also under way, led by the Serious Organised Crime Agency – which had intelligence about cocaine being on board a giant container ship sailing from South America.

That night, one of the ships being monitored and the men’s fishing boat briefly came close together – though exactly how close is still disputed.

The next day 11 sacks were found tangled around a buoy in Freshwater Bay to the south of the island, each packed with a pure form of cocaine that had a street value of £53m.

Image copyright Police footage
Image caption Police helicopter footage shows the white rope connecting the sacks

The prosecution’s case was that the sacks were pushed off the side of the container ship for the fishermen to collect, who then took them to the bay, leaving them there to hide or be collected by another vessel at a later time.

The five men – Daniel Payne, Zoran Dresic, Jonathan Beere, Scott Birtwistle and Jamie Green – were found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle class A drugs and given sentences of up to 24 years each.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jamie Green was the skipper of the boat, and received a 24-year prison sentence

Richard Yardley was the only one of 12 jurors in the 2011 trial to find the men not guilty.

When the verdicts were read out, he says his heart “was pounding like it was going to come out of my mouth”.

“I was devastated. Even more so when I heard the reaction of the families,” he tells the BBC‘s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

“There are lots of things wrong about that case. Loads.

“I was convinced beyond reasonable doubt at the time [that they were not guilty]. Now I’m convinced beyond any doubt whatsoever.”

The men’s case has been taken up by the Centre for Criminal Appeals – a charity run by Emily Bolton, a British lawyer who worked for years on death row and innocence projects in the US.

Ms Bolton says new analysis of navigational data – not seen in the original trial – suggests the container ship, the MSC Oriane, adjusted its course earlier than thought and would never have come into contact with the fishing boat, the Galwad – meaning the drugs could not have been smuggled on board.

Image copyright Colin Millgarth
Image caption MSC Oriane

“The implication of the tracks not crossing in this case is absolutely fundamental,” she explains. “If the tracks didn’t cross, they didn’t smuggle the drugs.”

But for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) – the official body which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice, and decided last month not to refer the men’s case back to the Court of Appeal – this isn’t nearly enough.

“Their expert is now saying the little boat was 175m away from the big boat,” says David James Smith, the CCRC commissioner who has just reviewed the case.

“No-one could say on that basis that the little boat wasn’t in a position to collect the drugs. You’d have to remove them [the fishermen] from the area altogether to make a difference.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionLawyer Emily Bolton asks: Why was there no trace of cocaine?

A detailed forensic search could not find a single trace of cocaine on board the fishing boat. The drugs were wrapped in sealed plastic sacks but there is some evidence water leaked into the powder.

There are also questions over the testimony of two Hampshire Police officers, who – from nearby cliffs – said they saw “six to seven” dark items being dropped off the side of the boat near to where the drugs were later found.

At trial the fishermen claimed, if anything, they may have been throwing waste overboard at the time.

After the cocaine was found the Hampshire Police officers changed their entries in the official police surveillance log to closely match a description of the 11 multicoloured drug sacks and rope.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionPolice haul in cocaine with a street value of £53m, found off the Isle of Wight

Altering a surveillance log is allowed so officers can later clarify what was seen. But to the defence it raises serious doubts about the case against the men.

Don Dewer, a retired surveillance officer now working unpaid as an expert witness for the charity’s defence team, believes it is “just not possible” that there would be need for officers to change a key fact after the event.

“From my point of view, the [fishermen] have been convicted on one piece of evidence, which I do not believe actually happened,” he said.

The Hampshire officers were later cleared of serious wrongdoing by the independent police watchdog and the recent CCRC review could find no evidence of malice or serious misconduct by either the police or the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Image caption David James Smith says the CCRC has been “extremely thorough” in its investigations

“Believe me, we’ve looked hard and if it was there we would have found it,” says CCRC commissioner David James Smith.

The CCRC points to other parts of the prosecution case which it describes as “compelling”.

As the men navigated their way through the Channel, a number of calls were made to the satellite phone on the fishing boat from a mobile handset purchased that day with a fake name.

