I don’t blame lorry driver, says victims’ nephew

The lights of the George Square attractions are back on now as the carnival reopened, but the crowds were much smaller than expected. Picture: Wattie Cheung

The lights of the George Square attractions are back on now as the carnival reopened, but the crowds were much smaller than expected. Picture: Wattie Cheung

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The nephew of a couple killed in this week’s Glasgow bin lorry crash has said he does not blame the driver for their deaths.

In a message posted on Twitter, Marc Gardiner thanked the emergency services for doing everything possible for 68-year-old Jack and 69-year-old Lorraine Sweeney and their granddaughter Erin McQuade, 18, who died in the accident.

He wished the driver of the lorry a speedy recovery and said messages of support had meant a lot.

Primary school teacher Stephenie Tait, 29, and tax worker Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed when the council truck mounted the pavement in Queen Street before crashing into the Millennium Hotel in George Square.

Mr Gardiner tweeted: “Been a really emotional and overwhelming day and on behalf of my family I just want to say thank you to everyone around Scotland sending in their condolences and best wishes!

“I hope that the other families that are going through what me and my family are get all the support possible and I hope that the driver of the lorry makes a speedy recovery and understands that it wasn’t his fault.

“And a big thanks to all emergency services yesterday for doing everything possible.

“RIP Uncle Jackie, Aunt Lorraine and Erin, love you loads and can’t believe you’re gone, you’ll be truly missed. It means a lot, that the people of Glasgow are coming together for my family and the other families affected.”

The shrine of floral tributes to the victims outside the Gallery of Modern Art in Queen Street, where the first person was hit, has continued to grow.

Among the many condolences left was a message from one of Ms Tait’s pupils, which read: “Rest easy Miss T, can’t believe you’re gone. Going to miss seeing you in the mornings and your big smile. You were the best teacher I could have asked for. Love, Megan. RIP”

The carnival in George Square reopened to the public yesterday, but crowds were a shadow of those normally expected to attend the carnival.

Michelle Coombs, 41, from Hampshire, who witnessed the aftermath of the accident, said: “It’s really sad, and while it sounds trite, life goes on. But it certainly doesn’t have the same atmosphere as last week, it was so busy and there were so many people. Now it’s like a ghost town.”

Iain McVey, 28, from Motherwell, agreed: “It was nice that they shut it down for a couple of days, it showed respect, but I think the council has done the right thing, so the kids can still have some fun. But the place is very subdued”

Neil Donald, 52, from Cambuslang, added: “Before we came here, we went to see the tributes and take a moment to reflect on this. But in some ways, in re-opening here, it shows that Glasgow is bigger than any one tragedy.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said of the reopening: “It was felt right to reflect on the tragic events that unfolded and close other attractions and activities until Boxing Day, providing a chance for people to pause and pay their respects in their own way over the Christmas period.”

Four people, including two teenage girls, were still being treated in hospital yesterday. A 57-year-old man thought to be the driver is being treated in the Western Infirmary and is also said to be stable.

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