Glasgow & West Scotland

Friend's 'murderers' shout after boy crushed to death by headstone

Ciaran James Williamson Image copyright BBC - police handout

A friend of an eight-year-old boy who died after a gravestone fell on him as they played in a cemetery shouted "you're murderers, we're murderers" at other boys.

Ciaran Williamson died at Craigton Cemetery in Cardonald, Glasgow, in May.

He had been playing with a group of boys when "the big stone" toppled over, a fatal accident inquiry has heard.

One of his friends said he tried to lift the stone off Ciaran after also being struck.

The boy told police officers: "I tried to help him but couldn't because the gravestone jammed his foot.

"So I tried to lift it but I wasn't strong enough because my back hurt so then I just helped (another boy)."

The schoolboy was asked what he saw when he looked at Ciaran and said "just blood". He added that it was "at his mouth and nose".

Another boy in the group said one of his friends had jumped on a gravestone to try to get on to a wall and it "just collapsed". He said Ciaran ended up underneath it.

'Very shaken'

The boy told police he believed he then blacked out.

He said: "I don't know what happened then next thing I woke up, I was standing up, turned round, the gravestone was on Ciaran.

"(A boy) was saying 'you're murderers, we're murderers'. Then I said 'no we're not it's just an accident'."

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

PC Neil Galbraith told the inquiry he was the first officer on the scene after hearing a young person in the cemetery had a possible head injury.

He said Ciaran was already in the ambulance when he arrived.

The officer said he had to "coax" one of Ciaran's friends who was "very shaken, very nervous" when he took a statement later that night.

He said: "It was very hard to take information from him, however we were trying to establish exactly what happened."

The inquiry heard the boy said he went into the graveyard "through the hole in the wall" with friends including Ciaran.

'Pushed off from gravestone'

He told police: "We seen a tree we wanted to climb, the tree was next to a big stone.

"Ciaran was standing in front of the big stone. Me (and others) all jumped from the tree at the same time.

"As soon as I landed, the big stone fell on my back. It hit Ciaran in the face.

"I stayed with Ciaran while everyone ran for help."

PC Galbraith also took a statement from another boy who was with Ciaran at the time of incident.

He told police some of the boys wanted to use gravestones to get on to a wall.

He said a group of youngsters climbed up and Ciaran was "waiting at the tombstone to get up on to it".

The child claimed one of the boys pushed off from the gravestone as he tried to get from the tree to the wall.

The boy said: "As he pushed off the tombstone, it fell. I leapt out the road but it caught me on my heel."

The inquiry before Sheriff Linda Ruxton continues.

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