Lawyers Help Couple Secure Answers Regarding Explosion Which Destroyed Home

Vital Step Forward In Battle For Justice Over Devastating Blast


A couple’s search for answers and justice regarding the devastating gas explosion which destroyed their home two years ago has taken a vital step forward after specialist lawyers representing them secured vital documents from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding the incident.

Sheila McDonald, 75, was thrown out of the front window of the cottage she lived in with partner Daniel Martyn in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, when the blast occurred in March 2012 – with the damage caused being so severe that the council ordered the property’s demolition.

Despite their home being rebuilt, both Sheila and Daniel continue to suffer as a result of the physical and psychological trauma they endured in the incident and instructed serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Scotland to help them with their recovery and to gain justice in relation to the devastating blast.

Now, after more than two years without answers regarding what caused the incident, the legal team at Irwin Mitchell Scotland have secured a number of documents from the HSE which have confirmed a contributing factor to the blast was a gas pipe being installed by Turriff Contractors in 2007 directly on top of an electrical cable – a move which contravened safety guidelines.

Laura McCallum, a serious injury lawyer based at Irwin Mitchell Scotland’s Glasgow office who is helping Mrs McDonald and Mr Martyn in their legal battle, said the information may prove crucial in progressing legal action against Turriff Contractors in relation to the incident.

Laura explained: “Our clients have faced more than two years without any firm conclusions regarding the hugely traumatic incident that destroyed their home and has had a massive long-term impact on their lives.

“Throughout this incredibly difficult time, they have simply been awaiting answers regarding how the incident happened – not only to help them proceed with getting vital funds to support their continued recovery, but also so that the information can be used to prevent the problems from ever being repeated.

“The information released by the HSE confirms that a gas pipe installed by Turriff Contractors ran in direct contact with an electrical cable, which contravenes National Grid guidance that states that gas pipes should be laid a minimum of 300mm from electricity cables.

“In light of the release of this information, we are now determined to ensure our clients’ long wait for justice can be concluded so that they can begin to finally look to the future after the difficult problems they have faced in the recent past.”

Mrs McDonald and Mr Martyn have endured nightmares and flashbacks since the explosion ripped through their property on March 25th 2012, with both of them suffering neck, back and shoulder injuries, as well as burns and psychological trauma in the process. The force of the blast was so strong that the former was catapulted through a window and into the front garden.

Retired schoolteacher Mrs McDonald recalls: “The explosion was an incredible shock and we don’t know if we’ll ever come to terms with what we have been through.

“We both still feel the physical effects – I get pains in my shoulders and neck and I still have issues with movement in my left hand as well, while Danny has also struggled since – but the psychological toll is also difficult to live with.

“We still continue to have trouble sleeping as we cannot stop thinking back to the blast, while our main hobby of looking after and caring for dogs has been ruined.

“Prior to the explosion we owned five Afghan hounds and had competed at Crufts, but two of our beloved pets had to be put down following the explosion. Two had to be adopted elsewhere and while we still care for one, the loss of the others has been extremely difficult to bear.

“We’re just massively relieved that this information has finally been released, so that hopefully lessons can be learned and others won’t have to face what we have been through. We also just want to press ahead with getting the justice we deserve and putting this awful nightmare behind us.”