Determination of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the deaths of Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart

Today (Wednesday 19th November), Sheriff Andrew Normand has issued his determination in the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the deaths of Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart in December 2010.  The determination is available at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=95eab5a6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7

This statement below gives the families’ immediate response and thoughts on the determination.

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“Both of our families are completely devastated by the tragic deaths of our girls at such a young age.  The lies of one man, described in the Determination as less than entirely frank, self-serving and lacking in credibility, took the lives of our two innocent girls and his actions have killed a piece of all us.

“We welcome this determination. We would like to thank Sheriff Normand for the fair and balanced way he oversaw the Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“We have waited for justice for Mhairi and Laura for nearly four years, putting our belief in the criminal justice and legal systems.  We waited these long and extremely difficult years for the Crown to make a decision on whether to prosecute William Payne. Their continuing failure to make that decision has meant we have had to undergo the further unnecessary agony of a FAI, lasting three traumatic weeks spread across nine months of this year. Our waiting continues.  That is incomprehensible to us.

“A lack of comprehensive investigation and delay has brought about no resolution, only a Fatal Accident Inquiry which was ill-prepared by the Crown, incompetently presented and unnecessarily limited in what it could examine and determine. The emotional and financial burden of uncovering much of the evidence discussed in the FAI fell on us and our legal team. Our deepest heartfelt thanks go to those who continue with us in our fight for justice for Laura and Mhairi – Fraser Simpson and Colin Moffat at Digby Brown and Dorothy Bain QC.

“Much time and attention was focused on Mr Payne’s human rights. What about Mhairi and Laura’s rights to life?  This is not how it should be.  Our girls deserve better.

“Sheriff Normand has given us a ray of hope in this determination however. He twice, rightly, refers to the explicit commitments made by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service that they reserve the right to prosecute and will now review the case again.

“It is our deep hope that they are true to their word.  A prosecution and a criminal trial would offer the chance of justice for the loss of two beautiful young women.  It is in the gift of the Crown to see justice served and send a message to the wider public that such conduct will not be tolerated. In, doing so, the Crown may be able to prevent other families from suffering in the same way as we have.”