Glasgow & West Scotland

Sharkey fire deaths: 'Battle' to save daughter

Thomas Sharkey Snr, Bridget and Thomas Jnr
Image caption Thomas Sharkey Snr, Bridget and Thomas Jnr died following the fire

A triple murder trial has heard how medics battled to save the life of an eight-year-old girl after she was rescued from her burning home.

Bridget Sharkey, her mother Angela, father Thomas senior and brother Thomas junior, were trapped in the blaze.

The court heard the schoolgirl was badly burned down one side and was struggling to breathe.

Robert Jennings, 50, and Scott Snowden, 37, deny murdering Mr Sharkey, 55, Thomas Jnr, 21, and Bridget.

They also deny attempting to murder Angela Sharkey, 48, who survived the fire in Helensburgh which broke out at about 05:00 on 24 July 2011.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow was told that paramedics treated Bridget at the scene before she was taken by ambulance to Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital.

Accident and emergency doctor Fiona Brennan told prosecutor Alex Prentice QC that she and her team had battled to resuscitate the child.

'Not moving'

She told the jury that a call came into the hospital at 05:35 saying there had been a house fire and casualties were en route.

Dr Brennan said Bridget was brought into the resuscitation room and added: "She had some blackened soot on her and was unresponsive.

Image caption Angela Sharkey, pictured with Thomas Sharkey snr, was on life support after the fire

"She did not move when we shook her. Her eyes were not open, she was not speaking and she was not moving."

Mr Prentice asked Dr Brennan: "Were there any signs of life?" and she replied: "No."

She said she and her team carried out three cycles of CPR and added: "It was unsuccessful."

The jury has heard that Mr Sharkey was rescued as he clung to a ledge on the outside of the building.

His family were trapped inside and firefighters had to put out the blaze, which had started at the only door to the flat, before they could enter to rescue Mrs Sharkey and her two children.

Her son Thomas junior, who was the first to be brought out by firefighters, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Retained firefighter watch commander John Fraser told the court that when he and his crew arrived on the scene Mr Sharkey senior had already been rescued from the ledge.

Mr Fraser said: "The door was completely engulfed in flames and there was black smoke pelting out the top of the door.

"There was no way the firefighters could enter the building."

'Organ failure'

Mr Fraser said when they did enter the building it was filled with thick black smoke and added: "In the whole building the visibility was down to floor level. I could see along the bottom, but that's all."

He was asked what the site of the fire was and replied: "The front door because of the extent of the fire damage there."

Dr Charlotte Gilhooly, who treated Mr Sharkey snr, in the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow said he died six days after the fire.

She was asked what the cause of death was and replied: "He died from multiple organ failure, but the underlying cause was burns and smoke inhalation."

The court was told that Mr Sharkey snr had suffered burns to 30% of his body, including his face and hands.

Another medic, Dr Jennifer Cuthill, said she treated Mrs Sharkey during her stay in the Royal Infirmary.

She said she was initially on a life support machine, but was eventually taken off it, although she was still very weak and struggling to speak.

The trial before Lord Matthews continues.

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