The resignation of Scotland’s top prosecutor could reignite the campaign for a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the mid-air RAF Tornado jet crash over the Moray Firth in 2012.
Moray-based campaigner Jimmy Jones confirmed he would make a new submission to the Crown Office in his long-running battle for a probe, once a successor had been appointed to replace the outgoing lord advocate, James Wolffe.
He said Mr Wolffe and his team had been a “major stumbling block” in his bid for a court hearing on the tragedy, which claimed the lives of three RAF Lossiemouth crew.
The retired RAF officer has been lobbying the Crown Office for several years to hold an FAI into the deaths of Squadron Leader Sam Bailey, 36, Flight Lieutenant Hywel Poole, 28, and Flight Lieutenant Adam Sanders, 27.
In 2017, he secured a change in the law to ensure all deaths of military personnel in Scotland would automatically be the subject of an FAI in future.
However, the Crown Office has continued to insist that the circumstances of the Tornado crash have been fully investigated by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA).
An FAI has now been ruled out by two lord advocates, although Lord Cullen has suggested that such a probe might have been “required” for military deaths in order to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The MAA inquiry found 17 contributory factors led to the collision, which happened in bad weather over the Moray Firth on July 3 2012.
These included the failure to fit collision warning systems to the Tornado GR4 jets.
The Scottish Government said on Sunday that Mr Wolffe had confirmed his intention to leave office.
Mr Jones said the outgoing lord advocate and his team had “refused to keep an open mind when considering new evidence” in the case.
He said: “They failed to conduct an investigation into the deaths of three airmen, deliberately confusing the Service Inquiry into ‘mechanical’ aspects of the 2012 accident with his function of determining the cause and circumstances of death.
“There is no report covering any investigation into their deaths.”
Mr Jones said he had consulted the family of Flight Lt Poole about submitting a fresh submission to the Crown Office.
The Crown Office said last year that the circumstances of the crash and loss of life had been “fully investigated” and no new material or information had been presented that would change the decision not to hold an FAI.