Family voice concern over bin lorry crash inquiry

Relatives of Glasgo bbin lorry crash victims Lorraine Sweeney with her granddaughter Erin McQuade' have expressed 'great concern' over how the tragedy was investigated. Picture: Contributed

Relatives of Glasgo bbin lorry crash victims Lorraine Sweeney with her granddaughter Erin McQuade' have expressed 'great concern' over how the tragedy was investigated. Picture: Contributed

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A LAWYER for the family which lost three members in the Glasgow bin lorry crash has said they “profoundly disagree” with the decision not to prosecute anyone over the deaths, an inquiry has heard.

Relatives of Erin McQuade and her grandparents Jack and Lorraine Sweeney said they were “devastated” by their deaths and expressed “great concern” over how the incident had been investigated.

Investigation [was] conducted with remarkable haste

Mark Stewart QC

Mark Stewart QC raised the issue in his final submission to the fatal accident inquiry into the crash which claimed six lives on 22 December last year.

Mr Stewart said the family did not agree that it should have been treated as a road traffic accident and believed the Health and Safety Executive should have been more involved.

Concerns were also raised over the fact that driver Harry Clarke was never interviewed by police after the crash.

Mr Stewart said: “This was an investigation conducted with remarkable haste.

“The conclusion of the Crown Office, announced nine weeks after the tragedy, that no basis in criminal law could be established to bring criminal proceedings, is one with which the family profoundly disagree.”

The Crown Office said in February that no charges would be brought against Mr Clarke and the relevant information had been taken into account regarding a decision not to prosecute.

Mr Stewart said relatives had found it “difficult to prepare for” the FAI and the speed with which it has been held has “placed them under heightened pressure in reliving the tragic circumstances”.

The inquiry heard that Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents had been Christmas shopping on the day of the crash.

They were described as a “close family” and the deaths had left relatives “devastated”.

Ms McQuade was a first-year student at the University of Glasgow where she was studying English literature. She was also said to be a talented artist and had previously volunteered to help sick people visit the pilgrimage site of Lourdes.

Mr Sweeney, 68, had previously worked in Canada and was said to have enjoyed gardening, horse racing and family holidays. His wife, 69, had worked in a coffee shop.

Alistair Forsyth QC, was next to make submissions on behalf of the relatives of Gillian Ewing.

He said he adopted the previous submissions from families and raised concerns over the city council’s route risk assessments, which he said covered pick-up points rather than the specific route driven by lorries.

A lawyer representing the DVLA said it had already started a review around its guidelines on fitness to drive and the period of restriction for licence revocations.

Ms McQuade and Mr and Mrs Sweeney, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Ms Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were killed as the lorry driven by Mr Clarke veered out of control during a routine rubbish collection.

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