Glasgow & West Scotland

Mother's bid to save boy crushed by gravestone in Glasgow cemetery

Ciaran James Williamson Image copyright BBC - police handout

The mother of an eight-year-old boy who died after a gravestone fell on him has told a fatal accident inquiry of her desperate attempts to save his life.

Ciaran Williamson died at Craigton Cemetery in Glasgow's Cardonald area in May while playing with friends.

Stephanie Griffin said she found him with blood coming from his ears and nose and checked for a pulse.

Moments earlier her partner, Thomas McGee, had discovered Ciaran under a headstone. He died later in hospital.

Miss Griffin, 25, told the inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court that she had allowed her son out to play for 10 minutes.

Shortly afterwards a friend knocked on her door to say Ciaran was hurt.

Tears in court

Miss Griffin said: "I heard him saying something about 'you need to come quick Ciaran is bleeding, he's hurt himself' so Thomas just flew out of the door."

The mother-of-four said she ran to see what was wrong and came to a hole in the wall at the nearby cemetery.

Despite her partner asking her to stay away she barged in to see her son and found him on the ground.

Through tears she said: "I turned round and seen him lying on the floor and I knew as soon as I saw him that something really bad had happened.

"Blood was coming out his ears and nose, he was just lying in this puddle all around him."

"I tried to check for a pulse, checking his arm and his leg.

"I kept slapping his face like 'come on Ciaran, come on Ciaran just get up."

Dangerous and disrespectful

She said Mr McGee told her "when I got here that was on him", referring to a gravestone.

The inquiry heard she "fell to the ground" and screamed and shouted, then on instruction from the emergency services went to look out for the ambulance.

Miss Griffin said when paramedics arrived they took Ciaran away to Yorkhill Children's hospital.

Medics battled to save Ciaran but when Miss Griffin arrived at the hospital she was told there was nothing they could do.

Miss Griffin said she warned Ciaran not to play in the graveyard because it was dangerous and disrespectful.

The inquiry will establish if there were any reasonable precautions that could have prevented the tragedy and whether there were any defects in the system of work which caused or contributed to Ciaran's death.

A joint minute read to the court noted that a post-mortem examination revealed head and neck injuries and damage to the brain stem as a result of "immediate cardiac arrest".

The inquiry before sheriff Linda Ruxton continues.

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