The fishermen say a new member of the crew, a migrant worker in the UK on a false passport, had fallen ill and was trying to contact the person who set him up with the job.

Health club encounter

Months after the guilty verdicts, Richard Yardley, the only juror to find the men not guilty, wrote a letter to the defence barrister alleging someone at Soca tried to interfere with the trial itself.

In allegations later heard in court, Mr Yardley said a Soca officer aware of the case had got into conversation with another of the jurors at a local health club.

Court documents show he claimed the juror “received extraneous information about the case” during the encounter, which was then passed on to other jurors.

This included the claim that the Soca officer said “although the agency had made mistakes during the operation, the accused were in fact all guilty”.

Image caption Richard Yardley claims a Soca officer got into conversation with a juror at a health club

But after an investigation, three judges said there was no support for Mr Yardley’s allegation. They questioned his credibility and ruled his evidence could not be relied upon.

Mr Yardley is still adamant the conversation did take place.

“Nobody in that appeal court asked themselves the question, ‘What has this guy got to gain by [making these allegations]… by putting himself in a position where he is interrogated for two hours?’,” he says.

“Why would he go to the trouble unless what he is saying is the truth?”

‘Locked door’

The decision made last month not to send the case back to the Court of Appeal at this stage does not mean the matter is settled.

According to the CCRC’s latest annual report, it referred just 12 of the 1,563 cases it looked at last year, the lowest number since it started work 20 years ago.

That figure – less than 1% – has angered some miscarriage of justice campaigners at a time when the organisation’s budget has been cut significantly.

“The CCRC is supposed to be the gateway to the Court of Appeal, but at the moment it’s functioning as a locked door,” says Ms Bolton.

Image copyright Serious organised crime agency
Image caption Police mug shots, from top-left: Daniel Payne, Zoran Dresic, Jonathan Beere, Scott Birtwistle, Jamie Green

The CCRC rejects any suggestion that funding cuts mean it does not have the proper resources to deal with a complex case like this.

“I think we’ve been extremely thorough in our work,” says CCRC commissioner David James Smith.

“The Court of Appeal, and therefore us when reviewing cases, are always looking for something new and that just isn’t here in sufficient depth and detail in this case.”

For the fishermen, there is still the chance of fresh evidence emerging which the CCRC will have to look at again.

For three of the five men a different route is available – taking their arguments directly to a judge to make a decision.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

Fire crews rescue man ‘impaled on railings’

A MAN had to be rescued by the fire service this morning after getting impaled on a railing in Bingley.

The man became impaled on the railings, in Dryden Street, Bingley, just before 2am this morning.

He slipped while climbing over them, becoming impaled just below his knee.

Crews from Bingley and the technical rescue unit and support crew from Cleckheaton were called to the incident.

Crews used hydraulic cutting gear to cut the railings, and the man was transported to hospital with the railing still in his leg.

Woman with 86 injuries died from chest infection

A MOTHER found dead with 86 injuries after a sustained attack at a secluded farm cottage ultimately died from a chest infection, an inquest has heard.

Bradford coroner Martin Fleming said evidence fell short that the inflicted injuries directly caused the death of 44-year-old Marie Johnston on April 2 last year.

Paramedics were called to the cottage, in Soaper Lane, Shelf, by Miss Johnston’s “hysterical” on-off boyfriend Matthew Dean.

The ambulance crew alerted police who found a small mallet behind Miss Johnston’s fully-clothed body. Other hammers were also discovered in the house but forensics found nothing to link them with the blunt force blows she suffered between four days and 30 minutes before her death, the inquest heard.

The injuries included deep bruising to her head, face, chest, torso and limbs, a laceration to her liver, old fractured ribs and a recent one and traumatic brain injury likely to have caused concussion, caused by rapid rotation and violent twisting of her head, said forensic pathologist Dr Kerstin Hope. The marks indicated she could have been punched, kicked, stamped on and gripped.

Detective Constable Jonathan Garrod told the inquest that Dean, who was jailed for seven and a half years in November 2016 after pleading guilty to causing Miss Johnston grievous bodily harm, was arrested at the scene. During nine police interviews he gave different accounts and denied causing Miss Johnston’s injuries, trying to implicate others.

