Bin lorry driver fails to attend conduct hearing

Harry Clarke. Picture: HeMedia
Harry Clarke. Picture: HeMedia
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GLASGOW bin lorry crash driver Harry Clarke has failed to attend council disciplinary proceedings against him due to ill health.

It is understood Mr Clarke told his employers at Glasgow City Council he was not medically fit to take part in the process.

The driver of the bin lorry that crashed, killing six people, in Glasgow three days before Christmas last year was suspended by the council in July.

Disciplinary action was launched after allegations that emerged during the fatal accident inquiry into the crash at the city’s George Square.

It emerged the 58-year-old had failed to disclose on job applications and on DVLA forms his history of fainting. Giving evidence to the inquiry, council officials stated that, had they known about his medical history, he might never have been employed by them.

Mr Clarke gave evidence for two days but refused to answer the majority of questions put to him so as to avoid incriminating himself ahead of any possible _future proceedings.

An investigation into possible gross misconduct was due to begin once evidence to the inquiry was completed last Friday.

However, this has been delayed because Mr Clarke has said he is unable to participate in the proceedings.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “We cannot comment on individual employees and we will not be giving a running commentary on disciplinary matters.”

The Crown has been criticised over its decision not to prosecute Mr Clarke, who was unconscious at the wheel of the lorry when it careered out of control in Queen Street.

The prospect of a private prosecution against the driver has been raised by some of the relatives of those who died.

At the inquiry, Mr Clarke told how he and his crew – Matthew Telford and Henry Toal – had been their “normal selves” as they chatted about Christmas during the afternoon waste collection trip in the city centre.

He said: “Everything was OK, I saw the Christmas lights in the distance, and the next minute, it was like a light switch.”

The driver said the next thing he remembered was “being attached to the hotel” – the Millennium Hotel in George Square where the lorry came to rest.

He said: “I think I remember Matt shouting ‘Harry, wake up’. It was as if he was a mile in the distance. I came to and I didn’t know what had happened to me. I couldn’t understand it.”