You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Mother describes moment she discovered eight-year-old son dying beneath a gravestone that had fallen on him

Mirror logo Mirror 2016-11-07 Ashlie McAnally

A heartbroken mum told of the moment she found her son dying in a graveyard, lying in a pool of blood. 

Stephanie Griffin, 25, wept as she told an inquiry how eight-year-old Ciaran Williamson was discovered crushed underneath a heavy tombstone.

He had been allowed to play out for just 10 minutes when the fatal accident happened on May 26 last year.

His mum told how he’d given her a kiss, told her he loved her and then ran to play with friends at a nearby park.

Credits: Daily Record © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Record

Minutes later there was a knock at their door, yards from the cemetery at Moss Heights, Glasgow.

A friend of Ciaran’s told his parents he’d been hurt and step-dad Thomas McGee, 26, raced to the scene to find the schoolboy under a headstone in the cemetery.

He told the inquiry Ciaran was “lifeless” when he came across him.

Ciaran was playing with friends in Craigton Cemetery when the stone fell on him.

Griffin and McGee, as well as Ciaran’s dad, Ryan Williamson, 26, gave evidence at Glasgow Sheriff Court today.

The inquiry is to establish if there were any reasonable precautions that could have prevented the tragedy.

Credits: Daily Record © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Record

It is also to establish if 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”.

Griffin, who clutched a teddy in the court room, described Ciaran as having “the biggest heart”.

She told the inquiry Ciaran was due to go on holiday days later with his gran and was going to her house that evening to try on holiday clothes.

Credits: Daily Record © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Record

But she told him he was allowed to go out and play with his friends until they were leaving - and that was the last she spoke to him.

She said: “Just as Ciaran was leaving he gave us all a kiss and shouted ‘love you’. Ciaran had always done that.

“Then he went out and he shouted to me.

“I went to the veranda and he said ‘can I go down to the swing park that’s where the other boys are going?’

“I said ‘That’s fine you have got 10 minutes then I will come get you'. That was him, I watched him walk along the street.”

Credits: Daily Record © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Record

She said her partner had been at the shops and when he came home he was no sooner in the door when Ciaran’s friend arrived.

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.”

She told the inquiry: “I said to my mum ‘I bet he’s broken his leg and he’s not going to be able to get on his holiday’.

“Just as I said that I got this horrible feeling take over my whole body."

The mum-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.”

She said 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.

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

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

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

She said she wasn’t aware of a hole in the wall of the cemetery until after the incident but has since learned nearby residents reported it as far back as eight years ago.

McGee described when he got to Ciaran the gravestone was on top of his chest and he looked “lifeless”.

He said: “My first thought was to get the top bit off him because I didn’t want his mum to see him like that.”

Williamson broke down and told the court: “Because someone couldn’t do their job properly he has been taken from me.”

He told the court that if the hole was covered then Ciaran wouldn’t have been in the graveyard and wouldn’t be dead.

The inquiry before sheriff Linda Ruxton continues.


More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon