Paramedic who tried to save Riggi children speaks out


By Alan Robertson

A BRAVE paramedic who risked his life to try and save the three young children killed by mother Theresa Riggi has spoken for the first time of the moment he discovered their bodies.

Craig Gray was one of the first to arrive on the scene after reports of multiple casualties following an explosion at the Riggi residence in Edinburgh in August last year.

And together with colleagues Donna Swadzba and Elaine Wilson, Mr Gray took the selfless decision to ignore a raging fire and risk of a second gas explosion and enter the Slateford town house in a bid to save the three youngsters.

Ambulance chiefs yesterday praised the trio for showing

“the highest level of commitment’ in spite of obvious risks to their safety.

Mr Gray said:

“We were the very first on the scene for a good five or ten minutes and we had a decision to make.

“It went against all the health and safety procedures, but we knew there may have been multiple victims and it would have been very difficult to stand by and watch.

“We didn’t have time to think, we just had to go in. There were three floors to climb and we had to take it a flight at a time, making a decision as we went if it was safe to go in.

“We knew there could have been a second explosion.

“Unfortunately when we got into the room and saw the casualties there was nothing we could do to help them. “

Eight-year-old twins, Austin and Luke, and five-year-old Cecilia were stabbed to death by Riggi, 47.

The mother-of-three – who is currently serving a 16-year sentence behind bars – was then found to have set a fire sparking the crew’s callout.

She was treated outside the flat by emergency medical technicians Ms Swadzba and Ms Wilson before Gray arrived just a minute later.

He added:

“Of course with it being so high profile it can be difficult to deal with in the aftermath, it takes a long time to come to terms with but that’s part of the job.

“We’re often on the scene of emergencies first and have to make decisions there and then, but of course this one sticks in the mind.

“At the point of going in, all the information we had was that there had been a gas explosion, there may be another one, and there could be multiple casualties. “

The trio have now been praised by the Scottish Ambulance Service who handed them a top award at their first ceremony of its kind in the capital.

Pauline Howie, chief executive of the service, said:

“The professionalism and commitment of all our staff, especially when faced with the most challenging situations, is second to none. These awards recognise some fantastic examples of that high level of dedication and the recipients should be very proud of their achievements.

“They exemplify the Scottish Ambulance Service’s ethos of putting the patients first. “

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