Death investigations

Court process begins for the FAI into the death of a hotel guest

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has lodged a First Notice to begin the court process for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of Wallace Hunter.

Wallace Hunter, 75, died from scalding injuries on 1 December 2019 whilst a guest at Pitlochry Hydro Hotel after experiencing difficulties within the bathroom.  

Mr Hunter had been unable to get out of the bath. Efforts to help him were hampered by a bathroom door that opened outward and was bolted from the inside 

A preliminary hearing is set for 1 September 2023 at Alloa Sheriff Court.       

The purpose of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) includes determining the cause of death; the circumstances in which the deaths occurred, and to establish what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.

Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.       

This Inquiry will explore the circumstances of Wallace Hunter’s death, with particular focus on the cause of the discharge of scalding water into Mr Hunter’s bath and the hotel’s health and safety arrangements and their response to the emergency.  

Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on death investigations for COPFS, said:       

“The death of Wallace Hunter occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held.    

“The lodging of the First Notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the Sheriff.       

“Wallace Hunter’s family will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”