Family of crash victim furious at police claims memorial fire was “accident”

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A GRIEVING family have hit out at police claims that their roadside memorial was “accidentally” set alight – fearing it may be a warning from his killers.

Jonathan Smith, 29, died in a horror crash caused by a stolen Audi A3 on May 25 this year.

His grieving family have maintained a memorial filled with flags, flowers and tributes for nearly four months at the side of the road where he tragically died.

But now, the heartbroken family have hit out at police claims that a fire which englulfed the memorial on Saturday night was “accidental”.

Jonathan’s younger brother Callum Smith said he discovered lighter fluid at the scene the next day and handed it over to officers when they came to his home.

He has demanded the police look into the fire further – fearing it could be a warning to the family from someone connected to Jonathan’s death.

Firefighters were called to the scene on Saturday night after a passing motorist noticed the memorial was on fire

Speaking today, Callum said: “It’s ridiculous. If there’s any chance that this is a warning or anything like that, even if it’s a one percent chance, I want it looked into.

“I don’t see how it could have been accidental, unless it was some young boys out on a Saturday night and they were just chucking it around. But still, it needs investigated, they can’t just dismiss it.

“I had a bit of a go at them when they came to the house, I’m worried about my mum and my sister visiting the memorial. I don’t want them to be at risk at all.

“I think the fire service at first thought that it was a candle we had lit as part of the memorial, because that’s what people do, but we didn’t have any open flames – we wouldn’t want to start a forest fire.”

Jonathan’s brother Callum found a bottle of lighter fluid at the scene the next morning

Callum explained that the family weren’t informed about the fire until Sunday morning, and when they went down to the memorial he discovered the bottle of lighter fluid.

He said: “I’m not sure if the fire service didn’t see it because it was dark or what, but it was behind the flags. I don’t think they would have been able to see it because it was chucked right round the back.

“I didn’t want to leave it there, so I put it in a bag and took it home. I handed it over to the CID when they came to visit. I think it’s basically up to them whether they look into it or not.

“It wasn’t there the day before, I know it wasn’t because we had moved the flags back. I want to make a criminal complaint, and I want them to look into this.

“It’s horrible, we just want to mourn and I don’t want to have to worry about my mum and my sister being there if there is any kind of threat.”

Jonathan died in a horror crash caused by a stolen Audi A3 on May 25 this year

Taking to the Justice for Jonny Facebook page, Callum wrote: “Honestly it’s as if we are just tainted, has our family not been through enough? You know we dont ask much, we dont want much.

“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 is tidied, it is beautiful and all for what? For some heartless excuse of a human being to come and set it alight?

“There’s a special place in hell for people like you. My family has been through enough!”

Callum also shared photographs of the ruined memorial, including scorched grass and ripped and torn flags which hang from the large bushes at the side of the road.

Another photograph shows a large blue flag which read “Justice for Jonny” hanging limply from the bushes – and with half of it burned away.

A third photograph shows a discarded yellow tin, which appears to have been lighter fluid used to start the blaze.

On social media, Denise Brady wrote: “This is heartbreaking to see this. Absolute scumbags who did this.”

Caitlin Watt said: “Disgusting. I don’t know how anyone can do that. Absolute scum.”

Katie Fleming added: “F******* disgusting. Heartless scumbags. What the hell do they get out of burning a memorial? No words for these kind of people.”

While Jamie Gibson wrote simply: “Disgrace.”

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 15th September.

“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.”

The memorial before the fire, which Jonathan’s family visit every day to feel closer to him

Jonathan died in May this year when a stolen grey Audi A3 was overtaking a row of four or five cars on the wrong side of the road.

This caused a family, with a five-year-old girl in the car, to swerve and plough into Jonathan’s Peugeot 206.

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