Family's anguish after fire ravages Maybury crash memorial

A memorial paying tribute to Jonny Smith who was killed in a fatal car crash on Maybury Road has been partially destroyed in a mystery fire.

Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 6:00 am
The Jonny Smith memorial at Maybury Road. Picture: Contributed

The damage, which Jonny’s grieving family were worried had been caused intentionally, has devastated Jonny’s mum Ellen McDaid who tends to the memorial every day.

Flags strung together across the site bare the words “Justice for Jonny”. The spot is also dotted with flowers in pots and a line of small solar lights.

But a mystery blaze on Saturday night has caused extensive damage to the scene.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Writing on social media on the Justice for Jonny Facebook page his brother Callum wrote: “Honestly, it’s as if we are just tainted, has our family not been through enough? You know we don’t ask much, we don’t want much, a few metres with a few flags filled with messages from all that loved Jonny.

“Is it really too much to ask for that, a place we can remember what was stolen from us?

“Where Jonny took his last breath is precious to us. Others may not understand it, but we feel something there. What possesses a person to do something like that? It is absolutely sickening, my poor mum takes care of that memorial every single day, it’s tidied, it is beautiful, and all for what?”

However, police said they had consulted with the fire service to determine if criminal activity had taken place but the fire wasn’t being treated as deliberate.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh were made aware of a fire at a memorial shrine on Maybury Road at around 11.40pm on Saturday, September 15.

“After detailed discussion with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who carried out an investigation into the cause of the fire, the incident is being treated as accidental and non-suspicious.

“No further police action is required.”

Despite police reassurances, Jonny’s brother Callum told the Evening News it was hard to believe a fire had spontaneously started, particularly when a lighter fluid canister had been spotted nearby.

He said: “We have rows of buckets for flowers weighted down with big stones to stop them blowing away.

“A taxi driver called it in and when the police and the fire brigade arrived, there was ashes in the bucket and they’ve assumed we had candles on top of the bricks but that isn’t the case.

“I understand memorials do have candles, but there are none at Jonny’s.

“How else then did a fire start?

“It’s difficult to understand how it could not have been deliberate. Maybe I am missing something, but it is hard not to think this could be personal.

“Beside everything else, beside dealing with Jonny being dead we have to deal with this. It is a stress we don’t need.

“This is the place my mum comes to every day, we all feel a connection to it. It’s a shame for her to see this happen.”

Jonny died after a speeding stolen Audi A3 forced a family’s BMW to plough into his car on Maybury Road on May 25.

Police are still on the hunt for those responsible.