The driver of the bin lorry that crashed, killing six people in Glasgow, has told a documentary that he “unreservedly” apologises for his role in the tragedy.
Harry Clarke was driving the council refuse truck when it veered out of control in the city centre on 22 December last year.
The impact of this event on me is irrelevant when compared to the loss of the familiesHarry Clarke
A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI),which adjourned in August, heard he lost consciousness at the wheel and that he had a history of health issues – including a previous blackout in 2010 when at the wheel of a stationary bus – but had not disclosed his medical background to his employers or the DVLA.
When he came to Glasgow Sheriff Court to give evidence to the inquiry, Mr Clarke was warned by Sheriff John Beckett that he did not have to answer questions which could incriminate him as the families of some of the victims had signalled their intention to raise a private prosecution against him.
Over two days he refused to answer the majority of questions from lawyers, but in a letter to a BBC Scotland documentary, entitled Lies, Laws and the Bin Lorry Tragedy, Mr Clarke offered an apology.
He wrote: “I understand that the impact of this event on me is irrelevant when compared to the loss that the families of the victims have suffered. I wish to unreservedly apologise for my role in this tragic event.
“I am aware the families of the victims of the incident will have many unanswered questions. I will try to answer all of those questions to the best of my ability at the point I am able to do so.”
During the FAI, Ronald Conway, acting for the family of victim Stephenie Tait, told Mr Clarke: “I want you to say sorry for the lies told in 2010 and that those lies led to the deaths of six people.” Mr Clarke replied: “No, I can’t say that,” after which the lawyer told him: “You’ll never get another chance.”
The daughters of Gillian Ewing, one of the six victims, said listening to Mr Clarke’s evidence to the FAI was “one of the most harrowing days of their lives”. Lucy Ewing told the BBC: “On the run-up to the day, me especially, I was very unsure as to whether I was going to go. I didn’t really want to be in the same room, but then I also wanted to hear what he had to say.”