Fury as no one will stand trial over 2012 Legionnaires outbreak that killed four in Edinburgh

The proceedings have been dropped against final two firms.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 7:29 am
Catherine McDonald wants those responsible held to account

A BEREAVED partner has been left devastated on being told no firm will be prosecuted over the Capital’s Legionnaires outbreak of 2012.

The deadly disease claimed four lives including labourer Bert Air and left 92 ill yet the source remains a mystery despite a seven-year probe.

Mr Air’s partner of 12 years, Catherine McDonald, has been notified that proceedings against two firms scheduled to start this month have been dropped by the Crown.

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Bert Air died in June 2012

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“I want somebody to put their hand up and say ‘sorry, it was us, we apologise for what’s happened.’

“To my knowledge, there’s a young lad out there in his 30s who’s still suffering from the actual after effects of legionnaires.

“Give the money to him, he needs it, not us. I’ve lost my partner, I can’t bring him back but he does, he needs a life.”

Mr Air, 56, came home ill from a building site in Gorgie with a suspected chest infection but was rushed to hospital by his frantic partner as fear gripped the city over the outbreak.

Just 12 hours later, he died surrounded by family after suffering a massive heart attack as his body tried to battle the disease.

“I don’t want this brushed under the carpet"

“I think if things had been reversed and it’d be me he’d still be fighting and wanting answers,” said Ms McDonald, who still keeps his ashes on the mantelpiece at home.

“I don’t want this brushed under the carpet. Is there a big secret somewhere they don’t want us to know?

“I can’t be the only one. The other people affected and other people who died, don’t tell me they don’t want answers because I don’t believe it.

“Those who are still alive who had it will be affected by it all their lives because it attacks their lungs.”

Mr Air’s surviving two sisters and brother also want answers, while his mum Hannah never recovered from the loss of her “blue-eyed boy” dying six months after him.

“Hopefully it’ll never ever happen again but who’s to say it won’t?” asked Ms McDonald. “I actually wanted to stand up in the middle of court and say look I’m the one who’s been affected talk to me. Let me tell you how I feel.

“His brother phoned me last night absolutely fuming. It’s making matters worse as he’s actually got cancer and going through chemo at the moment.”

It spreads through the breathing in of droplets of contaminated water, and is not contagious.

The other victims of the outbreak to lose their lives were John Lonnie, Sean Ferguson and Sylvia Riddell - all with links to Dalry, Gorgie and Saughton

The Crown confirmed that proceedings have now been dropped against Ashland Industries UK Limited and MacFarlan Smith Limited.

Proceedings against three other firms, North British Distillery Company Limited, Pera Services Limited and Chemtech Consultancy Limited, ended last year when not guilty pleas were accepted.

A Crown Office spokesman: “It is the duty of the Crown to keep cases under review and after full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the available admissible evidence, Crown Counsel decided that there should be no further proceedings.”