Dean told police that Miss Johnston had turned up at his home the day before, covered in blood and drunk. She had spent most of the next day in bed complaining of not feeling well and he had found her unresponsive later on when he came back from borrowing money from his dad.

Two post-mortems revealed Miss Johnston, who had no alcohol in her system when she died, had taken the dangerous, unpredictable and now illegal high known as Spice before her death, which along with the multiple injuries, her lungs being damaged by cigarettes and a fatty liver due to alcohol abuse, all contributed to the chest infection that ultimately caused her death.

Giving a narrative conclusion, Mr Fleming said: “Marie Johnston was found to have died at a cottage in Soaper Lane where she was the victim of a sustained attack. The cause of death was multi-functional. The evidence falls short that the inflicted injuries directly caused her death.”

‘Serious concerns’ voiced over stillbirth documentary filming

Image caption Cameras with warnings have been put up in Clinic 23 of the Rosie Hospital

A charity says it has “serious concerns” about a hospital which has allowed women to be unwittingly filmed at critical points in their pregnancy.

Cameras and a written notice have been put up at the Rosie Hospital, Cambridge for a Channel 4 stillbirth documentary.

One mother who was filmed said she thought the idea of installing cameras was “morally wrong”.

Production company True Vision said no footage would be viewed or downloaded without the patient’s permission.

The cameras, which film 24 hours a day, are in a section of the maternity unit mothers are taken to if they have serious problems after their first trimester.

The devices have been in position for three months.

‘Reasonable expectation’

Healthcare professionals do not tell patients the cameras are there but notices in the room do warn that filming is taking place.

If there is a stillbirth at a later date, a member of staff asks if the woman would give her consent to talk to the film crew and give permission for the footage to be shown.

Image copyright NASA
Image caption Cambridge University Hospitals said it took part in the documentary after women claimed there was not enough information on stillbirth

The recording is automatically deleted after a certain amount of time if permission is not given.

Tara, a mother who discovered she had been filmed but whose pregnancy turned out to be healthy, said she felt the filming was “morally wrong” adding: “I think if I was receiving bad news the last thing I would want is to share it with a camera.”

The human rights charity Birthrights has written to the hospital saying it had “serious concerns” over “whether consent is being lawfully obtained and whether women are being treated in a respectful way”.

The charity, which acknowledged the “potential benefits of a sensitively made documentary” about stillbirths, said: “Such a filming project would engage individuals’ right to privacy, which is a reasonable expectation for medical procedures, consultations and examinations.”

A spokesman for True Vision said: “Patients are made aware that that filming is taking place in parts of the clinic but that no footage of them will be viewed or downloaded in any way without their express permission.

“Anyone approached to take part in the programme will have the implications of taking part in filming clearly explained and all contributors have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.

Dr Jeremy Brockelsby, clinical lead for women’s services at Cambridge University Hospitals, said it took part in the documentary after women said there was not enough information on stillbirth.

He added: “Because of the sensitivity of the subject, we established a robust consent process with True Vision to safeguard women who visit [the critical care clinic].”

Car badly damaged in late night blaze

A CAR has been extensively damaged in a blaze at Riddlesden.

The Toyota Corolla was parked on the driveway of a house in Bradford Road.

Firefighters were called out to the incident at about 11.30pm yesterday.

One crew from Bingley Fire Station attended, and used a hose reel to extinguish the fire. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

In a separate incident, around the same time, a Keighley fire crew attended the town’s Parkwood Rise flats where two men were trapped in a lift.

The firefighters isolated the power supply and then manually operated the lift, which had become stuck between the fourth and fifth floors.

The occupants were uninjured.

Lost treasures

Kye, with Doggy Woof WoofImage copyright Family photo/Facebook
Image caption Kye was delighted to be reunited with “Doggy Woof Woof”

A year ago, a father of three put out a desperate tweet for a little blue cup – the only vessel his 14-year-old autistic son, Ben, would drink from.

Ben had used the same type of cup since he was two and it was no longer sold.

The search went viral, with responses from around the world. And it changed Ben’s father, Marc Carter’s, life.

