Families in bid to prosecute blackout death crash driver

ANOTHER bid for a rare private prosecution has been submitted by the families of two young students knocked down and killed by a driver with a history of blackouts.

Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart. Picture: submitted

Mhairi Convy, 18, and Laura Stewart, 20, were walking in Glasgow’s North Hanover Street on 17 December, 2010, when a Range Rover apparently lost control, mounted the kerb and hit them.

William Payne, who was 50 at the time of the crash, appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court in November 2012 accused of causing death by driving while uninsured but charges were dropped the following November.

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A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) was held in 2014 into the deaths of the two women and Sheriff Andrew Normand found five “reasonable ­precautions’’ could have prevented the accident, which happened after Mr Payne suffered a ­“vasovagal episode” and temporarily lost consciousness, losing control of the vehicle.

Picture: Robert Perry

The families of Ms Convy and Ms Stewart have consistently called for Payne to face trial.

Legal firm Digby Brown said a Bill for Criminal Letters was delivered to the Crown Office yesterday on their behalf.

Relatives of Ms Convy and Ms Stewart attended part of the Glasgow bin lorry crash FAI last year in support of the victims’ families.

Picture: Robert Perry

The Crown Office said: “The Lord Advocate has received a Bill of Criminal Letters and will give it due consideration. The Crown position on this will be made clear to the families and the court when appropriate.”

A statement from the Convy and Stewart families at the end of the FAI in 2014 said: “It is in the gift of the Crown to see justice served and send a message to the wider public that such conduct will not be tolerated.

“In doing so, the Crown may be able to prevent other families from suffering in the same way as we have.’’

It is the second Bill sent to the Crown in two days, following the launch of a bid by the ­family of three victims of the Glasgow bin lorry crash to prosecute driver Harry Clarke.

Six people died when Mr Clarke lost consciousness at the wheel of the vehicle in Queen Street in December 2014. An FAI last year heard he had a history of health issues – including a blackout in 2010 when at the wheel of a stationary bus – but had not disclosed his medical background to his employers or the DVLA.

Lawyers for the family of Jack and Lorraine Sweeney and granddaughter Erin McQuade delivered a Bill for Criminal Letters to the Crown Office on Wednesday and hope it will lead to a private prosecution.

Stephenie Tait, Jacqueline Morton and Gillian Ewing also died in the tragedy, marked with a memorial service in Glasgow last month.