In 2008, while taking a short-cut home, she fell down a 40ft disused mineshaft near Galston, Ayrshire. She lay for six hours at the bottom of the hole after “health and safety rules” stopped firefighters from rescuing her.
She then had a heart attack as she was being brought to the surface. The medical evidence seems to be that she died from a combination of hypothermia and chest injury but that she could have survived this if she had been brought to the surface earlier.
The Fatal Accident Inquiry at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court has been re-opened to hear the evidence of fire officer John Bowman. His evidence was that he had been ordered (over his protests) to draft a memo restricting use of a new rescue kit for rescuing other firefighters, not members of the public.
The justification given was that wider use would require all firefighters to receive safe working at height training (and thus be paid at a higher rate). Mr. Bowman’s evidence was that the memo was issued for economic reasons.
Without wishing to prejudge anything before Sheriff Leslie has issued his decision, it seems to me that it is all too easy to blame things on “health and safety” when actually it’s something else altogether. Like good old fashioned penny pinching.