Today Ben has 591 identical cups – and Marc runs LittleBlueCup, dedicated to finding missing items that “mean the absolute world” to children like Ben.

It all began a month after that first tweet – in November 2016 – when other desperate parents began contacting Marc for help.

Scores of children, most with autism or other learning difficulties, were searching for treasured items that had typically been lost on holiday or needed replacing.

“Everybody has a favourite something,” Marc told the BBC. “But when you are autistic that favourite something can mean the absolute world.”

Through appeals on its websites and social media, the LittleBlueCup project has helped 230 families find nearly 1,800 items – ranging from cups and cuddly toys, to blankets and hats.

The items are often out of production, limited edition, or were bought on holiday and are just difficult to track down.

LittleBlueCup relies on its 15,000 plus Facebook followers and the kindness of individuals to help parents find those precious objects that help children overcome anxiety and maintain a daily routine.

Here are some of LittleBlueCup’s current success stories.



Back in September, Kye’s sister contacted LittleBlueCup to see if they could track down an unusual bright green dog, known to Kye as “Doggy Woof Woof”.

Kye, 10, is autistic, has ADHD, a sensory processing disorder and some medical issues. He slept with Doggy Woof Woof from birth.

So when the soft toy went missing, tears and sleepless nights followed.

The dog was understood to have been a free giveaway from Tommee Tippee some 10 years ago – but any stock was long gone.

Step forward a donor called Donna. She said: “That dog was sitting in the bottom of our toy basket unloved and ignored so I was thrilled to be able to find it a loving new home,” she wrote on Facebook.”



Image copyright Kali Gilbert

Tayen, six, is blind. She is also on her second round of chemotherapy, has epilepsy, hydrocephalus and has bilateral shunts.

Her favourite companion is a monkey which originally belonged to her brother. He’s 12, which means the monkey is no longer on shop shelves.

Tayen wouldn’t be parted from Milly the monkey, but her Mum needs to keep everything washed, especially while Tayen is having chemo.

However, with the help of LittleBlueCup, Tayen had three monkey deliveries, from three different locations, in one day.

Finding and delivering the Milly clones took just five days.

“Milly delivery!” her Mum wrote on the LitttleBlueCup Facebook page. “We’ve had three arrive today! Thank you all.”


Image copyright Family photo/facebook

In August, Merlin, four, lost Merlin the wizard.

When Merlin was born he had a brain haemorrhage. He now has behavioural needs, ADHD, and is being assessed for autism.

The cuddly soft toy wizard was based on the Disney character of the same name. He was bought on eBay when Merlin was a baby.

It looked like Merlin might be easily replaced by a visit to the Disney Store, until it was discovered that the toy was a limited edition and only given as a special award to Disney staff.

Thankfully, Mia Causier got involved.

“I have this Merlin,” she wrote on the Facebook page. “I am an ex-cast member of Disney Store UK. I won him in a cast member knowledge competition at head office. They are limited edition. I am really proud of him but if he can bring a smile to Merlin, then it would be my pleasure to pass him on. X.”

Mia was as good as her word. Not only did she send Merlin the beloved toy, she also sent a letter telling him about all the adventures the wizard had been on while away.

“Mia – it’s down to people like you we are able to make things happen,” commented LittleBlueCup.


Image copyright Family photo/LittleBlueCup

It’s not just cuddly toys and cups that children form attachments to. Clothes are another uniquely personal item for some children.

On holiday, Isaac, seven, put his hat down and by the time he realised, someone had taken it.

Isaac, who recently had an assessment for ASD/ADHD, was devastated. And the blue denim trilby with a polka dot pattern proved hard to replace.

His Mum turned to LittleBlueCup – and once again, the public came up trumps – after another Mum, whose autistic son agreed to pass on his own, got in touch.

Last week, she posted a short video of Isaac opening the surprise package. In it he exclaims with delight: “It’s my hat – I’ve got it back!”

His Mum wrote on Facebook: “Thank you SO much to #LittleBlueCup for making him happy and smile again.

“Isaac’s hat is never far away from him. Thank you to the wonderfully kind boy who sent it to him with a little note.”

Marc has a crew of 30 volunteers who help him with the searches, and Facebook groups in Australia, US and Canada.

Image copyright Marc Carter
Image caption Marc Carter wants to challenge stereotypes about autism

Nine out of 10 times they find the item.

With three autistic children of his own, Marc admits it can mean long hours and “a lot of effort” but he says “it’s about helping people” – and the smile on the faces of the children reunited with treasured items makes it all worthwhile.

There’s also an additional incentive for Marc.

Beyond the happy reunions, he is using LittleBlueCup and the media attention it attracts “to prove that autism isn’t all about cute little five-year-old boys lining up their toys”.

Next year, Marc will be making a series of short films. He plans to go into homes around the country filming families coping with autism – their conversations and stories.

He wants to move away from the stereotypical perception of autism.

“What about girls?” asks Marc, whose daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. “What about older children – you don’t grow out of autism. The non-verbal, the kids who hit their parents – it’s not cute and fluffy, but it’s real.”

Fatal accident inquiry to be held into Clutha helicopter crash

Helicopter crashed into The CluthaImage copyright Reuters
Image caption The police helicopter crashed into The Clutha roof on 29 November 2013

A fatal accident inquiry is to take place next year into the deaths of 10 people killed when a police helicopter crashed into a Glasgow pub.

The inquiry is likely to begin in the autumn of 2018 following the crash at the Clutha pub on 29 November 2013.

In announcing the inquiry, the Crown Office also said there would be no criminal proceedings in the case.

Investigators found that fuel transfer switches were turned off on the helicopter at the time of the crash.

The helicopter crew who were killed in the crash were pilot David Traill, PC Tony Collins and PC Kirsty Nelis.

‘Unknown reasons’

Seven customers in the Clutha pub also died. They were John McGarrigle, Mark O’Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker.

A report published in 2015 by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the pilot did not follow emergency protocol and flew on despite low fuel warnings.

It said fuel transfer pumps were turned off and a controlled landing was not achieved for “unknown reasons”.

Image caption (Top: left to right) David Traill; Pc Kirsty Nelis; Pc Tony Collins; Gary Arthur; Samuel McGhee (Bottom: left to right) Colin Gibson; Robert Jenkins; Mark O’Prey; John McGarrigle; Joe Cusker

The Crown Office said that following a wide-ranging investigation, which involved the consideration of a “significant volume of documentation” and detailed statements from witnesses, it had concluded there was no evidence to justify criminal proceedings.

It said it would send a formal notice to the courts by the middle of next year for a fatal accident inquiry to be held.

Families of those killed and injured in the disaster have criticised the delay in beginning the inquiry.

The Crown Office has acknowledged the frustration of bereaved families and previously said that the AAIB report had raised a “number of issues” that required further investigation by Police Scotland.

In a statement, the Crown Office said: “The investigation into the Clutha helicopter crash has reached a significant stage and crown counsel, the most senior lawyers in the Crown Office, have formally instructed a fatal accident inquiry be held.

“Following submission of a detailed report by the helicopter team, crown counsel have also concluded that there is insufficient evidence available to justify instructing criminal proceedings.

“In coming to this decision, crown counsel have considered the evidence available, and the recommendations of the inquiry team, and an assessment of what information may reasonably become available in the future has also been taken into account.”

The statement added: “COPFS appreciate that the wait for a decision regarding proceedings must have been extremely difficult and stressful for those affected and we will keep them informed of significant developments.”


Clutha timeline:

29 November 2013: Police helicopter crashes on Clutha bar in Glasgow killing 10 people.

9 December 2013: AAIB preliminary report finds there was 95 litres of fuel onboard the aircraft.

14 February 2014: AAIB special report finds both engines “flamed out”. One of the fuel tanks was empty, while a second contained 0.4 litres. A third contained 75 litres, but transfer pumps to take this fuel to the other two engine tanks were switched off.

23 October 2015: AAIB final report finds main cause of accident to be mismanagement of the fuel system by the pilot.

24 November 2017: Fatal accident inquiry announced.